By Computer Aid International LONDON, UK, 19 January 2005
Beginning a process of regionalisation APC member Computer Aid International in January 2005 opened its Southern Africa Regional offfice in Johannesburg, South Africa. Co-located at the premises of another APC member, Women’sNet, the new Computer Aid office will support existing and future partners in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr. Hillar Addo has been appointed to the post of Southern Africa Programme Officer and will run the new regional office for Southern Africa. Dr. Addo previously held the post of Network Coordinator for the pan-African school-networking movement SchoolNet Africa.
“Joining Computer Aid is an exciting way for me to continue to support the efforts of literally millions of learners actively employing ICTs in education across Southern Africa. It’s also a great opportunity to assist those endeavouring to make a difference to their individual lives as well as supporting thousands of civil society organisations actively applying ICTs for development. I believe these are some of the most pressing practical challenges of the Information Age”, said Dr. Hillar Addo
The new office launch has coincided with the arrival in Maputo of 450 Pentium II and Pentium III PCs to kick-start the SchoolNet Mozambique programme. SchoolNet Mozambique Co-ordinator Kauxique Maganlal said: “These PCs will be used to establish crucial training labs in 10 provincial teacher training centres across Mozambique. We will then be using Computer Aid PCs to roll-out a national programme of ICTs in Education in state schools nationwide”.
Computer Aid International is the world’s largest not-for-profit provider of refurbished PCs for education and other non-profit organisations. Of the 42,000 quality PCs provided to date over 13,700 computers have been delivered to organisations from the 12 countries that will now be supported by the new Johannesburg office.
Computer Aid has many long-term partners in the region. CIDA Ubuntu University was started by ex-actuary turned social entrepreneur Taddy Blecher in Joburg’s largely abandoned Central Business District. "Taddy had no computers and wondered how he was going to teach essential computer courses. He photocopied dozens of keyboards and took them into the lectures. He taught the students to touch type and by the time their computers arived they were already typing 30wpm," explains Nikki Behr, marketing and fund-raising executive at the university. Remarkably CIDA now have the largest educational IT lab in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of over 1,000 PCs from Computer Aid International.
Other partners in the region include the Child Soldiers Coalition of Congo, the National Youth Organisation of Malawi, Schools Without Boarders in Angola and the Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe.
Over 2,500 PC have already been provided to an on-going programme in Swaziland where Computer Aid have delivered a minimum of 20 PCs each to over half of the state secondary and high schools in the country in co-operation with local NGO the Computer Education Trust.
“The appointment of Dr. Addo and the opening of the Southern Africa office will enable Computer Aid to dramatically extend its provision across the region and significantly increase the level and quality of effective support to the region’s ICT for Development and ICT in Education programmes”, announced Caroline Fuseau, Computer Aid’s Africa Programme Officer.
“The Southern Africa office is only the first of several regional offices that we will establish this year in an effort to locate support closer to partners, increase the number of recipient organisations and improve monitoring and evaluation,” commented Tony Roberts, CEO of Computer Aid. “We are now actively searching for the right person to lead our East Africa Programme from a second office in Nairobi.”
Computer Aid Profile:
Computer Aid International is the world’s largest and most experienced non-profit provider of fully refurbished Pentium II and Pentium III PCs to educational and not-for-profit organisations in developing countries.
Computer Aid has already provided over 42,000 fully tested, refurbished and upgraded PCs where they are most needed, in schools and community organisations in more that 90 different countries.
Computer Aid has supplied PCs to Oxfam, Save the Children, Action Aid, SightSavers International, UNESCO and the World Bank as well as to over 5,000 schools, colleges, CBOs and NGOs.
Based in London Computer Aid has built strategic supply relationships with UK corporations who donate their older PCs when upgrading to the latest, most expensive, new technology. Companies such as British Airways, Dell, University of London, and Packard Bell donate to Computer Aid through their corporate social responsibility programmes.
In London a team of 40 dedicated technicians collect, test, professionally refurbish and upgrade the PCs to a high standard before carefully packaging them ready for shipping.
Any non-profit organisation in any developing country can apply to receive any number of PCs. There is a small handling fee of £39 plus shipping per PC to pay.
Applications can be made on-line at the Computer Aid website where much more information about the work of Computer Aid International can be found.