Yesterday I received an e-mail confirming that the computers and related equipment we sent to the Garden Community School in Zambia, are in place, functional and on-line! These computers, which had served the paralegals at Prommis Solutions before the disruptions of the real estate market in 2011, made a 6-month journey by container ship and truck (and also a little ways in the back of my wife’s Expedition) from Georgia to Zambia.
The computers now have a new life, providing e-learning solutions and facilitating live, online cultural exchanges between students in Atlanta and Lusaka. So, what seemed like a completely crazy idea is now a reality! As you might imagine, this was a large-scale, complicated project, so we’re very thankful to all who helped make this project happen and, especially, to the amazing folks at ACE and CAC-Z who are making life better in Zambia every day, one child at a time.
So, what’s next? Well, it’s too early to tell, but I will say that we now have a lot of folks interested in doubling down. As I have learned, in Africa we have to start with the basics (water, food-clothes-shelter, power, vaccines and education), and then proceed with economic development. However, the rapid, chaotic growth of democratic African countries like Zambia means that we cannot separate these tracks: we must look for projects that can grow jobs.
As a result, we’re now exploring a strategic concept that would tie together the sustainability-based business expansion efforts of participating corporations with an effort to increase the supply of potable water to the more remote regions of Zambia. The root of the idea – a public-private partnership to finance and build the requisite water treatment facilities – sounds like a crazy idea as well. However, in meetings over the past couple of months we’ve received the support of a number of prominent governmental agencies, businesses, private equity financiers, and NGO’s, as well as a lot of insight from my friends at the WASH Initiative on exactly how to provision the water solution. So, stay tuned – seeds are in the ground . . .
Thanks as always for reading, commenting, forwarding and tweeting. Take care.