Camara Education

The Organisation

Camara Education, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a social enterprise that reuses technology to improve education in disadvantaged communities in Ireland, Africa and the Caribbean. This is to provide better education and livelihood skills, and to help break the cycle of poverty. 

Camara Education refurbishes donated computers and loads them with educational software before being dispatched to schools. Through Camara Education’s work, over 40,000 computers have been sent to eLearning labs in 2000 schools and community groups, with 11,000 teachers receiving training and support.

camara.org       

The Challenge

Camara Education were keen to explore the environmental and social benefits of their IT reuse and recycling. They developed a project that required someone to undertake qualitative analysis regarding the environmental benefits of computer reuse rather than recycling; to explore the environmental cost of manufacturing new equipment and energy return on recycled equipment; and explore the life span of reused computers and potential societal benefits resulting from their reuse. 

Skills Sought

  • Qualitative data analysis and interpretation
  • Report writing 

The Solution

Naomi Loh-Baxter, a Geography student from Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC), carried out her undergraduate dissertation with Irish company Camara Education. Business development managers from LEC and University College Dublin, introduced Naomi to Camara Education. The business development managers supported Naomi while she carried out her dissertation, which contributed to a core part of her degree.

Naomi, initially visited Camara Education at their headquarters in Dublin, helping to scope the aims of the study and gaining contacts for the schools approached during the study.

Cost‌

This transnational student placement was supported through KARIM.  KARIM, the Knowledge Acceleration and Responsible Innovation Meta-network, is a project funded by the European Union. The aim of this project was to build a network for SME’s, University partners and other 'innovation actors' across NW Europe and by so doing to help boost the competitiveness of innovative SME’s in this region.

Impact

Through Naomi’s research, the future education and social benefits that educational technology – such as computers - can bring to education, were explored. Naomi also identified potential further research areas, including the recent shift in technology used in the earliest stages of education, and expansion to explore the impact on a wider geographic scale. For example, Camara Education have also been involved in dispatching computers to disadvantaged schools in Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia, which could have significant societal benefits.

Benefits

To the Company

  • Analysis of environmental benefits of recycled computers
  • Report on the societal benefits of computers in schools in disadvantaged communities

To the Students

  • Gained an insight into a commercial business
  • Networking with stakeholders
  • Development of skills in a business environment
  • Project formed the basis of the student’s undergraduate degree dissertation