Access to Technology Is Not a Luxury, but a Necessity

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Access to technology is something that is so ever-present in today’s western world, that we often take it for granted. While I remember the first families on my street to get a home computer, my sons can’t remember a time when they couldn’t get online, first through laptops, then phones, and now an endless number of connected devices. They have had the benefit of using technology not only for entertainment and social networking, but to further their education and develop critical digital skills for their futures. But that’s not the case everywhere in the world.

several students sitting a Dell computers

I truly believe that access to technology is not a luxury, but a necessity and is at the centre of human progress. And this is exactly what Dell’s Youth Learning program is designed to do – give underserved youth better access to technology, and therefore opportunities, by providing grant funding, volunteers and Dell products and solutions. Part of our wider 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, this program has a goal to help 4 million youth directly and support 12 million people indirectly by the year 2020. And last year, we also committed to donating over $14 million dollars globally to Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing (STEM) education for underserved children.

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa and Ethiopia where I got to see first-hand the life-changing impact this program can have on young people and the communities they live in. Visiting one of our newest solar-powered Dell Learning Labs in Diepsloot, it was incredible to see how a humble shipping container could be transformed into an invaluable community technology resource using solar panels to power ten of our Wyse thin client workstations (that have the benefit of using only four percent of the energy required for traditional PCs) all of which are managed by one of our PowerEdge air cooled servers.

I then went on to Addis Ababa where I joined Camara Education and the Ethiopian Ministry for Education along with more than 1,000 students and teachers from Shimelis Habte Secondary School at the opening of our newest computer technology lab.

Aongus Hegarty on stage at CAMARA Education conference 2018

This computer lab is part of a much larger, $12 million dollar innovative project in partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry for Education, supported by Dell and Camara Education which will deliver over 30,000 PCs to more than 1,250 schools, benefiting 1.2 million students between 2016 and 2019. Uniquely, the Ethiopian government is investing over $9 million in the project to ensure its success, which is achieved through schools leveraging local government allocated budgets as well as parent and community contributions.

The program seeks to incentivize and motivate students to focus on their learning through to further education to build successful employment opportunities and careers in STEM fields. This year, as part of the partnership with Camara Education, Dell donated a grant of $650,000 USD, benefiting more than 400,000 youth and over 3,000 educators in 422 locations.

I was incredibly honored to have the opportunity to see both of these incredible projects in person and meet the inspiring young people who have benefitted from them. One of the best parts of my trip was meeting was meeting Haregeweine Ababu in Addis Ababa who had such a great story. Thanks to her experience with Camara Education she is now pursuing a career as a software engineer.

For more information on Dell’s 2020 Legacy of Good plan visit:

About the Author: Aongus Hegarty

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