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University of Iowa News Release

April 27, 2006

UI WiderNet Project Needs Volunteers For April 29 Workday

Volunteers are needed this Saturday, April 29, at the University of Iowa WiderNet Project to help test and repair a mountain of computers, all donated by businesses and individuals from across Iowa, and to help prepare them for a shipment to Africa. The workday will be at 210 International Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No previous computer experience is necessary for volunteers to participate in the workday, said Sharon Benzoni, WiderNet Project volunteer coordinator. New volunteers will have the opportunity to learn the basics of computer hardware repair and troubleshooting.

"We'll sort and test computers, erase hard drives, bubble-wrap donations and eat pizza," Benzoni said.  "Volunteers can help out for a few hours or spend all day, if they wish."

Launched in 2000, the WiderNet Project, part of the UI School of Library and Information Science, is a UI service organization dedicated to improving digital communications and reducing information poverty in developing countries.

The WiderNet Project includes the eGranary Digital Library, which puts millions of documents instantly at the fingertips of scholars in developing countries without using an Internet connection. WiderNet also trains computer technicians and coaches decision-makers in African universities, provides cutting-edge research on information technology issues facing the developing world and donates computer equipment to partner universities.

For more information about the WiderNet Project Volunteer Workday, contact Sharon Benzoni at or 335-2200. For more information about the WiderNet Project, see and The WiderNet Project is sponsored by the University of Iowa and by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS : Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077,; Program: Sharon Benzoni or Mary Abboud, 319-335-2200, and