Refurbished PCs enlisted to fight AIDS

Re-used PCs and laptops are being given a second life in a disease education programme
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor

UK IT charity Computer Aid is working with an education charity to provide schools in the developing world with the technology to educate pupils about the spread and prevention of the HIV/AIDS.

Computer Aid, announced on Thursday that it is working with the Berkshire-based CfBT Education trust, to donate 141 PCs, 32 laptops and 43 servers to schools and community organisations in the developing world.

The PCs, donated by CfBT, will go to towns such as Kiberia in Kenya — recognised as the largest slum in Africa and home to some of the most deprived communities in Kenya. One of the group's key projects is the Primary School Action for Better Health (PSABH) HIV education programme which aims to provide teachers and schools with the tools to educate pupils about HIV/AIDS prevention.

Access to accurate information about HIV/AIDs is key to helping to prevent the spread of the disease in the developing world and technology is a vital part of the process, according to CfBT and Computer Aid.

"We work in the UK and internationally supporting educational reform, teaching, advising, researching and training, and we wanted to make sure that we disposed of our PCs in a way that was strongly aligned with these values," said Simon Kartar, ICT manager at CfBT. "In donating the computers through Computer Aid we are not only helping to further the development of education and training in these countries we are also helping to give whole communities a better chance in life".

Every year hundreds of thousands of working PCs are routinely discarded in the UK as companies upgrade to the latest technology, according to Computer Aid.  The charity claims these resources are invaluable to under-resourced organisations in developing countries which can use them to educate and train on a local as well as national level.

As well as looking at ways to encourage more UK companies to donate their PCs to the developing world, Computer Aid is also exploring alternative ways to provide power and Internet connectivity to rural areas in the developing world.

The organisation has increased its headcount in the Kenyan capital Nairobi including hiring a technical expert to focus on alternative power sources such as solar energy.

In February next year, staff from ZDNet UK’s parent organisation CNET Networks are taking part in a 400km cycle challenge to raise money for Computer Aid. The team has already raised more than £10,000 in sponsorship, thanks to backing from CNET and IT vendor Ricoh.

You can find out more about the Computer Aid Cycle Challenge and sponsor the CNET team here.

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