Digital Bridge Receives $32,500 Grant to Close Technology Gap


We're very excited to share that Digital Bridge received a Charter Communications Spectrum Digital Education grant to help us bridge the digital divide for underrepresented households in our community.

Digital Bridge will use the $32,500 grant to connect under-served households in Milwaukee with digital resources like computers and wireless internet through a workshop series called the Milwaukee Digital Inclusion program. Stay tuned for more information on the workshop series soon!

Read more about it here!

Digital Bridge attends AFTRR 2018 National Meeting

Digital Bridge’s main goal is to refurbish used technology and distribute it at little to no cost to eligible individuals and nonprofits. One hurdle to accomplishing this goal is a lack of awareness among these populations—those eligible to receive the technology that Digital Bridge offers must be aware of how to access it.

That’s why Digital Bridge is a member organization of the Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse (AFTRR), a growing national alliance of nonprofit technology refurbishers. AFTRR’s mission is to “support the non-profit refurbishing and reuse community to provide low-cost or free technology to those in need.”

Jeff Hanson, Executive Director of Digital Bridge, recently traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, to attend the 2018 AFTRR National Meeting, hosted by Google Pittsburgh. This was AFTRR’s second annual event, and representatives from member organizations traveled from all around the nation to attend. For two days, Jeff and other AFTRR members discussed and learned more about working towards establishing a common national voice, increasing the availability of low-cost and no-cost technology to populations in need, and assisting one another in promoting awareness of their contributions to these populations.

A goal of the annual AFTRR National Meeting is to simply get all AFTRR members in the same room together to share strategies, common goals, and accomplishments.
A goal of the annual AFTRR National Meeting is to simply get all AFTRR members in the same room together to share strategies, common goals, and accomplishments.

“It was great to actually get to see and talk with other AFTRR members face-to-face,” says Jeff. “Everyone was very open to share their ideas. I left much more energized about the future.”

Jeff adds, “It was cool to see how far Digital Bridge has come since last year’s meeting. We didn’t have any full-time employees at that time, and now we have four! And we can mainly attribute that growth to our attendance at the conference last year. The connections I made and the resources I got access to thanks to AFTRR were invaluable to growing Digital Bridge.”

Jeff looks forward to attending the meeting next year to see how much more Digital Bridge has grown and to further discuss strategies for working towards the shared goals of Digital Bridge and AFTRR.

"I'm a senior citizen that codes." – 3 things we learned from Alicia Carr's talk about technology and inclusion

Happy Digital Inclusion Week!

This blog post is part of a series from Digital Bridge for Digital Inclusion Week. Member organizations of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), including Digital Bridge, are celebrating Digital Inclusion Week all over the nation from May 7-11! NDIA represents more than 300 affiliated organizations in 38 states that work toward digital equity.

This evening, Digital Bridge attended Alicia Carr's talk, "Coded for Greatness", in which she discussed her journey of becoming a developer and using her experience and skills to help victims of domestic violence. Alicia was a 51-year-old grandmother when she decided to teach herself Objective C and create PEVO, a mobile app dedicated to helping victims escape abuse.

Here are 3 things we learned from Alicia about the world of technology and inclusion.

1) Find alternative routes for accomplishing your goals.

"I don't need a college degree to be a coder," said Alicia. Although she has worked in the tech field most of her life, Alicia revealed that she never obtained a college degree. Instead, she was able to find free and cheap resources online, such as a 90-day coding camp, to help her learn new coding languages like Objective C and Swift in order to build PEVO. To solidify her point, Alicia spotted an aspiring 16-year-old coder in the audience, and she suggested that the teen learn how to code first using accessible online services, then use her self-taught skills to find a job that pays for her college degree.

Alicia's point shines a bright spotlight on the efforts of NDIA and Digital Bridge to promote Digital Inclusion. NDIA describes Digital Inclusion as "the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities...have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)." This includes "applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration" [1], just like the online resources that were invaluable to Alicia while she was teaching herself new programming languages.

Alicia is ecstatic about her PEVO app. She had to code PEVO with not only the user, the abuse victim, in mind, but also the abuser. The app disguises itself as a calculator when it is opened to hide its purpose from anyone but the abuse victim.

