Camara acts as a ‘social enterprise’
Operating under strong business principles, generating its own revenues but with the sole purpose of effecting social change – deliver real impact through technology by inspiring and empowering a young generation to improve their own life opportunities
What is a Social Enterprise?
“A social economy enterprise operates like a business, produces goods and services for the market, but manages its operations and redirects its surpluses in pursuit of social and environmental goals.” – Defining the Social Economy, by Fiona Salkie, Senior Policy Analyst, WD Headquarters, Edmonton
Camara’s Social Enterprise Model
Camara Education operates as a social enterprise and thus generates a significant proportion of its own revenue. Schools are charged for Camara services at a heavily subsidised price, in order to make them more affordable for those in the most disadvantaged areas. Income from the sale of computers, recycling and provision of services only partly covers our costs. Camara still relies on external funding to make up the deficit and most importantly to enable us to reach our three strategic goals ‘prove, improve and scale’.
The Camara network consists of Education Hubs, which are independent local entities responsible for the front-line delivery of the Camara model to educational institutes within their respective countries. There are currently six Education Hubs in Africa (located in Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia) and one Education Hub in Ireland. The ultimate governance and decision- making authority of the Hubs are the local boards. The Chair of these boards in developing hubs is a direct employee of Camara Education Ltd.
In addition, there are Resource Centres in Dublin and London. The Resource Centres collect redundant computers from organisations and individuals for refurbishment and reuse. These computers are refurbished and loaded with educational software before being shipped in bulk, in 20 or 40 foot containers, to our Education Hubs. Further processing takes place at the hubs before the computers are sent out and set up, typically in ‘eLearning Centres’ in schools,
colleges and community centres. Any equipment that cannot be reused in this fashion is recycled according to the EU WEEE Directive.
Education Delivery is carried out by our Education Hubs. These Hubs carry out additional quality control tests on the machines. These machines are typically installed in eLearning Centres in schools and community centres to provide educational tools to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the world. In addition to supplying computers to schools, our Hubs also provide other key services:
Camara Hub Services
1. Maintenance Support:
Each school signs a maintenance contract with their Education Hub which ensures that the eLearning Centers are kept operational should any technical issues arise.
2. Educator Training
In the majority of schools where Camara has installed computers, educators have little or no knowledge of how to use them. Therefore as part of our contract with them, Camara organises a variety of training programs, aimed at educators and principals, which allows them to effectively use the computers as learning tools. This training consists of:
– Basic digital literacy skills.
– The Pedagogy of ICT. Essentially how to integrate Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning practices.
3. Technical Support:
For selected educators this would include: basic computer maintenance; networking; administration of the eLearning Centre.