Saturday, December 24, 2005


This week I have written about the organizations that I have found that donate Medical Equipment and organizations that I have found that donate books and today I want to provide you with a list of organizations that provide computers to developing countries - particularly those in Africa.


Computer Aid International has already shipped over 45,000 PCs to more than 90 developing countries since its beginnings in 1998. Over 25,000 of those computers have gone to educational institutions and the rest have gone to community organizations working on problems such as HIV/Aids, environment, human rights, and primary healthcare.

A registered charity operating out of the UK, Computer Aid International was set-up in 1998 in response to the great need for quality and affordable access to computers from the developing world.

When businesses in the UK upgrade to newer and more powerful hardware for their IT demands Computer Aid International encourage them to donate their old PCs for re-use in schools and community organizations in the developing world.

To cover the cost of collecting, testing, refurbishing, and packing of a single computer Computer Aid International charges £39 plus shipping per PC. Once an organization has submitted their application, Computer Aid International provides them with an invoice for the full cost, including shipping.


World Computer Exchange (WCE) says that it "is an international educational nonprofit focused on helping the world's poorest youth to bridge the disturbing global divides in information, technology and understanding." They say that they keep donated computers "out of landfills" and give them "new life connecting youth to the Internet in developing countries."

WCE is the largest non-profit in North America that supplies tested used computers to schools and community organizations in developing countries.

Because of the success of its programs WCE is recognized by and works with UNESCO, UNDP, USAID, World Economic Forum, and Peace Corps Volunteers. They also have a global network of organizations and individuals to help them carry out their programs to which they refer as their "consortium of twenty Strategic Allies"

WCE has connected over a half million youth to the Internet, and they have approved implementation plans to connect another half million. The copies of the Partner's implementation plans for their projects can be seen at WEC's web site.


Computers For Uganda describes itself as a "non-profit organization which is a part of Emrald City Rotary's Computers for the World organization." But the most intriguing thing about this organization is that it is "made up of a group of high school students from Mount Si High School, Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, and other local schools in the Puget Sound area of Washington State." I have always been impressed by this Great group of High School Kids out there Making A Difference.

These High Schoolers meet for nine months to learn about Uganda, collect computers, and refurbish them. But they also learn and practice troubleshooting potential installation problems and cable making, and to practice teaching techniques on using and maintaining the hardware.

For the past three years Computers for Uganda has sent its members to Uganda to deliver the computers. In 2003 they delivered 130 computers and in 2005 they took 140 computers to Uganda with them to be delivered to schools there.

One of the goals of the Computer for Uganda teams is to build a relationship with the schools in Uganda "that one day will grow into an electronic connected community." And while they are in Uganda they visit the former recipient schools, install computers and train the Ugandan students on the use of applications. And of course, the team members get to experience the local culture first hand during the three weeks that they are there.


Computers For Africa has been shipping refurbished used computers from Omaha Nebraska since 2000. They not only refurbish them, they networks them, and ship them ready-to-set-up to non-profit organizations in Africa.

Setting a priority for "the most disadvantaged groups, generally youth and women," Computers For Africa sends its best computers to organizations that help those segments of the recipient communities, as well as organizations that work for positive social development.

CFA donated over 900 computers to some 43 recipient organizations between 2002 - 2004 and says that they receive many of their referrals for recipients from organizations that have a "trusted track record" with them. However they do receive applications from non-profit organizations that are unknown to them. They also make it possible for organizations to make application over the Internet.

Their donors are banks, hospitals, universities, insurance companies, the military and other large organizations that dispose large quantities of used computers at one time. Organizations that operate on a for-profit basis are eligible to receive a tax deduction for its donation because of CFA's tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. Another source of computers for CFA are local refurbishers and resellers of hardware, who often receive more hardware than they can realistically use.

Also on their web site they have a FAQ page that actually tells you how they ship computers to Africa, and how you can too.


Techknowledgy wins my award for the most innovative name, but it is also a charitable organization dedicated to working with people in the developing countries of Africa in order to help them bridge the technology divide by teaching and passing on the knowledge about how to use it effectively. They support sustainable education programs through providing computer equipment along with instructions on their use and also access to the Internet.

Using previously owned computers Techknowledgy equips schools in a number of African countries. Once the computers are installed in the schools, the organization instructs them on how to maintain them and they also provide IT teaching programmes.

Techknowledgy has worked with more than twenty African schools and universities, technical training collages and women's training institutions in Ghana, and Tanzania. Additionally Techknowledgy pairs schools in the UK with African counterparts, giving students in both the UK and Africa the opportunity to communicate using email.


The First Thing I always have to say about the $100 Laptop is that they are not for sale to the general public. And if you go to their web site, the first thing at the top of their Home Page is the following notice:

"Please note that the $100 laptops-not yet in production-will not be available for sale. The laptops will only be distributed to schools directly through large government initiatives."

The reason I mention the $100 Laptop is to make people aware that these computers are available to the education systems of developing countries. And it is my understanding that Brazil has already contracted to buy a large number of them. This project is an attempt to "bridge the digital divide," not to provide an inexpensive computer to the citizens of the wealthier nations while those in the poorer nations get left further behind.

The project is the brainchild of the MIT Media Laboratory, which has created a new, non-profit association called One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to carry out the goal to develop a $100 laptop. The MIT Media Lab believes that this technology "could revolutionize how we educate the world's children."


Finally, I want to mention
TECHSOUP , which does not give away computers itself but has a "Slamming" (That's just a bit of U.S. urban inner city idiom meaning it's really, really good.) database on organizations that do give away computers. Techsoup's database contains computer donors that are mostly local to the U.S., but it does include donors such as African Computer Literacy Project in Accra, Ghana and the African Regional Centre for Computing in Kenya.

In addition to its database on computer donors it also provides information on:

Recycled Hardware
Free Downloads and
Other Software and Hardware Resources

For example at Techsoup you can learn how to become a participant in the Cisco Donation Program and receive their software at no cost, of discounted price if you are a registered non-profit organization.

Finally, there are plenty of tips and instructions on how being well versed in internet technology can benefit your non-profit organization.


Computer Aid International

World Computer Exchange

Computers For Uganda

Computers For Africa


$100 Laptop


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