Donate your used phones at Conference

What’s the idea?

Help support Phones4Zimbabwe by giving us your old, neglected and unused mobile phones (ideally with chargers). We will send them over to Zimbabwe to schools and health clinics.

Why?

You get a warm fuzzy feeling from helping a community in Zimbabwe to improve communications and information flow in an often forgotten part of the country.

The health clinics and schools receiving the phones can use them for emergencies, for every day use, to share and coordinate information and make life a little easier.

We are focussing on Binga, a remote and neglected area of North West Zimbabwe, to ensure the are has the opportunity to benefit from the expanding mobile phone network that now covers them.  Phones are expensive, but with your help, we can make sure your unwanted phones are put to good use.

Where can I donate?

At the Liberal Youth stand in the Conference Exhibition (Stand C17).

When?

The Exhibition is open as follows:

Saturday 18th September 13.00 – 18.30
Sunday 19th September 08.30 – 18.30
Monday 20th September 08.30 – 18.30
Tuesday 21st September 08.30 – 18.30
Wednesday 22nd September 08.30 – 16.00

How?

Give us your working phones (with chargers ideally) please. If the phones don’t have chargers or they don’t work, we would still like them. We can cash them in to pay for the unlocking services we need and to buy SIM cards in Zimbabwe.

There are a few things you can do before giving us your phones in order to make things easier:

  1. Please remove the SIM card from the phone.
  2. Wipe the data from your phone (your handbook will have guidance).
  3. Unlock your phone – you need the IMEI number which you get from typing in *#06# (Further instructions on how to unlock your phone can be found at http://www.thewirelesssource.com/TradeUp/personalinformationremoval.html or http://www.trycktill.com/eng/ or http://unlock.nokiafree.org/)
  4. Label your phone telling us whether the SIM is removed, whether you have wiped your data and whether it is unlocked.
  5. Use an elastic band to keep the phone and charger together.

If you do not make it to the stand, or are not going to conference, you can instead post the phone and charger to Kate Heywood, 4 Cowley Street, London, SW1P 3NB.

Thank you!

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5 Comments

  • Don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud, but this has raised a number of alarm bells for me. One of the major debates in international development and aid at the moment is what to do with goods in kind donations. The consensus is that they can be good, but often come with problems, and careful research is needed to make sure they’re not going to be more trouble than they’re worth. In addition, providing goods in kind can have negative impacts on local markets and therefore local livelihoods. For more information, see the posts collected at http://informationincontext.typepad.com/good_intentions_are_not_e/in-kind-donations/, among other places.

    In this case, my concerns are:
    – what will be the cost of shipping phones to Zimbabwe? I haven’t been to Zim, but I’ve been to about 15 African countries including Zambia, and I can’t imagine the costs are radically different. Phones there aren’t that expensive, so it’s quite possible that the cost of shipping old phones to Zimbabwe will be greater than that of buying them there.
    – what plugs do they use in Zimbabwe? Will the chargers fit local sockets?
    – is lack of access to mobile phones the main problem in poor communications in the area, or are poor electricity (making it difficult to charge the phones), high cost of credit (meaning they can’t use their phones) or patcy network coverage more important?
    – what will they do with phones that aren’t unblocked or don’t come with chargers? Will they buy chargers/pay for unblocking and if so could this money be more productively used elsewhere.
    – who will you give the phones to? Will this cause tensions with those who don’t get phones? Could it lead to favouritism towards some groups in accessing health treatments?

    Of course, if these issues have been addressed by the planners, then great idea! I totally agree that mobile phone communication has the potential to bring important change to a number of sectors, including health, especially through frontlineSMS:Medic and a few other systems. But it would be great to get more information on what led you to this project and how you’re planning to maximise your impact.

  • Hi!
    Thanks for those great questions!

    They have all been addressed with local support on the ground in Zimbabwe. The plug system is the same as the UK, the community has asked for the help via one of our election volunteers, we have been given free shipping to Zimbabwe and have a secure distribution on the ground.

    If phones don’t work or we can’t get chargers we will cash them in to help with the unlocking costs

  • In terms of distribution we have links with the ministers office who will oversee distribution and buying sim cardsHas been research Ed to ensure that this is a viable project. Thanks for your concern!

  • Ian Sanderson 17th Sep '10 - 5:40pm

    Interesting Kate’s comment that “the plug system is the same as the UK”, since neigbouring South Africa uses 15 amp mains plugs of the sort that started being phased out in the UK about 50 years ago. In my experience South Africa had better mobile coverage in rural areas than parts of Australia and USA.

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