News and New Directions in TEAA Assistance
There are great results and promising developments in TEAA assistance to East African high schools. The most gratifying news is that a remarkable proportion of our members -- almost 70 in the past 12 months -- have contributed financially. That fact may well have influenced the outcome of our successful application to the All Is One Foundation.
The assistance itself has also been successful on the ground. The books and computers, new and used, the lab equipment and the scholarships have met specific needs and been much appreciated. We have independent representatives at all supported schools and communication has been been satisfactory -- sometimes very good -- with principals, reps and some enthusiastic teachers. Award frequency has averaged above one per month over the last 24 months.
The promising developments mentioned at the start are in the domain of computers, software and information in electronic form. First, we have begun to make large-scale computer purchases from the World Computer Exchange. The machines are used Pentium 2s and 3s donated in the US, shipped overseas by the hundreds and obtainable in pallets of 20. WCE delivers hardware in working order, without software. In Kenya, where we have made our first purchase, the ICT Trust Fund in Nairobi is donating software to us. Also, as many of you know, strong, reliable operating systems and office software are available free. We plan to make further purchases from upcoming shipments to Tanzania and Uganda.
An ongoing deliberation for us has been how to help schools gain access to the vast array of knowledge on the internet. Connections are expensive and slow in East Africa, so we were delighted to learn about the eGranary Digital Library, which provides millions of digital resources on a 250 gigabyte external hard drive for $350. A great many authors, publishers and institutions have authorized eGranary to use their works, including top universities, the Wikipedia and outstanding government sources, for example in health: WHO, the Virtual Hospital, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Software created for the project enables users to access these materials as if on the web, but affordably and fast.
Putting together all of the foregoing, you can begin to see that TEAA may have the potential to provide more substantial help than we have up to now, and at more schools. A project at a school might consist of a pallet of 20 computers, 3 eGranaries, software, and possibly cables, UPSes and a share of servicing and/or training costs. If things were to go perfectly, all this could be done for between $3,000 and $4,000 per school at quite a few schools. Part of the challenge will be to maintain the personal contact that has been a hallmark of our efforts, helps keep projects on track and seems to be making us an attractive partner for other organizations.