Nov 27th, 2017, 10:09 AM

Pass the Tech Is Bridging Kenya's Digital Divide

By Eileen Akbaraly
Image Credit: Shutterstock / rawpixel
Distributing donated laptops to students in Mombasa is helping transform their lives.

In the spring of 2016, an AUP graduate class came up with an innovative assignment in their Development Communications class. They gave donated computers to African students to promote sustainability and create a link with the AUP community. Through this initiative, "Pass the Tech" was born and continues every year.

The Pass the Tech project, based on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), is jointly undertaken with the Hatua Likoni and ACT non-profits in Mombasa, Kenya. A country of huge diversity, from its landscape to demographics, Kenya is one of the countries in the sub-region of Africa with the most inequalities. Some 42 percent of its 44 million people live below the poverty line. Access to basic services such as health care, education, clean water, and sanitation are considered a luxury for many people.

With the distribution of laptops, the lives of students in Mombasa are being transformed  through access, expression, and professional development. Both Hatua Likoni and ACT are NGO’s working to promote education and employment among young adults in Kenya. ACT’s main focus is the Environment and Natural Resources Management, while Hatua Likoni helps Likoni’s top students gain the skills, credentials, and networks they need to contribute to and benefit from Kenya’s growing economy.

The goal of Pass The Tech is to send 100 used and refurbished laptops to Mombasa each fall so the program’s students have laptops for their university studies. Through the help and funding of the AUP Civic Media Lab, two graduate students flew to Mombasa where they created a relationship and met with diverse non-governmental organizations interested in student exchange and future academic collaboration with AUP. They also brought the donated laptops to the students and established a relationship to increase cultural understanding and global awareness.

Photo Credit: Pass The Tech, Students at Hatua Likoni

Pass The Tech continues to collect laptops and does this through hosting monthly on-campus laptop drop-off sessions. Pass the Tech has also established a relationship with Kiron, a local NGO in Paris that assists refugees in attaining higher education through an online platform. This semester, Pass the Tech has continued its “tradition” of organizing events by reaching out to AUP alumni to collect computers to send to Mombasa students and to refugees who are starting a new life with very little.

Check out Pass The Tech’s short video here to get a better understanding of what they do and how you can help, and if you are able, please contribute by giving away one of your old computers to a student in Mombasa and or a refugee in need of a new beginning.

Kenya's Digital Divide: Empowering Mombasa's Youth