The management of Orange Liberia, through the Orange Foundation, has officially turned over a multipurpose state-of-the-art computer lab to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU). The turnover ceremony took place on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at the university’s Po River campus, where the computer lab is situated.
During the handover ceremony, the Executive Director of Orange Foundation & Orange Digital Center, Sara Elizabeth Buchanan, explained that Orange had made the decision to donate the computer lab after assessing various university’s needs. She explained that Orange Foundation had established this computer lab initiative to ensure that Liberian students in high schools and universities can have access to cutting edge information technology regardless of their location or economic status.
Buchanan said, “Promoting digital inclusion is important so that students in Liberia can expand their knowledge using technology, same as other students around the world. Orange Foundation has done this not only with these computer labs but also with our Digital Schools Initiative, focusing on primary schools as well as our Women Digital Centers focusing on women”.
Buchanan challenged the administration of the school to always ensure that the computer lab and its remote learning capabilities remain open and accessible to all students.
She outlined in her remarks, “Today, Orange has done its part by providing the equipment, but it is up to the university to ensure that the students utilize this equipment instead of the lab being closed and inaccessible.” She went on to highlight that Orange Foundation supports people with physical challenges; therefore, each computer is equipped with special software and hardware to ensure that hard of hearing students can also utilize the computers.
For his part, the President of AMEZU, Dr. Benjamin D. Lartey, thanked the Orange Foundation for setting up the computer lab.
Dr. Lartey explained that the lab was one of the most transformative gifts the university has received. He elaborated that the lab would help students be better prepared to meet the challenges they might face in an increasingly more digital world.
“We must be in the position to fully equip our students at all levels, because when we do we ensure that they can make significant contributions in our Liberian society,” Dr. Lartey said.
He indicated that the university will extend access to computer programs beyond its own students to allow the local community to benefit from the lab. “There aren’t really any computer programs on this end, and most of the time students have to travel to Monrovia if they want to get a computer certificate. By offering certificates and opening it up to the community, we can have an even larger impact,” he concluded.
The Orange Foundation previously dedicated a computer lab to the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU), as well as two women digital centers and seven digital schools across Liberia.
More recently, the company announced a partnership with the German aid agency, GIZ, for the establishment of Orange Digital Center, which promotes employment of youth through a free coding school, start-up accelerator program, innovation lab (FabLab) and access to Orange Digital Ventures to finance innovative start-ups. In addition to these various sustainable digital inclusion initiatives, Orange Foundation, during the Christmas Season, also donated toys and “new mother kits” to one hundred women and children in various hospitals, as well as food and toys to four orphanages.