Computer Aid International

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Computer Aid International
Computer Aid logo.png
Founded 1996
Founder Tony Roberts
Type International Organisation
Registration no. 1069256
Location
  • 1E, Mentmore Terrace, London Fields, London E8 3DQ
Area served
Worldwide
Website www.computeraid.org

Computer Aid International is a not-for-profit organisation active in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development. A registered charity, Computer Aid was founded in 1996 to bridge the digital divide by providing refurbished PCs from the UK to educational and non-profit organisations in developing countries.

Computer Aid has provided over 260,000 refurbished computers to educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations in more than 110 different countries to date.

Computer Aid shipped its 100,000th computer in February 2008,[1] sending PCs to more than 100 countries.

Organization[edit]

Girls' School in Swaziland using Computer Aid PCs

Computer Aid International is a non-governmental organisation registered with the Charity Commission of England & Wales (registration number: 1069256) and is a not-for-profit social business with the registration number 3442679 Companies House.

Computer Aid has offices in London, South Africa and Kenya. At the Africa HQ in Nairobi Computer Aid has dedicated project managers who work with educational institutions and local non-profit organisations throughout Africa supporting the application of ICT for Development.

Computer Aid has a Board of Trustees that meet bi-monthly to provide strategic direction and fiduciary oversight.

Professor Denis Goldberg is Computer Aid's Honorary Patron.

Strategy[edit]

Computer Aid offers a decommissioning service to UK companies, government departments and universities that are upgrading their computer systems - donated PCs are data-wiped, refurbished and tested.[2] Non profit organisations in the developing world can apply for refurbished computers for educational projects.[3] They also run their own projects, such as eClasses where a computer lab is set up from scratch and teachers are trained in ICT. They also created the Zubabox - a solar powered portable ICT lab which can be deployed in areas without internet or electricity. They have also created the Connect device, a Raspberry Pi based device which can create a local network, allowing a classroom to access 64Gb of educational material without the need for internet.

UK IT Donors[edit]

Computer Aid has partnered with Tier 1 to offer a secure service to UK companies and organisations replacing their hardware. The charity provides end-of life IT asset management services, which include data removal, computer refurbishment, reuse, and recycling. Donating IT equipment to Computer Aid is in compliance with UK legislation, including the WEEE Directive, Data Protection Act and Environment Act. Computer Aid donors include Dfid, Sainsbury's, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Orange, Virgin, Betfair, Pepsico, Investec, WWF, Christian Aid, BBC Worldwide and Ofcom.

Projects[edit]

Computer Aid supports a telemedicine project in partnership with African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). This project has equipped over 40 rural hospitals in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with digital cameras, computers, printers and scanners and provides training and technical support. The project enables doctors and nurses in remote rural areas to access specialist clinical support diagnosis improving healthcare in rural communities.

Dr. Musomi from AMREF explaining Telemedicine

Computer Aid, in partnership with Sightsavers International, has provided PCs installed with [adaptive technologies] for the blind and partially sighted in more than 20 different countries.

In Cameroon, Computer Aid is working with several not-for-profit organisations to provide PCs in secondary schools and community-based organizations. These include organizations like the British Council and Education Information Services International (EISERVI).

In Rwanda, Computer Aid has worked with the Kigali Institute of Education, The Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) in providing PCs to schools, health centers and tele centers country wide.

In Burundi, Computer Aid is working with La Fondation Buntu to provide PCs to widows and orphans who were victims of the war. Computer Aid PCs are currently being used in various secondary schools in Burundi, both in Bujumbura and in the provinces.

In Zambia, Computer Aid has sent PCs to secondary schools through national distribution programmes supported by the national government and local NGOs. They are running a series of eClasses in primary and secondary schools between 2017-2018

In Zimbabwe, Computer Aid has sent PCs to universities, tertiary institutions and the national consortium of libraries. Computer Aid is also working to establish relationships with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote development in Zimbabwe. They also helped create the University of Zimbabwe's first female-only ICT lab[4] to help bring equal access to both genders after it was found social issues were preventing the current labs from being used equally.

In Malawi, Computer Aid enjoys a strong partnership with the Council for Non Governmental Organizations in Malawi (CONGOMA) and has partnered with CONGOMA to send over 5,000 PCs to various NGOs, schools and universities in Malawi.

Computer Aid has also sent PCs to Swaziland, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, and Botswana.

Tanzanian Masai student, Simba using Computer Aid laptop

In Eritrea Computer Aid is working with the British Council to provide PCs in public and school libraries.

Ethiopia as a land-locked country has also not been left behind. Computer Aid works with not-for-profit organisations, such as [Information Technology Development Association (ITDA)], Ethiopia Knowledge and Technology Transfer Society (EKTTS), Christian Relief Development Association (CRDA). Over 6,000 PCs have been provided to Ethiopian schools, tertiary institutions and other not-for-profit organisations.

In Liberia, Computer Aid is working with Stella Maris Polytechnic to provide computers to institutions of higher learning and NGOs.

Computer Aid not only provide computers to organisations in Africa but also in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. To give a few examples; in Colombia Computer Aid works with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to help internally displaced children receive an education. In Ecuador several hundred computers were donated to Fair Trade Banana Producers to improve the day-to-day running of the fair trade banana enterprise and its trade unions. In Venezuela Computer Aid provided PCs to an indigenous wind powered school in the middle of the Amazonian jungle. Power supply problems in rural areas of developing countries make it sensible to use the most power-efficient options. Computer Aid has asked ZDNET to survey the available choices for low-power computing. The initial survey has been completed and field testing will now be carried out in three countries in Africa.

Computer Aid International has also developed a portable wind-powered cyber café to offer a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution to getting rural communities online. The wind-powered cyber café can be shipped as a complete sea container and contains a fully functional cyber café, comprising a thin client network of eight monitors running off a standard P4 acting as a server. Wind panels are fitted to power the container and a thin client network was adopted because wind panels are prohibitively expensive if using standard desktops. The idea was developed in conjunction with Computer Aid partners in Zambia who have already used the containers to reduce the cost of internet and power access by sharing connectivity and harnessing the sun's rays.

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