Penn Team Bridges the Digital Divide in Cameroon

Penn Team Bridges the Digital Divide in Cameroon

Jan. 30, 2007

PHILADELPHIA -- Some students in Cameroon now have computers thanks to a University of Pennsylvania engineering service organization.  A six member team of students, faculty and alumni of CommuniTech spent two and a half weeks during the winter break in Cameroon to establish computer labs.

Computers were installed in a nursery school, two secondary schools, a high school and two colleges.  The group also distributed computers to non-governmental organizations, including The Presbyterian Teachers Training College in Mbengwi.  

"Some of these people have never seen a computer before, "Brian Quimby, CommuniTech president and Penn junior, said.

The Penn students also taught and organized future basic computer literacy courses.  CommuniTech is continuing to stay in touch with the Cameroon lab managers to help them handle any problems .

CommuniTech collects old computers from Penn and Philadelphia-area corporations, refurbishes them and donates the computers to schools and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world.

This is the second time CommuniTech has installed computers in Cameroon.  Eighteen months ago, the group created a computer lab at the Community Technology Center in Mbengwi.  When they visited the center again earlier this month, they found that the lab has been heavily used.  

"It really warms your heart that you've made such an impact," Steve Hershman, a Penn junior, said.  "It makes you wonder how many people these new machines will help."

CommuniTech members John Awahmukalah, Jenny Jinor and Godlove Fonjweng also worked on the Cameroon project.