Against the backdrop of a rising e-waste problem in developing countries, a sustainable and practical approach to refurbishing computers for donation purposes is absolutely indispensable. This is what Digital Links
, a social enterprise founded in 2002, is aiming for.
The most recent project is the deployment of a scheme allowing teachers in Zambia, the host country of eLearning Africa 2010
, to purchase computers. The idea is to equip teachers with around 30,000 notebooks, taking varying income levels into account. This will be done in partnership with the 50x15 Foundation
, South Africa. The laptops are specifically aimed at the teacher/education market and have exceptionally low power consumption. Ten thousand public servants and teachers have already signed up for the first year of this program.
Once this program is running, Digital Links will begin the planning of digital labs across the country. Out of an expected eligible number of 80,000 teachers countrywide, Digital Links expects to service around 60,000 teachers over the course of three years. However, this scheme has the potential (and the agreement of the government in principle) to involve more than 150,000 public servants. There has also been considerable interest in the digital lab model in Zambia. Digital Links partner Mecer is one of the three major corporate ICT distributors in Zambia. MDZ has entered into an arrangement with the Zambian government to distribute all its products to civil servants and has approached Digital Links to help deploy their large-scale computerization program.