Recycled computers for schools in Swaziland

Computing

Computer Aid, a London-based charity has helped to computerise all secondary schools in Swaziland, recycling computers no longer wanted by private companies.

More than 5,500 computers have been delivered to the country during a 13-year partnership. Most of the computers came through donations from companies modernising their systems and looking for ways how to get rid of old computers in an eco-friendly manner.

Computer Aid has been working on the project together with Computer Education Trust (CET).

"The lack of computers in Swazi schools was first identified by the Swazi entrepreneur Natie Kirsh as a major obstacle to economic and social growth in Swaziland,î a spokesman for the charity explained. ìKirsh then founded the charity Computer Education Trust (CET) in 2000 to address this.î

Cooperation with the Swazi government was established to provide computers and technical support. The Swazi government had to find sufficiently qualified teachers and help local communities to build computer labs.

"Since 2000, CET has been on a mission to ensure that every Swazi high school graduate will be able to learn computer skills and become computer literate so that the country as a whole will benefit from a higher skilled workforce,î said George Lys, CET's director.

CET is the only organisation operating in Swaziland, aiming at promoting computer literacy. The countryís government, despite having the policy, lacks the financial resources.

The next steps are already set out ñ to provide Internet connectivity to all, already computerised Swazi schools. To do that, television white space, an innovative technology, will be used.

"It's cutting edge stuff and we hope to be the first to get all schools connected for free," Lys said.