The trouble we faced when giving the computers away at no cost was that a number of the schools were not aware of how to get the most out of the equipment. Due to lack of IT training available for teachers, and little accessible educational software, the computers were not being used to their full capability.
ITSA recognised this problem and made the decision to begin charging schools a minimal cost for the computers. This cost recovery strategy allowed ITSA to be able to provide needed support on how to get the most out of the technology.
10 years have passed since ITSA put in place the cost recovery strategy and it is clear what a difference it has made, not only to the students using the computers but to the teachers and wider communities. The schools now see their computers as valuable assets and utilise them as much as they can - with many offering extra classes out of school hours for people in the local community.
ITSA has 3 technical centres in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They employ local people to provide schools with ongoing support when they buy computers and laptops. The technical centres provide teacher training to ensure a good and up to date understanding of technology is passed on to students.
The strategy ITSA implemented back in 2006 has made it possible for the charity to grow and has helped more schools have access to affordable computers. The technical centres continue to thrive and we hope that in the next 10 years we will be working with more programmes right across Africa.