One of the things that I have come to love, since setting up Our Moon, is the camaraderie between fellow small international development charities.
From pooling our knowledge on the Small International Development Charities Network Facebook page set up by Victoria Hancock Fell and Operation Sunshine helping me in shipping text books to Zambia, to Baraka Community Partnership’s match funding of a student scholarship, Deana Owen for putting me in touch with Zambia Women and Girls’ Foundation, the sister NGO of her organisation, Friends of Monze and the possibility of doing a sponsored walk with Lois Cochrane and others of School Club Zambia, we share resources and ideas ensuring that our donors and students benefit more. The message is very much about collaboration rather than competition.
This week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jenny Evans and Simon Richardson of IT Schools Africa. Their organisation works in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe providing computers to schools. They have set up complete IT computer labs in some schools. In all, they have shipped 50,000 computers and estimate that 5 million children in these three countries have benefited from being able to access their computers. The Zambian sister company headed by Boni Chipembere, Computers for Zambian Schools (CZS) is providing some work experience for one of our students, Janet. Once Tony’s exams have finished, he will also volunteer there. Justin, our Programmes Manager in Zambia, is working with Boni to provide much needed contacts at the Ministry of Community Development. We will purchase our next scholars’ laptops from CZS, saving us money and contributing to CZS’s income.
IT Schools Africa is a great example of a small charity that takes used but working IT equipment, refurbishes them and distributes them to schools and colleges. It does this in a very professional way. It takes donations of used computers which are all wiped clean using leading-edge software used by US and UK governments. The computers are restored by groups of prisoners who, along the way, are taught invaluable computing skills. IT Schools Africa takes on staff and volunteers who gain good experience and skills in much demand in the market place. Once the computers are restored to new condition with Windows 10 installed on them, they are shipped to Africa and then distributed to schools for a small fee which includes set-up and support to the schools.
We feel immensely privileged to be working alongside these organisations and collaborating with them wherever we can.