Team Installs Community Technology Centers in Cape Verde
At the end of his Peace Corps service in Pedro Badejo, Cape Verde, Andrew Vernaza’s students installed solar panels on the streetlights throughout the town square, providing the city with self-sustaining, free lighting. As an educational Peace Corps volunteer, Vernaza taught electrical engineering techniques to his students. In classes, they had the opportunity to use computers and access the internet, gaining valuable knowledge and learning about solar panel installation.
With the goal of helping other residents of the rural communities in the Santa Cruz district, Vernaza decided to create an organization called Technology Does to further increase access to computers and the internet. Recently completed, their first project was to install a series of 4 community technology centers in Pedro Badejo. With publicly accessible labs and classes, residents would be able to improve their computer skills, hopefully leading to more projects like the solar panel installations. Teaming up with friends Brian Quimby and Mike Donaghy, they began to solicit for used computer equipment, while accepting monetary donations through the Peace Corps website. Computers were donated by Drexel’s TechServ and alumni from the Alpha Pi Lambda fraternity and Penn’s Pi Kappa Alpha. A generous monetary donation was also received from Lodge 2 of the Pennsylvania Freemasons.
The computers were cleaned and refurbished, and an open source operating system and software were installed. A total of nearly 30 computers, including LCDs and accessories were prepared and packed. The team then travelled to Boston, Massachusetts, where the computers and equipment were loaded into a crate and shipped to Praia via the Cape-Verdean owned Atlantic Shipping Company.
Peace Corps volunteers still in the county setup and installed the community labs, and organized initial training sessions and classes. The eventual goal is to have the labs become self-sustaining, with graduates of the computer literacy classes teaching new students.
The popularity and success of the project has resulted in a request to setup more labs, which Technology Does hopes to be able to facilitate. To donate computer equipment or funds for the next project, please use our donation form.