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What's a good charity that donates devices to 3rd world countries

I'm a student studying Graphic Design at Bowling Green State University and I have little knowledge about teardowns/repairs. We're trying to start a campaign that lets people donate their old devices (laptops/phones/tablets) to 3rd world countries. My questions are:

What's a good charity/service that donates to 3rd world countries?

Is donating used devices the best way to limit E-waste?

Any suggestions on a method of teaching people about repairs through used devices?

Thanks in advance!

Zachary N.

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This is a rather hard one to answer but I will do my best. Let me start first with answering your question on what would be the best way to teach 3rd world countries to repair the devices they would be getting. This is challenging for a couple different reasons but the main reason is because they don't have access to knowledge like you or I do. If we want to know something we generally can hop online and start researching.

That's not the case for them. Even people here in the states without internet can simply go to McDonald's or Starbucks and Bam free WiFi. That's not the case in 3rd world countries. So the best solution I can think of is a little bit more expensive but would work wonders! The answer would be to create or find guides right here on ifixit, and print them off. Then simply package them with the device being sent and users receiving your donation would get the device and a guide complete with how to maintain and repair the device. Your next challenge however would be, "how do they pay for or even go about buying replacement parts"? It might be easier to simply print off a return shipping label which would allow them to return the device to be fixed free of charge. However this can get VERY expensive as you will have to pay for shipping labels that may never be used or are even used for shipping other items besides the device. In addition you would then have to pay the repair price. Leaving you broke, so perhaps not the best idea unless you could partner with another company that already does repairs.

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Moving on I would like to answer your next question of, "Are there any companies that donate to third world countries?". I tried finding some charities that have a goal of donating devices. I cannot find any. More likely you will find companies that accept money and in return donate to different areas like medical research or food etc. They aren't worried about giving 3rd world countries a mac book pro or iPhone 7.

However some companies like Dell, HP, and other computer manufacturers have been known to release campaigns where they donate computers or other accessories based on their sales for that given campaign. If you are serious about your efforts it wouldn't hurt to contact Dell or another company and see if some kind of arrangement can be made in order to not only donate devices but maybe fix them up?

Getting Dell to partner on that would save loads of money and headaches! Think about it, you send the devices and dell repairs them. Im sure more details like money would need worked out but they are been very charitable in the past. Perhaps they will get on board??

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As for the E-Waste you answer is both yes and no. While repairing old devices and then donating them does stop them from getting thrown out at that time, eventually they will be abandoned, trashed, or just flat out resold. Until we can find materials that break down easier in the environment, donating old computers simply transfers where the e-waste lands. To solve e-waste we need to make our devices out of more earth friendly materials. HOWEVER your charity would help circumvent how much e-waste there is as at one time.

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@znelson great idea and I spoke with a friend of mine who deals with corporate social responsibility all the time. Him and I discussed this idea some time ago and I was told that this may not be the best way of doing things. Yes, it gives us the feeling of doing some good, but without the infrastructure to support the devices, they will became useless pretty quick. One of the issues would be things that we take for granted, like a reliable power grid. We sometimes forget that not all countries have this. As "Gabriel" stated internet access will be huge issue as well as the lack of knowledge on what to do with these devices.

I would suggest that you continue with your campaign but find a different benefactor. I'd consider something more local like a non-profit organization that teaches basic computer skills etc. You will quickly find out that even a rich developed nation like ours, has a lot of groups that are far less fortunate and would greatly benefit from a campaign like yours.

If you do want to speak with my friend, the CEO of IMPOWER Humanity, about pursuing campaigns of any kind in less developed countries, email me with your contact and I'll run it by him. My email address is on my about page. Just click on my avatar....;-)

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@oldturkey03 Thanks for you time! I would love to speak with him and you should be getting an email soon :)

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@znelson got it. I'll let him know tomorrow and get you in touch with him. Continue to pursue your noble campaign and always look for ways to make the world an even better place.

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Speaking of third world countries, how about the Appalachia area:

only 17 percent have a college degree and only around 40 percent have a high school

diploma -

Shipping would be cheaper too!

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experien...

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The idea of maintaining the device generally works if you have the equipment, experience and skill set to fix the device until it's been repaired to the point it's no longer worth repairing. The problem with this approach is really with tools and experience, so it doesn't work for everyone. In some cases, it doesn't make sense unless it's something you can do relatively cheap because the device in question is common enough it's cheaper to replace it, or the problem is bad enough to warrant a whole system.

In some cases, you have hardware that's so bad you won't want to bother. One such example of this is this A10 HP Pavilion 15 I just worked on for the first time. The design is terrible. To remove the hard drive and wireless card, the palmrest has to be removed. To get to the memory, the motherboard has to be removed. There are also no access panels on this thing, and the only easy access part is the DVD drive. Top all of that off with a crappy cooling system that relies on a easily clogged area (under the keyboard) and you have a non service friendly machine with crappy cooling that needs constant maintenance. What a joke of a laptop. If the person who I worked on it for gave it to me I wouldn't be opposed to it but would I recommend HP again after that? No.

A good example of a device I consider to be disposable is iPod docks. The 30-pin variety are everywhere, so you can probably find a working one for next to nothing if you look around. If the 30 pin breaks, it may make more sense to label it as such and use it with a Aux cable, assuming the dock has one. If not, it's probably going to be scrapped. I'm just going to replace my iA5 if I get tired of it's CR2032 consumption issue and replace it with a AA battery backup dock.

DIY device maintenance works for those of us who know how to repair the stuff and have the tools or are willing to learn, but it's not something most people can do. There has to be a better way for the average person.

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Zach H Nelson will be eternally grateful.