The enormity of the problems plaguing parts of Africa, from lack of education and health care to inadequate infrastructure, overwhelms most of those who aim to be part of the solution. Arrow Electronics saw things differently. Innovators at heart, the group (along with its Belgian nonprofit partner, Close the Gap) saw an opportunity to address several issues at once—and in so doing, took first place in the “Education or Scholarship” category of PR Daily’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
The solution took advantage of the most unexpected of resources: used 40-foot steel cargo containers. Arrow and Close the Gap converted these discarded hunks of steel into solar-powered “DigiTrucks.” As Arrow explains, “These fully equipped, insulated, secure classrooms and health clinics are delivered and used in remote rural African villages to open otherwise vulnerable children to educational opportunities that are changing their lives for the better.”
The first DigiTruck was created for use at Tuleeni Orphanage in a remote Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. The orphanage serves some 200 children, most of whom have lost their parents to AIDS. Donated IT gear inside the truck includes laptops, tablets, printers, routers, an LED TV flat-screen monitor and more, all renovated by Arrow’s value recovery business.
Arrow employees also raised $4,000 over the 2016 holiday season for a scholarship program to benefit the students, an amount Arrow’s CSR team found corporate partners to match.
This year, Arrow and Close the Gap are building another DigiTruck to serve the Nairobi area.
Congratulations to Joe Verrengia, Alex West and Rich Kylberg.
Visit Ragan.com/Awards to learn more about awards opportunities.