10 million first steps
How do you measure the value of being able to save lives with telemedicine?
Or of being able to provide the training that means a young women gets her first job as a network engineer?
Yet funders love to see stuff quantified. So it’s nice to be able to demonstrate that since Computer Aid was founded 13 years ago we have provided enough computers to enable over one billion computer access hours that would otherwise not have been possible.
When I visit projects I am often amazed to see computers that we delivered 5 or 6 years ago still working and enabling enhanced quality of education or healthcare. But the average productive second-user life of a professionally refurbished PC is a more modest 3 or 4 years.
If for those 3 years a PC is used for 8 hours per day and for 250 days per year, then each PC makes possible 6,000 hours of computer use.
6,000 hours each, multiplied by the 172,113 PCs that we have provided over the last 13 years, means that Computer Aid has enabled a total of 1,032,678,000 hours of computer access – thanks to the generosity of the companies and individuals that donate their older computers for social reuse.
My guess is that to take a computer novice to a vocational level of computer literacy requires about 100 hours of training?
1,032,678,000 access hours is enough to provide over 10 million disadvantaged children each with 100 hours of computer access or training.
Is this a magic bullet that ends poverty? No.
But I like to think of it as 10 million students each taking a very positive first step in their own personal development and 10 million young people with modern skills to each contribute, in diverse ways, to the development of their own community and economy.