Alicia is ecstatic about her PEVO app. She had to code PEVO with not only the user, the abuse victim, in mind, but also the abuser. The app disguises itself as a calculator when it is opened to hide its purpose from anyone but the abuse victim.

2) Learn to push past impostor syndrome.

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy defines it as "the deep and sometimes paralyzing belief that we have been given something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve and that at some point we’ll be exposed. " [2] In her talk, Alicia discussed her struggle with impostor syndrome, describing that she often felt like "nothing special" in her line of work, especially being a senior black woman in the tech field. She encouraged anyone in the audience to push themselves to get past that innate feeling of being an impostor and accomplish their goals, even if people in their respective fields don't think or look the same way they do.

3) Build a community of support around you.

Alicia stressed during her talk the fact that she couldn't have built PEVO and published it on iTunes without the support of others. She describes receiving encouragement from everyone from her husband, kids, and girlfriends, to community support groups she joined such as Women Who Code, to representatives she met along the way from Apple and Github who helped her refine the app. Alicia suggests to anyone hoping to pursue a passion to engage and surround themselves with people who are not only interested in what they're trying to accomplish, but who are also interested in putting in the time and effort to help them accomplish it.

Cynthia Smith, a Senior Engineer from Northwestern Mutual, and Tarik Moody, a DJ from 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, discuss Alicia's work with her. Alicia has jokes, making Cynthia, Tarik, and the audience frequently break out in laughter with her.

Cynthia Smith, a Senior Engineer from Northwestern Mutual, and Tarik Moody, a DJ from 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, discuss Alicia's work with her. Alicia has jokes, making Cynthia, Tarik, and the audience frequently break out in laughter with her.

Kenya Partners Nakuru Computer Lab

Digital Bridge had the privilege over the summer of working with Kenya Partners, an independent charitable organization based in Nakuru, Kenya, to bring a lab of 33 computers to Kenya Partners' secondary school. We are happy to announce that the computer lab is now completely set up and functional!


We prepared the computers and power bricks and mailed them to Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City, UT. Members of the church prepping to travel to Nakuru to assist Kenya Partners packed the computers up and took them along. Upon the group's arrival, members of Kenya Partners removed the older desktop computers from the secondary school lab and replaced them with our laptops. The desktops were used to set up a new computer lab for primary school students. Now both schools have their own labs to use!

Diane from Kenya Partners had this to say about the labs:

"The primary students are so excited about having [a] computer lab - all classes, beginning with class 1, are having lessons in the computer lab each week. They talk about it to their parents and it is a great marketing tool.

The secondary students really like having laptops to learn on. The seniors (we call them form 4's) have just taken a "mock" national exam.... All form 1's and 2's (9th and 10th graders) take computer classes - then the 11th graders have the opportunity to go on with it for the last 2 years by selecting it as one of their optional subjects to study and be tested on. Our secondary computer teacher Clarice was selected last year by the government to help train other teachers in the country as computer studies is being brought in to the public schools."

Kenya Partners is "dedicated to combating extreme poverty through sustainable educational opportunities and access to comprehensive healthcare." Through this project and the new partnership we've formed with Kenya Partners, Digital Bridge is pleased to support their mission as well as our own.

Education, Information Communication Technologies and Prosperity

Credit to Tyler Nickerson: Writer, Interviewer; for his participation in the project and this article. Check out his stuff here.

In much of the developed world, tech-intensive pedagogy and one-to-one policies, where every student is given his or her own laptop or tablet, are all the rage. A growing number of western students are exposed to computers, the internet and now smart phones before entering primary school, creating a generation of digital natives and tech-literate aspirants more in tune with itunes than the analog world.

But for the majority of the world’s students and education professionals, digital technologies are a coveted rarity. The implications of this divide - between those in an education system with readily available technology resources and those without - may not be fully understood until this generation enters the workforce, but an examination of disparities can help us grasp the implications of the intersection between technology and education.

