My name is Wendy Lewin and I live in Cape Town, South Africa. I see that I am meant to introduce myself, but I am not sure if this is where I do it, or whether I need to make a different post to do that. So, a little intro:
At my very best, I am a creative “grassroots” pioneer who gets nerdy and intense around the intersections of theology, justice, sociology, psychology, anthropology, ecology and how we can create better communities of mutual flourishing and belonging. At my worst, I am overwhelmed, paralysed by the complexity of the inequality and injustice in our world and so often save things for another day when it feels less overwhelming!
So, I am now trying to overcome my worst self a year after I first started looking into Fairphones in South Africa!! Our situation here is that many people I know would love to know that their tech is not coming at the price of other people’s lives and welfare. The biggest stumbling block (as far as I can see) is that South Africans usually buy phones on contract (including the device and data/airtime plans) because to buy in a once-off lumpsum is just seriously expensive. Having thought for a while how I might start an advocacy movement to get our cellphone/network providers to include the Fairphone as one of their options, I have decided to start smaller and simpler and hopefully see something come from this.
My idea is to start a “buying club” (if you are South African: a “stokvel”), where a group of people put money into a shared account over time and, when one person needs a new phone, we use the money available in the account to get a phone for that person. That person might have only been paying in for a short while and therefore will continue paying in until the cost of their phone has been covered, but it means that we are making it possible for people to save together and buy together so that slowly we can get more and more Fairphones into the hands of South Africans. I am starting with my family and my work-colleagues, but I am hoping to build it in such a way that it could be expanded and/or replicated over time.
What I would love to know from this community:
- Has anyone tried this before and can you give me any pointers for what to plan for and what to avoid?
- Is there anyone else in South Africa on this forum who would love to get together and dream with me (I am in Cape Town - Plumstead, so be exact)?
- I would love to have some spare parts available so that we don’t have to send off to Europe each time someone needs something (convenience seems to be everything nowadays!) - can anyone advise me on which components and how many of which I should keep in “stock” for between 20 - 30 Fairphoners (my family is quite enamoured with the term “Fairies” at the moment!)
- Any thoughts you had when reading this that might help me would be greatly appreciated!
All the best