BioMed Central undertakes large fundraising drive for Computer Aid in 2009


As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting open
access in the developing world, BioMed Central has teamed up with Computer Aid International
to support research in Africa. We have chosen to support Kenyatta University in Nairobi to help local
scientists conduct vital research directly relevant to local problems in one of
the poorest parts of Africa.
Many of the university’s
academics have been published in open access journals, including those from
BioMed Central.

In common with most African
universities, however, Kenyatta cannot afford new computers – meaning that
academics cannot get the access time that they need for researching and
preparing papers. We’re partnering with Computer Aid International, who provide
affordable professionally refurbished PCs to the developing world, to resolve
this problem.

We aim to raise £10,760 in order to provide a
container of 225 PCs to the university – enough to give all research
departments their own dedicated suite of computers
and guarantee that the university’s 720 research
staff all get the IT access that they need.

Stephen Campbell,
Director of Fundraising at Computer Aid said, “Computer Aid International is
really excited about this partnership and immensely grateful for the
support of BioMed Central and your supporters. We have been working with
Kenyatta University for a number of years, they are a first class institution
that we are proud to be associated with. Most significantly, their research
staff focus on areas that are directly relevant to surrounding communities in
Kenya and East Africa, including local diseases such as Tuberculosis, HIV/Aids
and Malaria”

You can make a contribution to
this project today by visiting – in return for your support we promise to let you
know how your money is spent and update you on progress of the project.

Thank you
in advance for your help.

View the latest posts on the Research in progress blog homepage


peter graves

This is worth supporting. Kenyatta University is reporting that it has less than half of what it needs. It hopes for about 5,000 PCs and presently has something like 2,250.

Have a look at Please consider too what Peter Singer is saying in his new book “The Life You Can Save. Acting Now to End World Poverty”.

ken masters

While I think that your project is great, I hope there is the required follow-up.

My experience has been that getting hardware into Universities in Africa is probably the smallest problem of all. The really big problems are:

– ensuring that the students and / or staff are trained to use the hardware and software.
– ensuring that the computer facilities are staffed by staff who know how to run a computer facility. Because the users will be working during the the day, opening hours need to be wider than 9:00-5:00.
– ensuring that technical staff are available to provide technical assistance and maintenance.
– ensuring that spares exist – particularly problematic for old machines (e.g. finding RAM chips that are compatible).
– ensuring that servers, networks, etc., are functioning.
– disposal of the machines once they are no longer usable.

These are tough nuts to crack. But, if they’re not, then the project leads to tons of frustration, and reinforces the perception that Africa is still just a dumping ground – and literally has to solve the industrialised world’s landfill problems. I raise them only because your article doesn’t specifically refer to them.

Still, if these things are all taken care of, then the project should be hugely successful.


Nice to hear that such a great initiatives are being taken to help poor nations….these will bring equality in our societies that all can have access to internet and basic needs of modern technologies.

otieno mathews

Many thanks to BioMed central/Computer Aid international for this initiative. I only remeber too well the challenges that I and other collegues encountered during my undergraduate studies at Maseno University in Kenya due to inadequate access to computers and to the internet. This is really hampering new frontiers of science for example bioinformatics and computational biology, which require a reliable IT platform.

While I appreciate the capacity and maintenance concerns that have been raised above, these computers will go a long way to help bridge existing gaps. It is up to the recepient institution to express their appreciation by putting in place structures to ensure that the computers are put into good use and are well maintained.


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Kerala Institute of Dental and Medical Research,Rohini,TC 23/457(1)
vettakalam Lane,

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