While there is great variety within the developing world, a common denominator threatening growth prospects for many countries is a gap in technical skills. Without a workforce that understands computer networks, the skill set to build quality highways and dams, or ability to keep power plants up and running, other industries stand little chance for success. Quality infrastructure, and the technical expertise required to build it and make it run, is an indispensable pillar upon which economies lie.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, this well-documented infrastructure gap is a problem of physical capital and human capital. The good news is that rapidly improving conditions in private capital markets, foreign investors (notably China), and domestic spending are now helping to bridge the spending gap. (The Loan Market Association reported that syndicated loans to fund infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa has risen from $11.2 billion in 2011, to $19.6 billion in October 2013. While still well short of the estimated $50 billion needed to fill the gap, the numbers indicate that lenders are becoming increasingly confident in the competency of African governments and growth prospects - factors that have historically scared investors away.) But when it comes to a professionalized workforce capable of maintaining infrastructure capacity, there is a well documented shortage. 


-There remains a skills gap in developing countries threatening growth prospects.

-Quality STEM education is seen as a way to train and professionalize the native workforce, supplying institutions and the economy with a technologically savvy workforce.

-Institutions, especially postsecondary but also lower grade levels, struggle in training and graduating qualified professionals. Lack of physical capital (i.e. hardware and software), but also quality teaching staff, is to blame.

-“Brain Drain”, while still a problem, is not becoming less of an issue as diaspora - often educated professionals - return home.

-Access to quality ICTs (including computers and the internet) in schools at all levels is still extremely rare.

Walking the streets of many African urban centers you will find a surprising amount of people fixing hand-me-down computers and mechanics tinkering with cars and other machinery - some of which have formal training and some of which have taught themselves. You will also find countless “computer institutes” that have popped up in recent years. While some, like Paul’s Computer Institute in Bamenda, Cameroon, are well funded, staffed with competent faculty and churn out professionalized students ready for the workforce, many suffer from a lack of credibility and resources. Still, the amount of signs with the word “computer” is telling if for no other reason than people see technology as important. (Or simply new and “cool.”)

In the past few years, traditional Universities have also begun offering computer science as a major and, cognizant of the demand, implementing an increasingly tech intensive pedagogy. The difference between offering the program and actually teaching skills, however, is an important one. Ryan Yoder, the Executive Director at Cameroon's ActivSpaces, a tech-hub for African techno-entrepreneurs, cites people not having the proper skill set to have success starting or contributing to technology ventures.

"The honest truth is that a lot of the Universities here are not the best," said Yoder. "A lot of the students can get their degree in computer science without ever writing code. So for a student to be successful, they have to really work hard and teach themselves how to code, because they are not going to learn at the University."

The gap between supply and demand for qualified engineers, network managers, and other technical experts remains formidable and insufficiently addressed in many developing countries. Beyond poor teaching, a major challenge historically has been professional class migration to richer countries. There are tens of millions of African diaspora spread around the world, many of them educated professionals with African or Western degrees that moved away from the continent in pursuit of higher wages and living standards. However, the "brain drain" trend, as many have pointed out, is being slowly plugged as wages and growth prospects rise throughout the developing world.

There is also still a problem with lack of access to the hardware needed to have a this crucial workforce. Take the example of a convenience store worker in rural Cameroon who said he plans to go back to University where he studied civil engineering. While he could access the internet through a smartphone, he is “not quite used to the laptop.” To be a quality civil engineer in today’s world, even in a developing country, understanding how to use a computer and the necessary software applications is a must.

Additionally, there is growing recognition that beyond the obvious tech-intensive careers, people entering more general formal sector professional settings also need basic information and communication technology skills. As previously analog businesses, informal and formal, are beginning to understand that ICTs can make work more efficient and thereby increase profits, tech literate employees are a must. Time and time again, people point out that job prospects are bleak for anyone who can’t use a computer.

To have a tech literate population, many stress the importance of exposing students to technology at a younger age - in primary and secondary schools. There is a distinction between teaching computer science and other high-level tech skills, and simply using computer technology as a facilitator of teaching traditional topics. But, of course, there is little hope of accomplishing either without sufficient physical capital - computers, software and reliable internet access - or human capital - the people with the expertise to teach skills and maintain the physical capital.

At all levels of education in Cameroon and many places like it, both are lacking.

Exposure to information and communication technology means more than just learning skills that can be applied to a job or school. Access to the internet and its nearly infinite supply of information, for example, can be a truly transformative experience, allowing students to explore the world and discover themselves.

