The UK’s lockdown strategies prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic actually increased digital inequality* and its consequences are even more severe now that the world is heavily relying on digital infrastructure.
Of urgent concern is the impact of the pandemic on children being home schooled in households often sharing one device, often a mobile phone, for the whole family, or worse – no available technology at all.
Liz Raven, EMEA Lead for iMasons Millennials / Gen Z MRG (Member Resource Group), is taking action and is leading a campaign to help children whose futures could be blighted by missing crucial years of education.
* Oxford University’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
“Not having access to technology is a major barrier to education during the pandemic – it’s particularly frustrating to know that the education is freely available if only these children had a laptop or tablet” Liz Raven
It’s encouraging to know there are many schemes available already helping children on the wrong side of digital inequality. After some research Liz identified TechInclusionUK as the ideal partner being easy to engage and providing a streamlined process. Also, TechInclusionUK’s solution supports sustainability – even technology that can’t be refurbished doesn’t go to waste – an important issue for iMasons members.
“We believe environmental sustainability and digital inclusion can be achieved simultaneously” says Collette Nabyonga, Co-Founder| TechInclusionUK
How it works
TechInclusionUK has developed a hassle-free and secure process to put your old tech to good use. Their proven platform takes disused, unwanted but working tech to be refurbished and donated to schools and social organisations to allow young people in education to access the resources they need to have a chance of reaching their full potential.
TechInclusionUK takes working tech, such as laptops, desktops and tablets, extending the lifecycle to empower disconnected young people in education.
Their platform works with certified and insured data management providers, who are able to wipe and restore devices to comply with the GDPR and the WEEE Regulations.
Unsuitable devices are repurposed for young people training in computer repairs and other circular solutions to overcome e-waste. This is done through collaborations with organisations like; The Restart Project and the London Tech Collective.
Donating your, or your company’s kit
- If you’d like more information, for example how drive destruction is certified, please click this LINK (more info)
- If you have some tech you’d like to donate please use this LINK (donate)
- If you’d like to connect TechinclusionUK with your company’s IT Life Cycle Management please contact Collette Nabyonga – email@example.com
How is it funded
The costs vary depending on the condition of the device received. On average packaging, posting, refurbishment, software licensing and any ad-hoc misc costs comes to around £50 per device.
To date this has largely been self-funded and TechInclusionUK is now raising funds through crowdfunding with Spacehive.
If you’d like to support directly through the crowdfund – then thanks very much – here’s a LINK to Spacehive.
If you are a company and would like to make a donation via an invoice please reach out to Collette Nabyonga (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Which schools benefit
At the moment the focus is on Tower Hamlets (the highest rate of child poverty in London) and home to some of the UK’s most established Data Centres. Also, TechInclusionUK’s founders both have parents who teach in the borough.
If successful, we will look to extend the scheme across the UK and hopefully we’ll be able to replicate it in other countries through iMasons Local Chapters, Partners and members.
Who are TechInclusionUK
The idea was conceived during the height of the national lockdown in 2020 by Collette and Rich. They had a conversation over text about the many people in education who don’t have internet connectivity or devices to benefit from an at-home education.
The conversation turned into them creating a solution starting with addressing access to devices. TechInclusionUK has gone from a small project to a long term sustainable and circular solution to benefit education and the environment.
Giving back to the next generation of builders of The Digital Age
Ultimately, macro solutions will have to be formulated and delivered at Government level – but you can help school children being digitally excluded from home education right now!
Maybe some of these children may be interested in learning more about a career in digital infrastructure and become the next generation of Builders of The Digital Age.