Posted on Nov 21, 2019

1,760 Computers Donated to Dominican Primary Schools


Portsmouth, Nov 21, 2019 - The Rotary Club of Portsmouth working with its Canadian partners - the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East and the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, in cooperation with the IT for Dominica Foundation - are celebrating the realization of their goal to provide information technologies to 23 schools in Dominica. Most of the funding for the project came from a Rotary International Global Grant. A donation of more than 1700 used Chromebook computers and other pieces of technical equipment was secured by the IT for Dominica Foundation from partners in Alberta, Canada.  The new value of the donated equipment (Chromebooks, switches, wireless access points, projectors, cables, weather-safe cases, transport, and installations) is in excess of $1.5 million CAD ($3 million ECD, $1.1 million USD). Current/used value estimate 1 million CAD ($2 million ECD, 0.76 million USD)

For the past two weeks, a team has been working in schools across the island.  The team includes Hans Schilders and Lise Van de Kamp from the Rotary Club of Portsmouth DM, Andrew and Geri Bronson from the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, as well as Dr. Maurice Hollingsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Co-Founder and President and his technical team from Alberta, Canada. This all-volunteer team included Jason Yaremchuk, Director of Technology from Northern Gateway Public Schools, Chris Sluggett, Lead Network Analyst from Wolf Creek Public Schools, Jake Cameron, Systems Support Specialist from the University of Lethbridge and Chris Hollingsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Fundraising Committee Chairperson.  Their efforts were fully supported by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in Dominica and their technical team led by ICT Coordinator, Timothy Lavinier.

The schools were selected by the IT for Dominica Foundation Board of Directors. IT for Dominica has an almost 20-year history, working with the Ministry of Education, schools, and teachers on the island providing technology-focused professional development through their summer institutes. The selection process involved schools completing a comprehensive online application.  Each school was also asked to complete a Community Needs Assessment, gathering input from stakeholders including students, teachers, and parents. In total 38 schools (29 primary and 9 secondary) completed the online application. Of those, 23 also completed the community needs assessment. The information received in each application was carefully considered with a focus on identified needs and the plans each school shared for using the new technologies to improve teaching and learning.  Twenty-three schools were selected to receive learning technology installations as part of the IT for Dominica Foundation/Rotary Global Grant partnership. Each school received Chromebooks, weather-safe case(s) for storage - particularly in the event of severe weather - one or more digital projectors, wireless access points, switch(es), and power bars for charging.

Before the Canadian team leaves Dominica on November 23rd, installations will have been completed in 20 primary schools as well as at CALLS, an alternative school for at-risk youth in Portsmouth.  Two primary schools that successfully applied are scheduled for major reconstruction and will be cabled and networked once this work is complete. Technologies were also provided to the Dominica Association of Teachers.  These will be used to support teachers islandwide as they work to develop skills and access resources to serve higher-level learning in their schools. In addition, technologies were provided to Dominica Community High School in recognition of their ongoing support for the work of the IT for Dominica Foundation and as a trial program that will help the foundation explore the use of Chromebooks at the high school level.  The foundation has a three-year plan to replace learning technologies in all schools on the island that still need them. Their work over the next year will focus on raising the funds necessary to install technologies in more schools in November of 2020.  In addition, the IT for Dominica Summer Institute offering professional development to Dominican teachers is scheduled for July. This year will mark the eighteenth time that teams of volunteer Alberta teachers have traveled to Dominica to offer summer courses. More information on the foundation, its history and its work in Dominica can be found online at

The Rotary Club of Portsmouth, DM is the younger one of the two Rotary Clubs in Dominica (Rotary Club of Dominica, Roseau celebrates 45 years). It’s 21 members, of which 6 live off-island, are still very active with recovery projects post Hurricane Maria. Next to the 23 schools mentioned above, they have provided learning technologies to 4 more primary schools and a secondary school. They have also donated new roofs, fish pots, water filters, and various donations to primary schools. The RCP Recycle Project was created together with Recycle Rebuild SCIO from Scotland, and currently, the club is preparing a diabetes awareness project for the Portsmouth region.

The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, Alberta, Canada is very pleased to participate in this project.  Our 28 members of our 59-year-old club fundraise in Lethbridge through our Rotary Roses, Dragonboat Festival and Agricultural Scholarship projects.  Funds for this project were then matched by our Rotary District 5360, the Government of Canada and The Rotary Foundation. We are looking forward to participating in the next phase of this project in 2020.  

The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. The Foundation was created in 1917 by Rotary International's sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund for Rotary "to do good in the world." It has grown from an initial contribution of US$26.50 to more than US$1billion. It has one of the largest and most prestigious international fellowship programs in the world.