Groups like Digital Bridge, and - the last two supported by major global players Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates - recognize the problem and the potential, and are doing good work to bridge the digital divide in developing countries. But, it is increasingly clear that domestic governments and institutions need to take the lead.

ICT Enabled Prosperity

When technology does get into the hands of young, talented and ambitious students, the results speak for themselves.

Elizabeth, an orphan from Douala who made her way to Saint Joseph’s Comprehensive High School in Mambu, Bafut, Cameroon, was embraced by the Tertiary Sisters there - who sponsored her schooling - and given a laptop two years ago. Today, she is a top student finishing up a nursing degree from a University in nearby Bamenda. She credits much of her preparedness and success at the next level of education and future success as a nurse to her laptop and the skills she has learned on it.

Desmond Ndi, who runs the computer labs at St. Joseph’s (it should be reiterated that St. Joseph’s is a private school whose computer lab was donated, and very few schools in the area have computers), is a graduate of Paul’s Computer Institute. At St. Joseph’s, he uses his knowledge of hardware and software to keep the lab running well and passes on his expertise to the over 400 eager students who use the lab. There is little doubt that without Desmond and other teachers at St. Joseph’s, like his boss Jeffrey Njeta, the lab would fall into disarray and irrelevance, preventing hundreds of students from benefitting from the technology and the country benefitting from the increased human capital.  

Fua Tse, a graduate of the highly regarded University of Buea in Cameroon, is applying the skills he learned in school, where he was a mathematics major and Computer Science minor (they did not offer Computer Science as a major when he was in school, just a few years ago), to develop software applications for schools in the developing world, among other projects. His Acedemia software, which provides a streamlined, efficient way to keep academic records, do accounting and collect other data, is being used in primary and secondary schools throughout the country. His story is an example of how ICTs can directly impact communities, enable entrepreneurship and inclusive economic growth. It is one example of what the end goal of technology education should be.

Fua is part of a small but growing group of entrepreneurs in Africa who recognize the potential of digital technologies in developing countries. Their market-based, home-grown approach combines a savvy understanding of what it takes to develop successful, sophisticated products that can compete with Western technologies, and a deep understanding of the local problems that need solving. He and his peers at the ActivSpaces incubator in Buea offer refreshing evidence of growing inclusivity and potential in a country whose economy has traditionally been under the control of a small group of elites usually working in or closely with the government. Now, barring their success and careful not to ignore the challenges they face, there appears to be an opening for upward mobility and economic incentive - both essential for healthy, sustainable, inclusive growth.

Without exposure to ICTs in school, Elizabeth, Desmond and Fua would be in a very different place today. Combining talent, ambition, access to ICTs and quality instruction appears to be a disruptive equation.

If common denominators in prosperous countries are an institutional capacity that can support inclusive economies, the ability to build and maintain infrastructure, incentivising work and entrepreneurship, and encouraging investment, putting the power of ICTs into the hands of people may be one of the most worthwhile things that can be done. And there is no better place to expose people to and teach technology than schools. Elizabeth, Desmond and Fua are just a few of the characters who have experienced empowerment, responded to incentive and are poised to lead the coming generation towards a more prosperous future.

Elizabeth's is success enabled by access to technology. Desmond’s is success dependent on the existence of technology. Fua’s is using technology to generate personal wealth, create jobs and have a positive impact on other industries. However we chose to define ICT in a development context, it must reflect multidimensionality and omnipresence; fundamentally altering old industries and creating completely new ones.

Jeff and Kiefer on Front Page of Janesville Gazette


Men bridge digital divide, reduce electronic waste

By Anna Marie Lux

MILWAUKEE--Jeff Hanson could be working as an engineer.

Kiefer Stenseng could be attending graduate school in Norway.

Instead, the 2008 Janesville Craig High School graduates are committed to bridging the digital divide.

Five years ago, Hanson co-founded Project: Community Computers as a student group while attending the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The idea behind the project was to bring technology to people in need while reducing electronic waste.

Since then, the group has set up more than 20 computer labs with used equipment across three continents. Hanson currently is setting up a lab with about 35 donated computers at Njala University in Sierra Leone. Helping him are students from Lawrence University and MSOE.

The effort also provides technical service and computer lab donations to nonprofit groups close to home. In Milwaukee, the project has provided tools for people to find work in the inner city and supplied computers to students who cannot afford them.

