With the plan to become an ICT hub which requires computers and other gadgets, Rwanda has so far imported tons of equipment but little known is the way they dispose them off when they get broken and ‘irreparable’.
Apparently, your gadget can return to life and serve the young generations if you throw it in the Bugesera e-waste treatment plant.
Apart from recycling, the new e-waste facility has started refurbishing computers and distributing them in secondary schools to help students to grow their technology dreams.
Olivier Mubera, the Program Manager told KT Press that the plant has engaged in this initiative as part of corporate responsibility besides its core business.
So far, 400 computers, collected from stores in government institutions and Non-governmental organizations, have been refurbished and 200 of them were distributed to 10 schools in Bugesera and Kicukuro districts on December 11th in the initial phase.
“We shall be distributing the computers every six months and we have decided to focus on the districts neighboring the plant as part of the agreement with Rwanda Education Board (REB),” Mubera said.
The computers will be able to aide schools lacking computers for students, teachers and the school administration, however every of the schools must have infrastructure in place.
Apparently a number of schools lack electricity, computer laboratories and computer skills among some teachers.
According to REB, nine percent or 531 schools in Rwanda currently have access to internet; but the partnership with Microsoft is expected to help grant access to more than three million students and 61,000 teachers across the country’s 3,500 schools by 2020.
Janvier Gasana, the Director-general of REB, says there is ongoing smart classrooms training for teachers which is done in holidays to boost e-education.
The Rwf1.1 billion electronic waste dismantling and refurbishing plant in Bugesera Industrial Zone, Bugesera District unveiled on December 4, 2017 has so far collected and recycled 120 tons since its establishment in 2014.
Formerly, the recycling and distribution was done by Tumba College of Technology before the plant was constructed.
Since 2012 Tumba College refurbished and distributed over 600 computers to schools which include Groupe Scolaire Buhabwa and Groupe Scolaire Gishanda in Kayonza District, Ecole Secondaire Bugarama in Rusizi District, Groupe Scolaire Muhororo in Ngororero District, Groupe Scolaire Nyarusange in Nyamasheke District and Inyange Girls Secondary School in Rulindo District.
Meanwhile, there are two ways of carrying the e-waste to Bugesera recycling plant.
One can call the plant manager to come and collect gadgets or can decide to transport them to the plant. Institutions with e-waste stores make the collection easy.
“We do not buy the waste. In normal circumstances, the person who has waste pays the cleaner to dispose them off,” Mubera told KT Press.
Once at the plant, the e-waste is segregated, a system which consists of grouping the waste into categories, and then tested to see the ones that are repairable.
Those that are found repairable are kept aside while the rest is smashed.
The new plant plans to set up electronic waste collection points in all 30 districts of the country. It has so far created over 200 green jobs.