What are the issues around sending old computing equipment to the Global South? Is it a useful way to show solidarity with those limited access to resources, or does it primarily provide donor satisfaction while failing to address deeper seated issues around sustainable development. Will the equipment find it's way to Agbogbloshie sooner or later?
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Factors for consideration
Some groups have taken very firm positions in this debate, but perhaps what we need to do is to consider things on a case by case basis. i.e what utility is gained by sending a particular piece of equipment to a particular location? How can this be assessed in terms of the environment (technical and social, as well as in terms of pollution)? The better an item fits within the social-technical environment in which its is embedded, the more it mitigates any negative environmental impact. In this context it is important to compare sending old equipment, cast offs from a global north environment, to sourcing cheap new equipment which might be much more useful in many respects. An aspect of this is increasing use of the Mobile Web.