What’s it like working in the Computer Aid workshop?

Computer Aid workshop volunteers hard at work

Computer Aid workshop volunteers hard at work

Please find below a blog post written by one of the volunteers in Computer Aid’s workshop. He talks descriptively and in detail about the variety of roles a Computer Aid workshop volunteer undertakes on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, he goes over the atmosphere in the workshop and the benefits of working for Computer Aid to a volunteer.

I volunteered in the workshop because I have more than twenty years of experience in ICT and wanted to do something to support Computer Aid.  However, you do not need to be experienced in IT to volunteer to work in the workshop at Computer Aid because you will be fully trained by experienced staff and you will be shown exactly what you need to do to test and standardize each PC.

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A visit to our Chilean partner, Chilenter

Chilenter warehouse entrance

I blogged a few weeks ago on the importance of partners to Computer Aid’s work and a recent visit to Chile provides one of the best examples.

Chilenter is the result of an initiative by the First Lady of Chile to create a number of social foundations – 7 in all – to promote various social initiatives, in this case access to technology by schools, colleges and community organisations.  Chilenter won the tender to promote the goals of the foundation and has been in existence since 2002.  It works with Enlaces, a parallel Ministry of Education initiative to improve the education system through ICT, and takes the lead in Chile on supplying PCs to schools and colleges. Continue reading

IT’s not a pretty picture: Computer Aid reveals new research on IT disposal in the UK

Computer Aid has today launched the first of its two part series of research into how large UK companies dispose of their IT. The research was made possible through the generous support of Vanson Bourne who donated their time and resources to help us better understand the trends in PC disposal and also raise awareness of the issues around current disposal practices.

Vanson Bourne’s team of researchers surveyed 100 senior IT decision makers in companies with over 1,000 employees across the UK and the results were very concerning. The full overview can be found here but key findings include:

  • 1 in 5 senior IT decision makers in the UK are “not confident” that zero per cent of their company’s unwanted IT goes to landfill
  • Only 14 % follow best practice IT disposal and send their working IT for reuse
  • But 83% of those who don’t reuse would like to do so if possible
  • 542 PCs disposed of per large company per year

Dumping e-waste in landfill is illegal as well as incredibly damaging for human health and the environment, so it’s very worrying that 20 per cent of our largest companies cannot be sure their own PCs don’t get sent to landfill. You can see the impact of the illegal trade of electronic waste in the Environment Investigation Agencies special report titled System Failure, the UK’s harmful trade in electronic Waste.
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WEEE Directive recast – explaining the EU legislative process

Big changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive are essential if we are to mitigate the environmental and health risks posed by e-waste. With the EU expecting to generate around 12 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment per year by 2020, we are hoping that a bold approach in addressing the looming e-waste crisis will be taken. Currently only one third of e-waste collected in the EU is being treated according to the requirements of legislation. The rest goes to landfill (13%) and potentially to sub-standard treatment inside or outside the EU (54%). Illegal trade to non-EU countries is still widespread.

However, while the issue itself is clear enough, making a change to a European Directive is far from being a clear or simple procedure. There are numerous stages and procedures to get amendments pushed through. We’ve outlined below the process so far, including the latest developments (which happened just a few days ago) and the next steps to (we hope!) simplify matters.
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