neighBORROW and Goods for Good have formed a partnership to provide computers for orphaned children in Malawi, East Africa. neighBORROW is a borrow and lend operation, while Goods for Good re-distributes excess items. Together, they are sending used computers where they are desperately needed.
Neighborrow to Help GoodsForGood.com Donate to Africa
NeighBORROW has established a secure system for defined communities of users to lend and borrow items. Now in beta, the website was created in 2005 in New York City. Co-founder Adam Berk says that his green site promotes the concept of moving items from places where they are under-utilized to places where they are needed. This idea is in sync with Goods for Good (G4G), another green website that takes excess products, often items in storage or in line to be destroyed, and sends them where they will be welcomed and used. Brigitte Zimmerman, Program Director of G4G, says that "it made sense for neighBORROW to help us on a targeted campaign with a lower volume but higher specificity."
The used computers that these two agencies have agreed to collect and send to orphan children in Malawi might otherwise be sent to landfills or to developing countries for stripping into components. Both of these options are hazardous to people and to the environment. Under terms of the neighBORROW/G4G agency partnership, obsolete computers that may be taking up garage shelf space or languishing in corporate storage are gathered and sent to Africa. Computers sought for this re-distribution are less than six years old, with functioning hard drives, batteries and keyboards. Both agency websites are set up to take donations of suitable computers.
The New Model of Giving
Instead of donors collecting a stack of receipts for charitable donations, neighBORROW and G4G are banking on a new model of charitable giving. This model would convert donations into a rating for the giver, resulting in a reputation ("webutation") denoting responsible behavior toward the planet and other world citizens. According to neighBORROW's Berk, someone who demonstrates a concern for others and for green stewardship in this way is someone who can be trusted to return borrowed items on his or her website. This model of giving is completely interactive, with the donor's charitable history readily accessible. Both agencies see this as the future of giving, and a more effective way of bringing help to places where the need is great.
How the Websites Help Africa
As we enter into the era of the global community, we are becoming ever more aware of how inequitably the world's material goods are distributed. Both neighBORROW and G4G are out to change that pattern on both the local and world-wide levels. G4G's Zimmerman points out that most of their computer donations come from corporations with unwanted excess inventories. NeighBORROW works well on its premise that "you don't always need what you have, and you don't always have what you need." G4G is a great example of that premise in action, as it ships unwanted stashes of products to Africa for use in supplying and training children at a variety of education centers. The neighBORROW/G4G used computer initiative is one more great example of how we can utilize the Internet to benefit our planet and its children, wherever they live.