Doing Development in West Africa: A Reader by and for Undergraduates
What would it take to build an Internet café in a remote West African village without electricity and running water? Two Duke students set their minds to achieving that goal in summer 2012; this essay recounts the trials and tribulations of their endeavor. They began with a website to raise the necessary funds, purchased four large solar panels and laptops, express-mailed them to Togo, and installed them themselves. They accessed the Internet through a local cell phone tower, and created the only cyber café within miles and the first ever in a village. A year later, dozens of students in this farming community were taking classes in “informatique”—typing, computer and Internet skills—and by 2015 weekly attendance had swelled to more than one hundred.