My volunteer experience with the World Computer Exchange on Sat, Sept 21, 2019.
Reducing the pile
The landfills in the US are overflowing and while we are getting better at recycling, we as a nation can always do more to reduce the pile. I love the mission of this organization. Computers that are no longer desired because they are outdated, or obsolete by individuals and organizations in the United States are welcome in developing nations. What a great cause! I really wanted to learn more about WCE, so I signed up to help them out. Maybe my previous education and work experience in the world of electronics would come in handy too? Believe it or not, I do know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard. 🙂
World Computer Exchange
Here are the opportunity details as listed on the Boston Cares website:
“Help bridge the digital divide by testing and packing computers that have been donated for shipments of working sets to schools and community organizations in developing countries. Technical skills are always helpful but are not required; tasks include turning on equipment, taping printer cables with printers, counting mice, etc. Lunch is provided.”
About the World Computer Exchange: “World Computer Exchange (WCE) provides computers and support services in education, environment, and economic development to help connect more youth to the internet in 61 developing countries. Note: WCE is also looking for donations of working computer equipment (Pentium 4 or newer).”
Learning from the brightest
At 10:00 am on a beautiful blue sky summer day, I met Pam Cooney-Director of Operations and Tim Anderson-CEO of WCE. They explained the mission of WCE to the group of 10 + volunteers, and what they needed from the group that day. We were to test and pack up 60 computer “sets” that would ship out the following Tues to Tanzania, Africa. Some people would do “triage” on non-functioning computers, others would test and packing up monitors, others would clean and check the supposedly “working” machines. I fell into the last category. It was really an easy process, and since I was one of the “newest” volunteers, I had a dazzling high school senior who has volunteered for this organization countless times to show me the ropes.
How I helped
First, we hooked up the computer to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. We took off the cover, powered up the machine, and entered the bios. We did this by hitting F12(for these models) quickly as it powered up. We then checked:
- Ram – check how many sticks, if less than 8K, then we would add more memory, or maybe the memory card was loose and needed to be reinserted
- Date – Check if it is off by a lot, replace the battery and reset date and time
- Check if it had windows or no windows-separate into different piles
- Make sure there is a hard drive inside, if not add one
- Clean inside – was blown clean already by another volunteer
- Remove all extraneous labels except the service tag and clean outside case
I should note: Before I stuck my hand in any machine, I always made sure I unplugged the computer from the A/c outlet.
If everything passed the above criteria, I placed it in the ready to ship stack. That was it. Very easy.
They are always looking for volunteers and donations. Please visit their website, https://worldcomputerexchange.org/volunteer-opportunities/ to learn more or sign up on bostoncares.com.