Computers in Homes (CiH) has supported families in low income communities since 2000. Beginning at Cannons Creek school in Porirua with just 25 families, the programme has helped over 16,000 families in 16 years.
There are many supporters who have been instrumental in helping us achieve this success and we would especially like to acknowledge the support of our funding partners for the 2015–16 financial year.
Government funding partners
First of all, thank you to the Ministry of Education (MoE), for continuing to support the programme in 2015–16. We value the ongoing support from Ministers Hekia Parata (Education) and Nikki Kaye (Associate Education).
Secondly, thank you to the National Refugee, Migrant and International Education Team in the Ministry of Education (MOE) team who continue to recognise digital access and skills as a priority for new refugee and migrant families. We welcomed an expansion of the programme during the year to support new Syrian refugees.
We were also pleased that The Lottery Grants Board acknowledged the progress we had made in supporting 1500 jobseekers gain foundation digital skills using our ICDL modules during the first year of the 3-year programme, and agreed to advance the second round of funding.
20/20 programmes ‘Value for money’
Computers in Homes relies on government funding but a unique aspect of the programme has been its ‘value for money’ characteristic, a factor that was acknowledged in the 2015 external review by consulting firm, Martin Jenkins. Some years ago, the Community Partnership Fund challenged us to find matching funding, in cash or in-kind. With the support of a number of non-government partners, we were not only able to achieve this but we have also been able to sustain it.
Corporate ‘in kind’ supporters
One of the most significant contributions comes from Microsoft. By using refurbished computers we have been able to draw on the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Scheme (MARS) Programme. This allows us to install licensed Microsoft software on CiH family computers at a small fraction of the retail cost. Using Microsoft software is important to our programme as this includes the most popular and most easily supported applications. Microsoft’s Office 2010 is our current standard. From 2009 to 2011 Microsoft was also a generous partner for Stepping UP through their global Unlimited Potential programme.
Our other major partners have been our Internet Service Providers. Since 2010 we have received excellent support from 2degrees (previously SNAP), which has been able to deliver dial-up, ADSL, naked DSL and UFB broadband services substantially below market prices. During the year 2degrees also lifted the monthly data cap from 50GB to 100GB. This is a good step towards our ‘hoped for’ future where data caps become a thing of the past.
We have also appreciated the continuing support of a number of wireless internet providers who provide affordable connections in hard-to-reach communities. This includes TokomaruBay.net on the East Coast, Epworth Corporation in Kaingaroa Forest, near Rotorua and Umawera in the Far North and PrimoWireless in Taranaki, as well as Farmside for the satellite connection on DORA, our mobile learning centre.
Corporate and Programme Partners and supporters
We also appreciate ongoing support from corporate partners, most notably InternetNZ for their operational grant to the 20/20 Trust as part of a strategic partnership, and Transpower, which continued to tag surplus computer equipment for Computers in Homes and Stepping UP programmes.
We were disappointed to lose Dick Smith as a programme partner during the year, but we recognise the dynamic nature of the equipment supply business. We welcomed back CA as a programme partner and thank them for their sponsorship support during the year.
Delivery Partner supporters
Our partner schools and community technology centres have also provided excellent ongoing support. We have assisted some of our training centre partners with equipment setup, but have totally relied on their ongoing support to cover local operating costs. Without friendly and safe places for families to meet for their weekly training sessions, Computers in Homes would not work.
We would also like to acknowledge our many trainers and technicians. We make it a condition of working for Computers in Homes that trainers and technicians must work at 50% or less of their normal charge-out rates. This policy has helped to create a network of people whose first priority is to help their communities.
We have continued to explore new partnerships to expand the reach of the programme. During the year we signed new partnerships with the Ngā Pūmanawa E Waru Trust (Rotorua), the Taitokerau Education Trust (Northland) as well as numerous libraries for Stepping UP and schools and PTEs for KiwiSkills.
During the last 12 months we have also valued the support of our regional CiH partners, including the 2020 Far North ICT Trust, Web Access Waikato, Taranaki E-Learning Trust, e-learning Porirua, Wairarapa REAP, West Coast REAP, EastBay REAP and Southern REAP as well as the many people who contribute voluntarily in regional CiH Steering Committees.
There are many others who have also helped to shape and sustain the programme. We acknowledge the invaluable research support provided by 2020 Trustee, Barbara Craig. We also appreciate the ongoing support from Alistair Fraser for the smooth operations of our Automatic Payment schemes (for internet access and BYOD) and Kristina Parbhu, who has continued to manage the schemes. The provision of weekly payment options for both the internet and for digital devices makes a demonstrated difference in ensuring affordable and sustainable options for the families we support. Thank you also to Bill Dashfield who has brought a new degree of professionalism to our digital presence through our websites and blogs, as well as to Veronica Alkema, who not only produces this report but also provides ongoing advice and support for all our communication materials.
… and a big thank you to our co-ordinators
But without a shadow of doubt the greatest commitment comes from our 20 regional CiH coordinators and our national coordinator (to Sept. 2016), Di Daniels. Their commitment extends well beyond what they are funded to do; their engagement with their local communities is a key success factor.
Thank you to all.