Like most westerners I have a bit of a guilt complex about the poverty that exists in large parts of africa. The problem is complex and not easily solved, if it was a simple as donating money then living standards should have started to improve by now.
I am looking for a project that is being run in africa preferably by africans albeit with support from westerners that aims to build infrastructure in a town or village that I can help fundraise for. I would like to see 100% of the funds raised go to the people it is meant to help. The sort of activities I believe will help africans in the long term are improving roads, building medical centers and schools, clean water, disease control, improving communications, electrical power generation, enticing foreign investment to build factories that create local jobs.
The skills that I have are in information technology, so I will be building a website that reports the progress the project is making. It will also be a coordination point for fundraising activity and allow donations to be made directly to specific parts of the project.
The problem I have now is finding such a project and putting my ideas to the people running it, they won't already be on the internet so google is not going to be any help. I am going to contact a number of charities that work in africa to see if they know of anything like this. If you are reading this and know someone who is already involved in this work then drop me an email to kitesurf<at>Dualbotic.com.
A big thankyou to Matt Smalley who emailed me with the following information.
"Widernet is a project run by the International Center at the University of Iowa. They aim to bring IT service and resources to developing countries, specifically Nigeria. The current connections to the internet from Africa are very limited and expensive, so universities have a difficult time providing access for their students. To help solve this problem the Widernet team has developed eGranary, a digital information library that can be deployed on a local network. Last I heard they had about 100GB of data dumped from various sources of the web (with permission of course.) They also provide help setting up local networks, operating systems, etc. The program coordinator also runs several other programs, such as computer donations to Africa, and I believe he has a program to help dig water wells."
Project homepage: http://www.widernet.org/
Slashdot article I posted last year: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/11/2151235&tid=126&tid=198&tid=95