Camara (social enterprise)
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|Sub-Saharan Africa, Jamaica, Haiti, Ireland|
|Mission||To use technology to improve education and livelihood skills in disadvantaged communities around the world.|
Camara is a social enterprise that sends refurbished computers and provides digital literacy training to schools and other educational institutions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Lesotho, Tanzania, Jamaica, Haiti and Ireland. It was set up in 2005 in Dublin, Ireland and has since grown with offices in the UK and USA. Camara have shipped over 40,000 computers and provided training to 11,000 teachers in 2,000 schools. This has resulted in over 500,000 students from disadvantaged communities becoming digitally literate. Camara monitoring and evaluation research indicates that 21 students are made digitally literate per computer.
Camara takes in computers from individuals and businesses alike. Every computer donated to Camara is wiped seven times using DBAN in accordance with US Department of Defence standard 5220.22-M before being refurbished and loaded with a new operating system and educational software. The new operating system is generally Linux known as Camara Ubuntu 10.4 for Africa and Windows 7 for Ireland and the Caribbean. Computers are boxed and shipped to one of 10 Camara’s Education Hubs in East Africa, Caribbean and Ireland. The Education Hub then sells the computer to ‘approved’ schools at a heavily subsidised price. To gain approval, the school must have a well ventilated and secure computer room with appropriate surge protection. The Camara package to schools consists of:
- Computer and Educational software packages - Refurbished computers are loaded with educational software which includes OpenOffice.org, a Wikipedia encyclopaedia and Edubuntu
- Teacher Training - In Africa training programs cover basic computer literacy skills and maintenance. In more developed countries, courses cover Virtual Learning Environments and the pedagogy of ICT.
- Technical support - Provided by computer technicians working from the Hubs and built into sales contract signed by schools. Ranges from 6 to 36 months.
- End of Life - Computers are returned to the Hubs at end of useful life and replaced with a comparable machine. Obsolete equipment is recycled by an accredited recycling facility.
An important Camara's single donor is PwC, the company has donated over 2,500 computers. Noel Carroll, Director of IT for PwC said "As part of our Corporate Responsibility programme at PwC, we are delighted to continue our support of Camara’s work in improving education through technology in Ireland and Africa. It is very satisfying to know that the computers will be reused to benefit the education of children in disadvantaged schools."
Camara Education Limited is registered with the Revenue Commissioners (CHY 16922) in Ireland, Camara Learning Limited is registered with the Charities Commission (1135540) in England and Camara Education Inc is registered as a 501(c)3 Organisation in the US.
- in 2013 Camara Education received an ICT Excellence award for Best Use of Technology in Education or Training.
- In 2012 Camara Education received the Lord Mayor's Award, this honoured Camara for its special contribution to Dublin and its citizens.
- In 2012 Camara Education ranked 32nd at the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award that honours business growth, technological innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
- In 2012 Camara Rwanda, a Hub of Camara Education, received the 'Japanese Award for most Innovative Development Project' at the 12th annual Global Development Network conference in January 2011.
- In 2011 Camara Education reached the 15th place of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award.
- In 2011 Camara won the First Prize in Corporate Social Responsibility at the Irish Software Association Industry Awards.
- In 2010 Camara received the Arthur Guinness Fund award.
- In 2008 Cormac Lynch, Camara founder and group CEO, won the Social Category and Overall David Manley Award.
- In 2007 Camara volunteer Des McDonnell won the Vodafone’s World of Difference award.
- In 2006 Cormac Lynch won the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award.
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