Hanson also set up two used computers with a printer at a men's shelter in Janesville so people can work on resumes and gain online skills.

The young entrepreneurs eagerly pour energy and effort into the project, but they need money. By Dec. 31, they hope to raise $100,000 in donations to turn the start-up organization into a full-fledged nonprofit agency.

“The campaign has to succeed for us to keep going,” Hanson said. “It's impossible to say how many people we have impacted so far. If we raise the funds, we can do so much more.”

As a college freshman, Hanson made the first of three trips to Africa to help set up a computer lab in Kenya. Before coming home, he witnessed the positive impact technology had on people who previously had no computer access.

Hanson recently graduated with degrees in computer engineering and electrical engineering. Instead of looking for a job, he is working hard to keep the computer project alive.

“It's impossible to stop now,” Hanson said. “I see a lot of potential in it. There are so many people out there who don't have access to technology. At the same time, all these groups are constantly getting rid of tons of perfectly good computers.”

He teamed up with Stenseng, a recent UW-Madison graduate who has a passion for social welfare. Today, Hanson is director of operations and Stenseng is the agency's creative director.

“People don't understand how big a deal the computers are until you see how they impact lives,” Stenseng said. “It's the coolest thing in the world to be involved in this project.”

Both know that what they are doing is not a new idea. But they hope to be the ones who do it best.

“Our goal is to turn one person's trash into another's treasure,” Hanson said.

They cite telling statistics that support their effort: Of the more than 7 billion people on the planet, only about 2 billion have access to the Internet. In the United States alone, roughly 30 million people do not have access to computers. At the same time, companies, schools, businesses and citizens are throwing away tons of electronics annually because they are considered outdated.

Hanson installs the used computers with an operating system called Ubuntu, which was created for the purpose of free distribution.

“The project wouldn't be possible without the software, which is stable and secure,” he said.

On their website, the men explain that many people use computers and the Internet for education, to find work and to connect with friends and family.

When you think about all the ways that technology improves our lives, it is easy to see how a digital divide exists between the haves and the have-nots, they said.

The divide is not limited to the developing world. In fact, they explain that the divide is larger for those within developed communities without computer access than for those in developing countries without computer access.

“We're middle-class guys who can change the lives of so many people,” Stenseng said. “We just have to do it.”

Anna Marie Lux is a columnist for The Gazette. Her columns run Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call her with ideas or comments at (608) 755-8264, or email


- See more at:

Sierra Leone

On Saturday, November 23rd, Project: Community Computers and students from Lawrence University and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) departed for Njala University in Sierra Leone. While there they will be setting up a computer lab for the 6,000 students and doing research on the impact technology can have in communities.

This is why Project:CC needs your help. We are still seeking funding and in order to continue bridging the digital divide in Milwaukee and around the world we need anything that you are able to give. Please visit our Indiegogo campaign where you can donate and then share our mission. Every cent you give makes a tremendous difference and it all goes back to communities in need.


Project:CC featured on Ubuntu Community Manager's Blog

Project:CC's indiegogo campaign featured on Jono Bacon's blog:

Project Community Computers


Free Software is not just software or a philosophical attitude to freely available software. Free Software is a catalyst for change in a constantly evolving world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Unfortunately while many of us are getting faster and faster computers on our desktops and in our pockets, for many the digital divide is ever wide as it has always been.

I have always had a soft spot for those organizations who selflessly bring Free Software to those for whom technology is a missing link in their lives. I spent two years doing this with OpenAdvantage before I joined Canonical, bringing technology to a region where many manual labourers were out of work and needing access to technology and training to upskill and get new jobs to support their families. Likewise groups like A2RT, FreeGeek, Partimus and more doing similar great work.

When I was speaking at Ohio Linux Fest earlier this year I met the Project Community Computers. Emma from System76 told me they wanted to talk to me about their project (they use Ubuntu extensively across their projects) so I had a meeting with them. The project essentially takes Ubuntu and puts it on recycled computers and they have set up over 20 educational labs around the world.

All out of their own pocket. All on their own time.

I was blown away by their accomplishments.

