HP joins Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development partnership in Uganda

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Author: Michael Sweikar

HP—a leading global information technology company—recently joined the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) on a pilot solar energy project in Uganda.  Innovative low-power computing solutions from HP will help bring globally connected entrepreneurial training to disconnected communities in northern Uganda.

HP has awarded Notre Dame a grant for monitoring & evaluation research to measure the impact of the new computing systems and to manage the project. In addition, HP is donating equipment including 60 HP t410 thin clients and supporting computing and printing technology. The addition of HP to the partnership brings an integrated system for reliable, flexible, low-power computing solutions.

Accenture and the Accenture Foundations previously awarded a $550,000 grant to NDIGD, which consists of cash as well as the time and skills of Accenture employees to support entrepreneurship training for the project and to identify solar electricity solutions including the installation of solar power systems and establishment of secure connectivity. This award reflects Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which will equip 500,000 people globally by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.

The project will focus on providing smart electrification and entrepreneurial training in a globally connected ecosystem to students in rural, war-affected northern Uganda. Three pilot sites and a central office will now implement a low-power, thin client computing solution.

2010_uganda_boscoWithout the energy efficiency of the HP computing solution, the power needed for the connectivity and training required for core project activities would be unsustainable. All pilot sites will benefit from increased globally connected entrepreneurial training centered on affordable electric power.

Professor Thomas Loughran (Physics) and Tom Marentette of the Office of Information Technology will assist in overseeing the integration of the new computing systems at the project sites. NDIGD Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists Juan Carlos Guzman and Chen Chen will conduct evaluation research as part of the project to determine the impact on training due to the new computing solution for the pilot sites.

A local Ugandan NGO, BOSCO-Uganda will provide project installation, training and maintenance. BOSCO- Uganda is a nonprofit organization founded by Notre Dame alumnus Gus Zuehlke and a partner to the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns’ International Summer Service Learning Program. BOSCO has provided wireless, solar-powered internet service and training to the former internally displaced person camps in northern Uganda since 2007. In 2010, BOSCO received the first annual Breaking Borders Award in the technology category from Google and Global Voices.

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The energy efficiency of the overall project supports incorporation of entrepreneurial initiatives built around affordable surplus power.  Affordable, reliable electricity not only enables implementation of a new curriculum focused on developing entrepreneurial skills, but also provides energy to run new ventures kicked off by the students.

BOSCO-Uganda will gain experience with a next-generation computing platform that it can expand throughout its current and planned future sites, as it is compatible with the challenging electricity situation in the developing world.

“We are very pleased to welcome HP to the project in Uganda that we initiated with Accenture. The computing solution element significantly broadens the potential impact of the project and will allow researchers at Notre Dame and NDIGD to assist global development practitioners such as BOSCO Uganda” says Notre Dame vice president for research Robert Bernhard.

 

Contact: Michael Sweikar, NDIGD Managing Director msweikar@nd.edu