dify brings technical assistance as a value-added service to school’s small business loans. Creating essentially a “computer-lab in a box” loan package, which, rather than giving the school proprietor cash, gives them all the hardware and software that the school proprietor needs to set up a fully-functioning computer lab in their school.
All the components of the computer lab are locally sourced. In both Ghana and the Dominican Republic, the technology is easily acquired from local vendors and wholesalers and the cost is similar to what one might pay in the United States, once shipping and import fees are taken into account.
Because school proprietors are often not well versed in current computer technology, Edify provides the technical assistance to be able to make the hardware and software decisions for them. Edify is also perpetually identifying sources for free software for the computers and arrange to have it pre-loaded so that the computer lab is truly ready to run from day one. Edify is also currently identifying and customizing a diagnostic software software setup that will be installed to help identify ways to increase utilization of the computer lab and track uptime.
One of the goals with the computer labs is to help the school proprietors and teachers to gain exposure to using computers. Right now the curriculum is centered around learning about computers. After the computer lab has been in the school for some time and computer literacy has increased, the goal is to help school proprietors and their teachers to facilitate learning using computers. This fundamental shift is really the key to unlocking the potential of the computer lab and allowing for what the end vision of the computer labs is: gaining access to the vast library of materials available for education and augmenting the instruction the children are receiving.