New and used computers wanted for Africa

UK charity appeal

A charity which moves drugs and medical aid around Africa has launched an appeal for computers.

The UK organisation is called Riders For Health, and it needs around 100 computers to expand its operations over the next two years.

The charity provides motorbikes and other vehicles to pick up drugs when they are sent to Africa by other organisations.

Often these packages are left stranded at points such as airports, and never reach the people who really need them. Riders for Health collects them and takes them to towns and villages in Africa.

The 12-year-old organisation, which saves millions of lives every year, currently operates in several African countries, including Gambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and the Congo.

But it wants to expand, and to do this it needs to update its current computer system used to co-ordinate the various operations. It needs around 100 computers in total - including notebooks and desktops - and it could also use a few servers, printers, CD-rewriters, projectors, and digital cameras, as well as a bit of software.

This kit doesn't have to be brand new, but it does need to be half-decent - computers without much memory or which are more than two or three years old aren't much use.

The computers will be put in stations around Africa, where they will be used to help with basic maintenance of vehicles - such as by co-ordinating technicians to help fix vehicles.

"We just couldn't do this if we didn't have the technology," said Andrea Coleman, who co-runs the charity from its Northampton base with her husband, Barry.

"People aren't aware of the impact that technology can have on changing lives....The developed world sends aid to Africa, but it doesn't understand that the infrastructure is not in place to distribute it.

"The basic fact is that computers save lives - they are the big missing link that people have ignored."

Anyone interested in donating new or used IT equipment can contact Riders for Healthhere. ®