Africa Projects

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Upcoming Events / News

  • Oso's trip to South Africa slide show has finally made it online [1], check it out!

Training folks for Africa deployment

The SchoolNet Africa folks still want to see Free Geek trained people deployed in Africa to help out with the current programs they have going on. Free Geek is not very well equipped to deploy folks over seas, and the idea of setting up a recruitment/training program on top of everything else seems impossible given the resources available.

Proposal: The OSI funds eRiders - sort of a technology peace corps, that is international in participation and scope. Free Geek could host teams of eRiders for periods of 3-4 months. They would get training in Free Geek techniques and technologies, while helping us run the program on a daily basis. If this is worked out right - there will always be a few eRiders "on staff" for the forseeable future. The OSI would be responsible for recruiting folks that were both technologically cabable, and good, culturally sensitive, teacher types. OSI would pay their transportation, subsidize their housing and pay their salaries.

Talked about this concept briefly with Janet Haven (OSI) and she thinks the idea has promise.

Developing... Computers to Africa

There are some really good quality computers heading for recycling as the FreekBox spec goes ever higher. In this regard, has proposed a partnership with Free Geek to ship the below FreekBox spec equipment to Africa rather than the recycling pile. [2] has funding for getting Free Geek computers to Africa for refurbishing.

Costs to be covered by

  • Rent for storage space off-site.
  • Truck rental for transportation from Free Geek to storage.
  • Shipping container dropped of at storage facility.
  • Labor costs to prep computers and load container.

Free Geek Responsibities

  • Providing computers, and parts to build computers / less-disk classrooms.
  • Testing and storing parts.
  • Packing shipping container.

Next Steps

  • Estimate rate of computers available (how fast to fill 1 container, approx 400 computers).
  • Current specifications available, estimated rate of increase.
  • Estimate labor costs associated.
  • Research rental costs for storage facility, needs room to load shipping container.
  • Create budget/proposal for staff/council review.


Hilton Theunissen, of the Shuttleworth Foundation, who Oso met in October at the 1 million PCs for African Schools Conference has pitched a Free Geek idea to his board of dirctors and they are funding some preliminary work for getting things up and running. They are based in Capetown, but the idea is to make it replicable across Africa.

  • Free Geek Cape Town is looking to help fund 1 Free Geek staff person to help them get set-up and organized for a three month period (Mar-Jun) in 2005.

Note: Name Free Geek Cape Town is just what Oso calls it; no idea what Hilton wants to call the project.


Moshe Mafisa of HP South Africa and project team member of the HP iCommunity project in Mokopane, S.A. is proposing to start a Free Geek in Soweto S.A. He has starting building relationships with the office of the President of South Africa and hopes to get an abandoned school to use for the project.

Up Deaf Ghana

Ron Braithwaite has been in discussions with Up Deaf Ghana (sp?) to work with deaf folks in the Portland area to work on refurbishing computers for the deaf in Ghana. Cool. Ron will add more info. about this project when he gets a chance.


  • Kelly Caldwell knows some ASL and knows others who can also sign.