Two United Nations agencies have teamed up in a project to donate used computers to Brazil's poorest as part of the effort to help bridge the digital gulf between those connected to the Internet and those who did not even have access to a computer.
"This is a project which could be an example for other countries," said Henry Jackelen, the Deputy Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), about the initiative, which also involves the UN Volunteers (UNV). UNV is coordinating and managing the project in cooperation with the national Communidade Solidaria council and the Committee of the Democratization of IT (CDI).
"It is an investment in the future which doesn't need much money, but which will move inestimable values over the years, especially in terms of human capital," he added. Students will not only learn how to work with computers and access the Internet, but also how to retrieve timely and relevant information to promote development through communication.
To launch the project, UNDP has already committed to donating some 50 computers scheduled for replacement at its Brasilia office, part of the 200 used Internet capable computers from the projects under the agency's leadership in Brazil.
The computers and information technology (IT) equipment will be offered to the Committee, which runs "Schools for IT and Citizenship" throughout the country, as well as numerous projects in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, home to some of the most needy in terms of computer technology and Internet connections.
While the UN initiative starts in Brasilia, it is expected to draw on CDI's network to extend the project to 19 Brazilian states. "This is a chance to bring modern technology and development to many communities where we have been working, " said Mariza Soares, Project Director of Communidade Solidaria. "For young people this is an opportunity to get to learn our changing reality and future."