Give old mobiles a new life in Africa

Old mobile phones can be handed in at Jo’s surgeries or to her constituency office in Bishopbriggs

Jo Swinson is calling on East Dunbartonshire residents to donate their old, unwanted mobile phone handsets to African countries.

The ‘Phones 4 Africa’ campaign, which was launched in Parliament this week, will send old, unwanted mobile phones to be reconditioned and reused in African nations.

Jo said:

“Every hour, 1,700 mobile phones are upgraded in the UK alone after around 18 months of use, despite having a lifespan of around 10 years. If each mobile phone user in the UK were to throw away their handsets we’d be land filling around £650,000 of silver each year.

“Sending your unwanted mobile phones to developing countries benefits the environment in this country, while wider access to communications in Africa has proven to be an important element in tackling poverty. Having a phone can let children to keep in touch with their parents, help people do business and be a vital tool in medical emergencies.

“Residents can hand in their old mobile phones at my advice surgeries or send them to my constituency office in Bishopbriggs to be passed on to the appeal. Alternatively, they can be sent direct to the freepost address, FREEPOST Fonebak Vodafone Africa. I have an old mobile that I will be donating and I hope many other East Dunbartonshire residents will do likewise.”

Musician Peter Gabriel, who launched the ‘Phones 4 Africa’ campaign in Parliament this week, said:

“Phones 4 Africa is a brilliant idea. Mobiles have been adopted faster in the developing world than in the developed world. They have the capability for improving lives.

“I work with the Mandela Foundation which worked with coffee growers in Zimbabwe who were being ripped off by middle men. As soon as they had mobile phones they were able to get commodity prices directly from the Chicago Exchange. This transformed their local economy.

“We have developed a hub on the internet to which anyone can upload images using their mobile phone or video. We believe this has the potential to transform human rights campaigning because when individuals have footage it is easier to get transmission of it. Also it’s harder for those who are doing it to deny it. This is the Human Rights Video Hub, part of which I set up.”

Jo is writing to local groups encouraging them to participate in Phones 4 Africa.

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