The guys are smart, selfless, motivated, and harnessing the truest power of Free Software…to break down the digital divide. They are not just talking a big game…they are playing a big game with so many accomplishments so far. It is projects like this why I got involved in Free Software and Ubuntu in the first place.

The team were looking for opportunities for funding their continued work and I suggested they crowd-fund it, an idea that they had already thought about, so I am delighted to see they have kicked their campaign off at

See their campaign video below:

Project: Community Computers Indiegogo Campaign Launch Video from Project: Community Computers on Vimeo.

Please go and invest in this tremendous team and project; I have no doubt that every penny will be put to good use.



On Friday, November 1st, 2013, Project: Community Computers launched a campaign on in order to raise funds to help our organization become a full-time organization geared towards distributing used technology to non-profits in Milwaukee and around the world.

We've already had a huge impact on a lot of different people here in Milwaukee and across the globe. We want to continue changing lives and reducing e-waste, but in order for Project:CC to continue as an organization, we need funding and that's why we're reaching out to our local and international community.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 to cover all of our administrative and operational costs. We have a handful of awesome perks to express our gratitude for your contribution to our mission. Even if you can’t contribute financially, simply sharing our project with your friends can have an outstanding impact on our success.

The campaign can be found here:


Project: Community Computers

Project: CC and System76 Featured on ILU

Project: Community Computers was thrilled to be featured on with our friend System76

4-year-old computers installed with Ubuntu and sent by System76 to Project: Community Computers

Ubuntu is a vivid ecosystem where humanity is located at the very heart of the Ubuntu universe, overall caring-for-others attribute traversing users, developers and companies.

System76 is an experienced company rooted into selling computers powered by Ubuntu, offering laptops, netbooks, servers and desktops to users seeking both powerful and lightweight machines equipped with the latest versions of Ubuntu.

It seems that, along with selling computers, System76 is involved in reducing the gap between developed and undeveloped countries/regions/individuals (from an economic point of view) by offering computers powered by Ubuntu to in-development persons, and, therefore, increasing their ability to experience a more proper IT life and to benefit related effects (increased knowledge, Internet, communication across the world, etc).

System76 has shared on its official Google+ webpage several images with computers older than 4 years that have received an Ubuntu installation and have been sent to the Community Computers project, interesting project specialized in a wide range of activities, including improving education in Kenya, providing information and guidance to persons seeking employment in the city of Milwaukee, essentially, having an activity spanning three continents.

While 4 years may seem a long distance, the 4-year-old computers are sufficient and usable for multiple activities, including web browsing, media playing, reading books, editing images, computers that, bundled with Ubuntu, have been moved from a zero-activity stage to potentially empowering persons in improving their IT lives.

Jeff Talks P:CC with Xubuntu

Check out Jeff's interview with the team at Xubuntu, featured on  

Xubuntu at Project: Community Computers in Milwaukee

Clomid online cheap Lasix Jeff Hanson of Project: Community Computers recently contacted the Xubuntu developers to introduce the work his organization is doing and ask about how best to give feedback. We took this opportunity to launch our“Xubuntu at…” series of interviews by asking him more about the organization!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and Project: Community Computers.

Mission Statement: “Project: Community Computers reduces e-waste and bridges the digital divide by reusing and recycling computers and bringing technology access to those in need.”

We started as a student group at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2009. Our mission is to kill two birds with one stone. Millions of tons of working computer hardware are thrown away every year, and billions of people around the world are with extremely limited access to technology. If you think about all that having a computer and Internet access opens up for you in the 21st Century, you’d have to wonder how people without it ever compete. No doing your homework when you go home from school. No using it to search and apply for jobs. No using it the unlimited resources to expand your knowledge and skill sets. We aim to give people a critical tool to break the cycle of poverty.

This isn’t even a developing world problem, there are almost 30 million people in the United States alone that don’t have a computer at home. We aim to redirect computers from the landfill to people that use them around the world. We’ve set up public computer labs at schools, community centers, and churches in Kenya, Cameroon, Mexico, and China, just to name a few places, in addition to our growing body of work in inner city Milwaukee.

After being a student group for so many years, we’re currently working on turning Project:CC into an independent 501c(3) to expand and sustain our mission.

Read more about Project: Community Computers

What influenced your decision to use Open Source software in your organization?

