Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Three More Weeks To Sale Posted by Picasa

Call For Computer Advice

Those chickens in that picture are from a pilot project of poultry production for small-holders. Nathan reports: "Three more weeks to sell off the broilers." I'm very pleased.

If you read my last post, you might get feeling for how infuriating it might be for Nathan to correspond with me: First it's one idea and then another. Nathan works hard at his job, and over the years has devoted hundreds of hours in work for development in his community. I have pages and pages of proposals and other documents that he's written and compiled. All the while he's been consulting with me, and I blush to think of the number of wild goose chases I've sent him on. The point is that we're both just learning, and it's not been one success after another. I marvel at his patience.

Last spring Nathan met an American visiting in Iganga with whom he had corresponded with previously over the Internet. This gentleman had been a Peace Corps volunteer in the region years earlier and was ready to begin projects with A W.I.S.H. in Uganda. The fellow has sent a copy of QuickBooks accounting software and has been instructing Nathan in accounting and business planning. He also secured $500 to begin the pilot poutry project. With this the BSLA can show a proven track record of accountability. But, note that Nathan doesn't profit from this. A farmer was selected to get the chicks and raise them. Of course everyone is hoping for success.

Poultry production isn't easy. Modern poultry production in the USA is closely related to rural electrification and electric lights. Manipulating the length of light greatly increases egg production. Formulated feeds and vaccines are also important. Many small holders keep poultry without additional inputs, however mortality is very high, especially in the dry season. The Ugandan government has a program in place for farmers with larger flocks. The BSLA project seeks to assist smaller holders with inputs.

The shorter story is that Nathan is a tireless worker. He is also very interested in finding ways to make communications technolgies work for community development. That's why I was so eager to raise money for a computer. Along with my contribution we raised $770. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get a computer to Nathan. Some of you have offered advice, but I want to make a wider plea.

Nathan has priced equipment there in Uganda. It's almost twice the cost of comperable equipment here. So the suggestion has been to send him equipment from the USA. I know this is possible, but I've got some questions. Like how exactly?

Many people take computers as luggage to Uganda. I haven't heard of a problem with that. But if you go, for example, to the Apple Store and check their Terms and Conditions what's made plain is that nothing from the store may be exported to another country, and the fine print for other makers is simliar.

I'm not sure of all the reasons, but they have to do with all that fine print that we skim over and then click "I Agree" to. First from the manufacturer's stand point, they make legal commitments as to warranty. Software makers have those concerns and a bunch of others. There is some software, and you might be surprised that even some familiar home names, are restricted to export to some countries by the US Government. Uganda isn't on the black list, so far as I can tell. These are questions of export compliancy. In addition makers are keen to protect their established networks of sale. Dell, for example sells in many markets, but not in the African market, except through resellers in the UAE.

A species of advice I've received on this follows the line: "It's a gift, don't worry about the fine print." I've also heard the advice, "Don't even think of sending one." although they're worried about other things than the fine print.

Does anyone have any experience sending a computer to Uganda or other African countries? I'd love to hear your experience.

Over at My Heart's in Accra Ethan Z has a wonderful post about New Year's Celebrations and Yurts; actually a Ger. The post is a tremendously good example of a short "how-to" that actually conveys the important information. Even if you never thought you were interested in building a Ger, you'll enjoy the post.


pingting said...


after reading your post, i just decided to type into google:
how to send computers to africa. three down on the list was an organization called:

on this site are lists of organizations that put technology into the hands of africans.
every one of these organizations has an email contact. i'm sure that if you spent some time with this site +
making inquiries to people in these organizations, that you would discover a solution.

CTSis a company which specializes in sending
computers overeseas + looks like they handle everything including the confusing stuff: Freight, documentation assistance, customs clearance, etc... from their website: Whether it's meeting an impossible time frame, solving a problem or providing knowledge about import and export regulations, our goal is to help you make the most of your shipping needs.

sound good?


a link you may want in your blogsroll......

Grameen Foundation

pingting said...

if you click on those links above, looks like they will open up in this comment window.
you may have to copy + paste into a browser to view them properly.

Anonymous said...

I think you should deliver the computer to Nathan in person.