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Release: Dec. 16, 2002

UI WiderNet project asks for old computers

If one of this holiday season’s brightly wrapped packages turns out to be a new computer, consider donating your old computer to the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project to benefit our partner universities in Africa.

The WiderNet Project is a nonprofit university linkage project based at the UI that aims to improve digital communication for colleges and universities in Africa. This includes training computer technicians, coaching decision-makers of Nigerian universities, increasing bandwidth, establishing university intranets, donating computers and computer equipment and distributing educational materials on digital libraries.

The WiderNet Project is collecting used-but-functional computers, networking equipment and software for partner universities in Nigeria. They seek computers that are Pentium or better; 486 laptops are also welcome. Their Nigerian partners pay the shipping fees for the computers and equipment, and the computers wind up in student Internet cafes and academic departments.

"Some Nigerian universities have just a couple dozen PCs for thousands of students," said Cliff Missen, project director. "Even a slow Pentium PC is a giant step forward for students who would otherwise be typing their papers on a typewriter, or writing them by hand."

Anyone who has computers, software, or network equipment to donate, should call the WiderNet Project at (319) 335-2200 or send an email to Most donations are tax deductible through the University of Iowa Foundation. This is an ongoing project so computer donations are accepted at any time.

The WiderNet Project is part of University of Iowa International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree and academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.

The WiderNet Project is funded by the University of Iowa, the MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Nigerian National Universities Commission.

More information about the WiderNet Project can be found online For information on how to make donations, visit the Web site, or contact WiderNet at (319) 335-2200.