Bridging the Digital Divide in Guatemala

Computers in the US are thrown away at an alarming rate while, in developing countries, there are not enough computers to go around. [Next Step Recycling|] in Oregon is helping to change that by shipping containers full of usable computers to Guatemala where [Partners in Solidarity|] use sustainable methods to install them in schools. Reusing computers to help bridge the digital divide, on this episode of GeekSpeak.

Satellite TV - Not HD

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So, copper is important after all.

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Brian Krebs’ writes in his “Security Fix” blog, "When businesses want to communicate with their customers via e-mail, many send messages with a bogus return address, e.g. ‘’ The practice is meant to communicate to recipients that any replies will go unread.

“But when those messages are sent to an inactive e-mail address or the recipient ignores the instruction and replies anyway, the missives don’t just disappear into the digital ether.”

! More on the Topic

‘Partner in Solidarity’ is an NGO based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala which works brings computers and technical education to the area’s rural schools and NGO’s. In the Guatemalan Department (State) of Quetzaltenango there are approximately 750,000 people. According to the Ministry of Education, less then 1% of the Department’s public schools have computer labs, a fact which is especially evident in the rural, mostly indigenous areas. Further, computer literacy is a pre-requisite for university study in Guatemala, as well as being a gateway to employment opportunities throughout the region. ‘Partners in Solidarity,’ along with its partners ‘Next Step Recycling’ and ‘INEPAS,’ seeks to ‘Bridge the Digital Divide’ so to speak and help provide access to technology and technological education to the students of these schools.

NextStep Recycling is a non-profit computer refurbishing and recycling organization. They are dedicated to providing refurbished computer equipment to schools, non-profit organizations, and economically and/or physically disadvantaged individuals. In addition, they serve the community and the environment by recycling obsolete/non-repairable donated electronic equipment. They are able to provide computers to the public by refurbishing used computer equipment for which businesses, corporations, and individual donors no longer have a use.

When the computers arrive in Guatemala, by way of container ship, they have already been loaded with Microsoft Windows, as well as Open Source software such as OpenOffice and GIMP. Partners in Solidarity volunteers load Spanish language educational software, as well as software which teaches the language and culture of the local indigenous Mayan population, Quiche. This software is developed by another local NGO, Enlace Quiche.

In this show, hear Matthew Rutman, founder of ‘Partners in Solidariy,’ Lorraine Kerwood, Founder and Executive Director of ‘Next Step Recycling,’ and Josh Weiss, a current ‘Partners’ volunteer and former KUSP Training & Production Coordinator.

To get involved as a volunteer for Partners in Solidarity, write an email to Matthew, his email is at and is psolidarity.