Video: 15 years Close the Gap - Interview with Tom Musili, Founder of Computers for Schools Kenya
Posted on Apr 9, 2019 7:28 AM by
In 2019, Close the Gap celebrates its 15th anniversary. For the past 15 years, we have only been able to work towards our mission to bridge the digital divide by working together with international donors of IT material and local partner organisations.
One of the organisations that we started working with almost ten years ago is Computers for Schools Kenya. This organisation helps us distribute the refurbished computer material all over Kenya, to schools and universities. Besides this, they also operate the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Centre), which disposes of e-waste in a sustainable and responsible way.
In context of this long-term partnership, we interviewed CFSK's founder and director Tom Musili. Click here for the video of the interview.
In the interview, he reflects back on the partnership between his organisation and Close the Gap, while also looking forward to the future. CFSK and Close the Gap are namely collaborating together to set up a Circular Economy Hub in Nairobi, where computer material will be locally refurbished and repaired. In a second phase IT material will also be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way in this Hub. Click here for more information about this new initiative.
Hello mister Musili, you told us that you became a partner of Close the Gap more than ten years ago, so in fact you are one of our oldest partners. If you had to reflect on that, what would you say?
Yes, that's correct. At Computers for Schools Kenya, we have had a long relationship with Close the Gap. We were founded almost at the same time and we have been working together for many, many years. Through Close the Gap, CFSK has grown by receiving computers and distributing them to schools in Kenya. This way, we have reached a lot of young people. I can say that Close the Gap has contributed a lot to Kenyan youth.
When did the partnership start exactly?
Over ten years ago. Close the Gap started operating at the same time as CFSK, around 2004 and we started working together in 2006 or 2007.
When you think about what was achieved in those years, what are you the most proud of in this partnership?
I'm proud of this partnership because we have received over 80,000 computers through Close the Gap. That translates to many youth and schools benefitting from this partnership. Secondly we have not only worked together in the area of ICT and infrastructure, but we have also been supporting each other in terms of system management. And that's why both organisations have been growing.
If you had to talk about our partnership in a few sentences, what would you say?
I would say it's a good example of a long-term partnership, moving from start-ups to the level of today, where we are leading organisations in providing IT technology to the youth. We started by just giving computers, now we are thinking about establishing circular economy initiatives. That is the biggest achievement: partners coming together, moving from one stage to another and looking at the global issues. That is something to be proud of.
What about the future of this partnership?
This partnership is going to another level by establishing a Circular Economy Hub: a social business with a circular solution. We'll receive computers, refurbish them, do trainings and recycle them at the end of their life. So, we provide employment to youth as well as technology that they can use to do their work. Through these efforts we'll see other countries benefiting as well, as we are thinking of replicating this partnership to other countries as well in the future.
What would you wish to Close the Gap for the next 15 years?
To grow, to help other partners like ourselves. Not only in the areas of IT and infrastructure, but also in supporting people in coming with innovative ideas. Close the Gap is going in the right direction and we are happy to be associated and working with them. In the next few years, I would like to see Close the Gap enabling other partners to be able to move from one stage to another, especially in Africa. I would like to see other partners benefit from the good work of Close the Gap. That would change Africa.
Thank you very much, mister Musili. We are really glad to have you with us in Brussels for a couple of days and for the opportunity to interview you.
You're very welcome!