Reducing E Waste By Re-using IT Assets In Rural African Schools

Why We Charge Schools

Many Parties Working Together

The reason we're all here is to empower kids with a more effective education. To make this happen effectively and at scale, there are many parties that need to agree and get what they want:

  1. School leadership and community
  2. TechLit's educators and tech support
  3. Donors with used computers & funds to support schools

We are here to sustainably address poverty in rural Africa. Every student we teach has the potential to support their family and community through digital skills. They can use their skills to work remotely, build an internet company, or just make connections abroad.

What appears to be valuable is the computers, but the what is truly valuable is the education those computers enable.

Three Reasons TechLit Charges Schools

  1. Scalability
  2. Equity
  3. Longevity

1. Scalability - Computers In Every School

Our goal is to bring tech literacy to all of rural Africa. If we were to cover the full cost of the program (or even a large portion of it), we could only serve a handful of schools. Nobody wants to be a part of something small.

For Schools: Charging for our program means that we can focus on equipping more schools, rather than fundraising for a handful of schools. When a school covers the cost of their computer classes, it's like an investment in less fortunate communities.

For TechLit: Every student that we reach has the potential to uplift their community. Reaching more schools makes it more likely that we can disrupt poverty across all the communities in rural Africa. We and our employees want to sustainably disrupt poverty in rural Africa.

For Donors: For us to reach every school, we need the support of international donors. While smaller donors will support just one community, most large donors expect an equally large impact. We need large donors to reach beyond Kenya, to transform rural Africa.

The bottom line: Charging fees enables us to serve many times more students.

2. Equity - Community Ownership

We are experts at teaching computer and internet basics in rural Africa. But we are not experts on every community in rural Africa. Each community knows best what their children need, and what their education is worth.

For Schools: Charging for our program makes communities more interested in the computer classes. If our program were free, communities wouldn't care if it were effective or appropriate. Communities who pay are much more likely to judge the program and expect positive outcomes.

For TechLit: Charging schools enables us to employ young educators and tech talent. TechLit employees are expected to build internet skills and graduate to better opportunities. The fees we charge unlock opportunities for youth in each community.

For Donors: Charging schools tells donors that they're supporting something people want and need. Many donors only donate to projects where those benefiting have "skin in the game," which is to say that they are invested in some way. When communities invest in themselves, it's very easy for our donors to help.

3. Longevity - The Right Partnership

Technology becomes more important every year. That means that the importance of computer classes will not fade. Once computer classes are introduced, they should continue.

For Schools: We want our partnership to be long-term. Funding from international donors can dry up, and we don't want to leave without finishing what we started. Schools are also very busy and underfunded. Partnering with an organization like TechLit is a serious investment and should be taken seriously. For these reasons, we want our relationships to be long-term. Charging fees means we're creating a sustainable, long-term partnership.

For TechLit: The jobs our partnership creates should be stable. TechLit computer classes in just one school creates more than one job, which can be used as a launchpad for local youth. Charging fees for their work enables educators to become independent and create more opportunities for themselves.

For Donors: Our donors want their donations to be used to their fullest extent. That's why our program is designed for effective use. Charging schools for the cost of the program enables tech support and proper supervision so that the computers can create effective and lasting change.

The Bottom Line: When schools pay a fee for their computer classes, everyone can rest assured the classes won't end for lack of funding.

The bottom line: Charging fees puts the community in the driver's seat, because the community knows what is best for their children.

Watch Our CNN Heroes Feature

This video by CNN explains the story behind TechLit through the eyes of our founder Nelly Cheboi.