There are both practical and ideological reasons for using open source software. Putting open source software on donated hardware allows us to give technology access to the people that need it for free. All we have to add are tech skills and time. Furthermore, what the open source movement is trying to do with software is the exact same idea as what we are trying to do with technology access: Democratization, equal access, and equal opportunity.

What made you select Xubuntu for your deployments?

It’s no secret that Ubuntu is one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions, if not operating systems, around, so using Ubuntu was a no-brainer for us, especially since many of our users have had very limited access to and experience with computers. This is not even to speak of stability and security inherent with Linux.

Since we use a lot of donated, older hardware, Xubuntu’s lightweight Xfce environment makes it so even 10 year old hardware runs smoothly. Occasionally, we’ll get some hardware so old that even Xubuntu won’t run and we have to recycle it, but Xubuntu allows us to get more donated hardware into the hands of people who need it.

Can you tell us a bit about your Xubuntu setup?

We start with the current Xubuntu LTS, and then we add all four Edubuntu packs from the software center. So you have all the educational content of Edubuntu with the lightweight stable interface of Xubuntu.

Recently we decided to add LibreOffice and remove Abiword and Gnumeric. I really enjoyed the simplicity of these two programs, however they were lacking some compatibility and the switch really came when we needed a presentation program and decided we should just move all productivity software to Libre to keep things as easy for our users as possible.

A few other programs are added as well such as Celestia, Xaos, Skype, Dropbox, and we continue to keep an eye out for good programs.

The rest is just little settings, like having the system autologin (so users in the lab don’t ever need a password unless changing settings.), frequency of getting updates, sending feedback, power settings, etc.

We do the whole install on something small like an 8gig flash drive and create the image off of this. Then we can throw the image on any usb drive or hard drive 8 gigs or more.

Imaging becomes overly simple by using Ubuntu because there really are no proprietary drivers. We have one image. The image can be put on any type of hard drive and into any computer and it will boot the same. (Just another example of how Ubuntu allows our project to work so effectively )

For us to image a drive it takes between 7 and 10 minutes depending on the connection. This means if we have a laptop donated for example, and say windows wasn’t booting properly, or it had a virus, it’s a matter of removing the hard drive, waiting 10 minutes for it to image, putting it back in and booting it up!

We use USB to Hard Drive adapters so we can image from a laptop to any type of drive. Many times around Milwaukee, we’ll be setting up a lab and they might already have computers that are just running slowly, so we’ll show up with a laptop and image the computers on site to save everyone time and keep reusing the same computers.

We are currently looking for a new open source solution for imaging drives, that includes allowing someone running a lab to easily reimage a computer without removing the hard drive or crawling through too many text based screens. We’d greatly appreciate any feedback on this matter.

Read more about their deployment.

Is there anything else you wish to share with us about your organization or how you use Xubuntu?

Thank you to everybody who has contributed to the development and creation of Xubuntu, we really appreciate it and love using it! Your work is having a real impact, both on the environment and the lives of people in need.

If you’d like to contribute either hardware or money, we’re happily accepting both. We’re planning trips to Sierra Leone and Jamaica later this year, so we need all of the computers we can get! Currently, we are raising funds to move out of our small student org office space that MSOE has graciously given us and into a bigger space.Details on how to donate can be found at our website.

If you think this is a great idea and you’d love to do it in your town, please contact us, we’d love to help you get started!

We're Going Pro! Project: Community Computers, LLC

For the past four years, Project: Community Computers has been a small student organization at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. We have all given our time to this organization as a hobby, a side project to everything else that has been going on in our lives. Even though we've accomplished a lot we have decided to take things to the next level. Kick things up a notch, if you will. Today, we are excited to announce our intentions to turn Project: Community Computers in to a full-fledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

For the interim, we have formed Project: Community Computers, LLC, a not-for-profit corporation that will allow us to continue to grow as we work towards our tax-exempt status. We have also overhauled our entire website to give the world a better view of our work. You may also have noticed the new logo, courtesy of our friend Dylan Moriarty.

In addition to all of the organizational changes happening with Project:CC, we have continued our mission with a new project set up in China (details coming soon!), pending expansions to the Summerfield UMC project, another project here in Milwaukee, and travel plans to Sierra Leone this fall!

