To coincide with National Recycling Week Sharon Roberts, Business Development Manager at Computers 4 Africa explains how businesses can recycle their unwanted IT equipment to support young people in Africa.
Computers 4 Africa has recently received the Kent Charity Award for the Environment. This award highlights the benefits of looking outside of the box for alternative solutions for IT disposal in the UK, whist equipping African students – a win-win solution across two continents.
The repurposing and reuse of IT equipment isn’t just a part of what Computers 4 Africa do, it’s fundamental to the way the entire organisation works. Our mission is to help lift African communities out of the poverty trap by equipping the next generation to work in a global economy. This is the 21st century version of “teach a man to fish…”
Techonology for the next generation of African communities
Organisations in the UK have made great strides to be environmentally friendly and our organisation has benefitted from this; donations made to Computers 4 Africa in the last ten years have helped protect our environment by reducing the amount of hazardous waste going to land-fill, the equivalent weight of 578 double decker buses, and carbon emissions by the equivalent of removing 23,264 cars off the road.
The need for IT equipment in Africa is huge; the continent has the lowest rate of PC ownership per capita in the world; in Tanzania less than 1 computer per 100 people as opposed to the UK which has over 80. We believe that access to technology should be a right and not a privilege and we hope that by making equipment available to the next generation in the continent will be just as well equipped as other communities. We know a skilled, IT-trained workforce is a key factor in boosting Africa’s productivity, attract investment and ultimately, develop.
Laptops and measles in Kenya
Joyce Mbwaga, a trained nurse in Kenya, provides a service across two villages. Joyce received a laptop which is used for medical data and record keeping. Shortly after receiving the laptop she started keeping records of measles in the community. Measles, although treatable, can be fatal in impoverished areas where vaccines are not readily available. With the aid of the laptop, Joyce was able to determine the origin and extent of the outbreak, and the direction in which it was spreading.
As a result she managed to stop the outbreak in its tracks, saving lives and restoring the health of many in the two villages under Joyce’s care. A few months later, typhoid broke out and again, Joyce was able to help in a similar way. In this case, IT knowledge saved lives.
Alleviating poverty through IT skills
Education in IT levels the playing field across the world; it is thought that students who learn IT skills broaden and increase their education & career opportunities. Equality is improved as students are equipped and empowered regardless of gender, race, disability or social standing; with an increased earning potential of up to three times the national average; this helps lift them and their entire family out of poverty forever.
By not taking advantage of this reuse programme equipment is ‘scrapped’ and recycled missing out on a potential ‘second life’ in Africa.
What seems small in the UK makes a big difference on the ground in Africa. You can change a child’s life when you change your PC. Technology should be a right and not a privilege.
Please visit the Computers4Africa website to discover how your organisation can recycle its unwanted IT equipment.
Computers 4 Africa supports organisations and employers in the UK by offering a secure, ethical and free of charge alternative for IT disposal with a collection service. All the memory devices are securely data-wiped (up to InfoSec 5 / MoD standard) and the donated equipment is refurbished, PAT tested. The organisation meets the WEEE directive, Environment Agency and Data Protection compliance and as a Carbon Neutral Organisation we help decrease your carbon footprint with a 0% policy to landfill.