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GU ITS Receives the Call for Africa Refugee Camps

GU ITS Receives the Call for Africa Refugee Camps

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GU ITS Receives the Call for Africa Refugee Camps

In the summer of 2010, the Gonzaga Information Technology Services (ITS) division, Client Support Services and Technology Education Services were instrumental in providing logistical and purchasing support to Jesuit Refugee Services and Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins in their effort to create two classrooms at refugee camps in Kakuma Kenya and Lilongwe Malawi. ITS provided purchasing and distribution support for the project. This project established technology equipped classrooms and computer labs in refugee camps in Africa.

ITS received the call for assistance from Mary McFarland in the middle of July, 2010. In mere weeks the classroom had been built and equipment prepared and delivered to the refugee camps. From start to finish this major project was accomplished in just over four months!

The computers and equipment provided the necessary environment for African refugees to learn new computer skills and business operations. The initiative was led by Mary McFarland, International Director; Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins based out of Gonzaga University. Staff and faculty from Regis, Fordham, Institute of Advanced Technology Nairobi, and University of San Francisco were also instrumental in the success of this project.

"Temperatures at Kakuma are consistently over 100 and we all arrive to class soaked - I was explaining that no water can be on the desks when the computers arrive and a student said "when the sweat drips from our fingers will we break the computer"...  And, of course there is no water to bring in so it was additionally humbling. "- Mary McFarland  

This project was the first of that ITS will partner with other universities and the Jesuit Commons initiatives. This year the call came in for assistance with camps in Dzaleka and enhancements to the Kakuma and Lilongwe camps. There were many lessons learned and challenges with acquisition and shipping of the equipment to Africa. Some shipments had to be delivered in armored vehicles due to the violence and unrest in the region.

"Having an impact of this nature and really changing people's lives on the other side of the world is truly a humbling and inspirational endeavor. It was a privilege to be part of this amazing project." - Jim Jones

ITS is looking forward to participation in more Jesuit Commons initiatives and will be available when the next call comes in!