Thank you to everybody for your continued support so far over these past four years.  The next four will be even better!

YMCA Sponsor-a-Scholar Project in the April 2013 Mozee Minute

Our YMCA Sponsor-a-Scholor project was featured in the April 2013 Mozee Minute.  The Mozee Minute is the monthly newsletter for the Milwaukee School of Engineering community.

MSOE student supports YMCA scholars

MSOE student Jeff Hanson, who coordinates Project Community Computers (PCC), refurbished and distributed 15 laptop computers to inner-city kids participating in the YMCA Sponsor-a-Scholar program. The computers were donated by MSOE's IT Department. Many of these students have no access to computer technology at home, but can now engage in homework assignments more easily and prepare for post-secondary education pursuits.

The full newsletter can be found here: Mozee Minute April 2013

Summerfield UMC Project in Milwaukee, WI

This summary explains our partnership with the church: We believe that technology is a vital tool for spreading the Good News of Jesus and sharing this love with our local community.  Summerfield UMC has combined it numerous technology-based initiatives into a formal ministry. A generation ago, knowledge was obtained only from books. To see the world meant getting on a plane, or at least waiting for a picture postcard in the mail. Today, the internet has transformed the computer into a tiny portal that connects to a vast social network of people and information. purchase Tadalafil Understanding this need, we have established two computer labs. The Summerfield UMC Meal Outreach Computer Lab, and the Samuel Fallows Multimedia Center at Summerfield UMC. This technology will allow the needy of Milwaukee to utilize resources that they normally have limited access to, such as job searches, connecting with family via eMail, and exploring educational opportunities. It offers multimedia and print resources, such as audio sermon series, Bible commentaries, concordances and reference materials, with literature about Christian living.

We would like to thank our partners Project: Community Computers for their donation of equipment and training. We are grateful for their support. pills made from natural herbal ingredients: Posted under Tech Ministry

St. Joseph's Comprehensive High School Project Featured in Winter 2012/2013 CampusTech

Our project at St. Joseph's Comprehensive High School in Cameroon was featured in the Winter 2012/2013 edition of CampusTech, the quarter newsletter from the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Information Technology department.

Computers in Cameroon

A group of MSOE students and faculty from Alverno College recently traveled to Africa to set up a computer lab for

students at St. Joseph Comprehensive High School in Mambu, Bafut, Cameroon. The initiative was spearheaded by Project Community Computers, an organization headed by Jeff Hanson, electrical engineering and computer engineering senior at MSOE. The used laptops, which otherwise would have been recycled, were donated by MSOE’s Information Technology Department and loaded with a free, open-source operating system...

You can read the full article here: CampusTech - Winter 2012-2013

Our Next Generation Project in Milwaukee, WI

During Winter Quarter at MSOE, we teamed up with Robert Dunn, CEO of Our Next Generation here in Milwaukee, to set up a computer lab at their main location for the students to use.

Our Next Generation, Inc. is a program to help urban youth achieve academic and personal success.

"In the community we serve, statistics tell us that without intervention less than 40% of children will graduate from high school."

Our Next Generation makes sure every student who walks through their doors graduates from high school and has future goals set.

We have been setting up a lab with about 18 computers. All of which have internet access. With the usual Ubuntu software installed, there is lots of educational software for the students to use in their free time.  All of the computers also have the standard office software and are hooked up to a printer so students can print school projects, etc.

Rafael Possamai, a fellow MSOE student who has been putting a lot of time into help with this lab, has been hired part time by ONG to help with their other IT issues. He will be their after we finish setting up the lab to make sure it continues to function, and that it gets used to its fullest potential.

Please check out their website to find out more about what they do and how you can help:

Updates on Projects in Kenya

Last month Brydie from Project Kenya made a quick trip to Migori.  We sent a laptop with her which she personally delivered to our friend Joram Matunga.  Joram is attending IAT School of Business in Nairobi.  He is now using the laptop for his school work.

Brydie also got some good news about Mbarro primary.  Because of the lab we set up this summer, "the Ministry of Education announced that Nyamome Primary's computer lab will become an e-learning site. It will be one of five schools chosen in the entire the area." This lab has proven to be quite the success and this is very exciting news!

More info on Migori can be found here.