There is a quote loose on everyone’s lips that “Education is the key to success”, but this is quite contrary for the underprivileged children in developing nations, especially in the African countries – many of whom have no access to a decent or any education at all. The same children end up stuck with the cruel fate of working blue-collar jobs under life-threatening conditions or worse, end up in the streets. A heartbreaking example is where some end up working in the mines of Africa to produce the resources, for example, cobalt, used in manufacturing the electronic devices such as phones and laptops that we use daily – only to dump them back in these emerging economies as electronic wastes. What if, we utilize this electronic device waste, regardless of their models and version, to offer technical education to millions of these children? Africa and other developing nations need the technology to educate: a mission of Goodwill Professional Development Network Foundation.
Why We Need to Reverse Electronic Waste
Electronic waste is a fast-growing waste stream as people tend to dump their old and outdated devices when new models arrive in the market. Every year companies manufacture several upgraded electronic devices utilizing new raw materials. The consumers buy these new or updated versions of electronic devices and the old ones end up in our drawers or worse, in landfills. In 2020, the Global E-waste Monitor in conjunction with the United Nations Environmental Program reported that an estimated 53.6 metric tons of electronic waste were generated globally in 2019. In the United States of America alone we generated 6.92 million metric tons of e-waste, and only 15% of the waste was recycled.
This global estimated value of this waste is expected to increase by 21%. These are billions of dollars gone to waste. Billions of US dollars ending up dumped in these developing countries like India, China, and Africa, especially Ghana – because our big electronic companies lack the resources to recycle these electronic devices to make newer versions. This waste contains hazardous compounds, for example, lithium, copper, and beryllium which pollute the environment and cycle back into the human population causing diseases mostly cancer. Until these electronic manufacturing companies find a solution to e-waste management, what can we the consumers do to help fix this electronic waste problem?
The Situation of Technical Education in Africa
Africa is referred to as the “world’s youngest continent” having approximately 60% of its population under the age of 25. The young population is often described as our “future leaders or the cream of the society.” The youth and children understand that the future of their countries lies with them, but they struggle with issues related to education and training, and even employability.
Access to a decent education in Africa is limited to the high and middle classes which constitute the least percentage of this population. Among the population with no access to education, the lucky ones defer to technical apprenticeship, with the rest being lost to the streets with the horrors that come with it. Even with technical knowledge (from apprenticeship), most of these individuals end up making less than a dollar a day. This is well within the poverty margin.
We need to prepare the young population well especially, the underprivileged children of Africa, not for a job waiting for them out there, but helping them to be creative and innovative through technical education. This way, they will be able to create employment opportunities amongst themselves and meet the developmental needs of their growing economies.
This is where Goodwill Professional Development Network Foundation falls in. Our mission is to provide access to I.T. Education as a means to eradicate and alleviate poverty among the orphans of third-world countries. We believe that instead of destroying these electronic devices we deem as electronic wastes, we use them to offer technical education to billions of children living in these third-world countries. We envision our organization to help Africa and to get the big companies to come and donate their equipment to us to educate our people. Africa needs technology to educate itself. We all have a role to play.
How Electronic Devices Will Improve the Quality of Education for Youths and Children
As the world is technologically advancing, third-world countries are lagging. They seem to be technically grappling with these technological changes due to the inaccessibility of adequate resources for technical education. Africa has shown great potential and is welcoming the idea of assimilating technical skills such as computing, I.T., programming, and software development in their schools.
We can use these electronic devices such as computers/laptops, computer components, smartphones, cell phones, camcorders, headsets, speakers – any electronics to address the technical aspects of education for African children. An education that guarantees employment by inculcating necessary technical skills in our children, from the basic level of education to the highest level, in the universities. And what better way to achieve this unless we educate the underprivileged children and youths. The orphans, street kids, and those without the means of getting a good education for themselves – the untapped knowledge of Africa.
The benefits of using electronic devices are huge. Their usefulness is noticed in our households, businesses, education, and the government. Two key things come to mind when using electronic devices to address the issue of technical education – acquisition of competency-based skills and having well-grounded scientific knowledge.
Developing these practical and applied skills will in the long term prepare the young generation for employment generation in the fast-growing economies and help them cope with the challenges of globalization.
Using electronic devices to educate children will promote better learning. The children will be focused and develop long-term interests in various fields from engineering, teaching, and even in the government. It will reduce the physical load of a student, for example, the number of books one can read daily. Electronic devices ensure design-based learning that boosts self-confidence and fosters good teacher-student conversations.
We have realized a vital requirement for technical education in third-world countries. There are already programs and non-profit organizations set in these third-world countries which are addressing issues developing nations are facing. But responding to poverty alleviations, lack of education and even youth employability needs more than just government intervention. We need these electronic devices to tackle the issue of technical education both in partnership with the existing in-country organizations and the donor community.
Providing these devices to the underprivileged children and youths in Africa and allowing them to learn, will help them realize their full potential – which will bring about poverty eradication and sustainable economies. So, donate now, to help those children realize their dreams.