Charity requests old computers

Charity requests old computers

Desktop and notebook computers wanted to help bridge the digital divide in Africa

Computer Aid International is urging consumers to donate their old computers to help developing counties.

The charity, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, wants to collect 50,000 notebook and desktop computers this year to help close the digital divide between developed and developing countries, which it said “grows wider all the time”.

To date Computer Aid has collected 100,000 computers. Of these 15,000 have been sent to colleges and universities in Kenya to help people learn computer skills. A further 1,000 have been donated to women in rural areas and people with disabilities.

Others have also been used to compile and record weather forecast data in meteorological offices in countries in Africa, including Uganda and Zambia. This is said to help farmers to maximise yields, allowing them to feed their families and trade their harvest to provide a source of income.

Doctors and nurses across Africa have also made use of the donations by using them for remote diagnosis in rural areas where people are unable to reach specialists in central hospitals.

But according to Computer Aid chief executive Louise Richards, the number of computers collected so far is “a drop in the ocean” compared to the number of people who still have no access to computers.

“The progress we have made in the past ten years has made an enormous difference to millions of lives in the developing world, thanks to the generosity of our donors,” she said.

“However when you consider that in sub-Saharan Africa there are still only five or less PCs per 1,000 people, the scale of the task becomes clear.

“We need to up the ante to help bridge the global digital divide by aiding the education of a new generation of schoolchildren across Africa,” she added.

Those who wish to donate their unwanted computers can do so at the organis ation's workshop in North London. People in other parts of the country can arrange for a courier to deliver the equipment by contacting the charity online. There is a charge for the courier service.

Computer Aid says all computers will be datawiped as standard, so no personal information will be passed on when they are recycled.