A U.S.-based group -- Computers for Africa -- has launched an initiative called “Mouse on a Mission” to make computers available to students in war-torn areas of Africa.
Herbert Busiku, director of the Ugandan operations for Computers for Africa who is in the United States to launch the program, said “Mouse on a Mission” seeks individual and American students help to send refurbished computers to Africa.
“Mouse on a Mission is a promotion that we are carrying out in which we request individuals, organizations or businesses to donate $25 which cash goes toward helping refurbishing computers here in the United States and providing support services to that computer once it gets to Africa so it can work for as long as it ever could,” he said.
The program was launched this spring, and Busiku hopes that as Americans know more about it they would become interested and start contributing to it.
He said his visits to American schools to promote the program have been an eye opener for the students, especially as they learn about the huge disparity between them and their African counterparts in terms of access to technology.
“For example, I was telling them how big our classes are and how few resources, textbooks and other study materials they [African students] have and then you get the question like, and how did they even manage to make it? How do they manage to proceed with their studies without good learning materials? So it’s been an eye opener to a number of these students who have no idea that elsewhere there are these kinds of challenges,” he said.
Busiku hoped American students will talk to their parents and friends about Africa’s technology gap and its impact on African students.
“There’s tremendous need for affordable, quality computers in Africa, and Computers for Africa has been, for the last 10 years trying to address this issue by donating computers to schools in eastern Africa,” Busiku said.
When it comes to access to information and communications technology known sometimes as ICT, Africa lags behind the rest of the world.
For example, the United Nations said one out of 130 people in Africa has a computer. The gap is even wider in rural Africa.
Citing U.N. statistics, Busiku said for every 1,000 people in east Africa, there are only 16 computers.
Busiku said the need is even greater in places like northern Uganda because of the decades long civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government.
In a news release, Computers for Africa said it has refurbished thousands of computers into labs for schools in 132 communities serving 70,000 students and staff.