Running any busy organisation today requires change and adaptation to meet contemporary needs – technology advances to improve processes, new computer applications are required to cope with increased demand. Recently, the RCB (Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland) had to address the reality that the majority of the desktop computers and servers in Church House, Dublin were getting old and much of the existing equipment could not utilise the most current technology or run new applications.

Having investigated the available options, the RCB undertook a comprehensive programme of upgrading its technological hardware during the course of 2013 and installed new (Windows 7) PCs and servers across Church House’s departments. However, while no longer fit for the RCB’s purpose and too old to be passed on directly to schools in Ireland, the redundant equipment was still functional. RCB IT Manager Michelle Carter said ‘We wanted to find a creative solution to put this kit to good use and buck the excesses of today’s “throwaway society”’.
Volunteers-in-Camara-workshop Church big

Camara is an international charity dedicated to using technology to improve education and livelihood skills in disadvantaged communities around the world and which takes in seemingly redundant IT equipment and turns it around for use in those communities. Founded seven years ago in Dublin, the organisation has built a model of ‘sustainable education delivery’. Its guiding principle is,

‘With better education we expect communities to break the cycle of poverty they find themselves in.’ Impressed with its work, the RCB approached Camara and donated its old stock to the organisation which was more than happy to receive it.

Once Camara received the equipment, hard–drives were fully erased (this was in addition to the data wipe carried out by IT staff in Church House). Camara installed Linux on some of the PCs (as they were not suitable for Windows 7), stripped out working components for use in other PCs, and then recycled what was left over. In all, the charity has taken delivery of 16 desktops, 17 monitors, two laptops, two printers and a scanner to date, while three servers and eight desktops will make their way to its headquarters in Chapelizod once they have been fully decommissioned.

Each computer reused by Camara will now be put into a low income school in Africa, Ireland or the Caribbean where they will enable children to develop digital literacy skills. Michelle sums up the initiative by saying, ‘We have been delighted to create a situation where in upgrading our in–house needs we have been able to create a positive outcome from one which might have seemed negative – we hope that through the good work of Camara what we no longer required will help to enhance the outcomes of a new generation of children as they prepare for life and work.’

 Credit: Reproduced with permission of Church of Ireland Press Office. See original article here.

To find out how to donate your computer to Camara, click here.