Fund for the University of Namibia

Fund for the University of Namibia

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 1994 22:52:08 EST From: Gregory C. Gugel Newsgroups: Subject: Used Computers to (Namibia?)

======================================================================== 310 Gideon,

Unfortunately, I cannot help you in regards to getting computers to Ghana. However, if you have any extra computers, you could help us. We've just opened a new university, The University of Namibia (classes started last week), and are in desperate need of computers. I would probably be able to arrange free shipment, via Air Namibia, from Frankfurt.

I've enclosed our FUN CAP mission statement below. Please contact me, the Fund for the University of Namibia, or the Namibian Embassy in Washington (or Bonn, though I don't have the address), if you could help us. Our students would truly appreciate it.

Gregory C. Gugel

Doctoral Candidate & Lecturer in African Affairs / The American University

Assistant Professor / The University of Namibia / Windhoek, Republic of Namibia

School of International Service The American University 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20016-8071 USA

Phone: USA (202)885-2463 Fax: USA (202)885-2494 _________

Dr. Joeseph Diescho, Director The Fund for the University of Namibia 833 United Nations Plaza New York, New York 10017

Phone: USA (212)350-2927 Fax: USA (212)682-6174 _________

Ambassador Tuliameni Kalomho Embassy of the Republic of Namibia 1605 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20009

Phone: USA (202)986-0540 Fax: USA (202)986-0443 _________




Greetings! You hold in your hand a dynamic plan of action, intended to help to meet the computer needs of the University of Namibia, its students, faculty and staff well into the 21st Century. The global information revolution has, by now, overtaken even the most resistant and skeptical. It must be the responsibility of the University of Namibia to provide its students, faculty and staff a supportive and stimulating atmosphere for their intellectual pursuits and development-- an atmosphere denied to the vast majority of Namibians until recently. The university must provide the skills and tools needed to make its students competitive not only at home, but also within the greater context of the emergent global village. The Fund for the University of Namibia's Computer Acquisition Program (FUN CAP) intends to contribute to the overall mission of the university in a very significant way, by provisioning computer hardware, software and supplies via direct solicitation of the international computer industry.

FUN CAP is especially promising as it empowers and encourages the leaders of the world's largest computer corporations to actively assist us in meeting our computing needs. Time is of the essence! Good will, both towards the nation and the university itself, is extremely strong. We offer our potential donors not only the means to assist Namibia and its emergent university, but we do so in a way that satisfies them on several important levels. Participation in FUN CAP offers donors the opportunity to help in an important aspect of nation- building. Moreover, it provides immediate marketing advantages within Namibia and throughout Southern Africa. Additionally, all donations channelled through the Fund qualify as tax-deductible under United States law. However, we must act now to capitalize on an especially fortuitous shift in computer industry manufacturing standards, as a result of the recent introduction of the Pentium Computer Processing Unit (CPU) chip.

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Fund for the University of Namibia's Computer Acquisition Program is to secure for the University of Namibia computer hardware, software and other equipment, thereby furthering the university's overall teaching and research missions, as defined in the University of Namibia Act of August 1992. Such computer hardware, software and other equipment will be solicited from all major international computer industry manufacturers. The desire of this program is to secure such equipment, in the form of charitable donations, at little or no cost to the Fund or the university itself.

Computer Industry Background:

Computer industry norms are constantly in flux. The last three years have seen marked advances in CPU chip technologies (the "brain" of a computer). The standard chip at the beginning of the 1990s was the 80386 chip manufactured by Intel Corporation. Other companies, such as Advanced Micro Devices (ADM) and Cyrix, produced replications of Intel products. A major lawsuit filed by Intel against ADM, alleging patent infringement, accelerated a chip "race" between these competitors. Intel released 80486 chips, followed more recently by the release of their new Pentium chip. Even though the Pentium chip is just now becoming readily available to consumers, manufacturers still have 80386-based computers in their stocks--computers which are now two generations old, and therefore severely outdated by industry standards.

This fortuitous timing bodes well for the accomplishment of FUN CAP goals. These goals are congruent with the manufacturers' need to rid their warehouses of such equipment--if a compelling case is made to motivate their active participation in our program. The donation of such "outdated" equipment will be encouraged through a multi-faceted solicitation effort (outlined below). One should not be misled about the quality of the equipment which we strive to acquire. "Outdated" is an extremely relative term in the computer industry, and must be understood in the context of a highly competitive market. Indeed, the most basic computers available today far outperform even the state of the art of a decade ago. 80386-based computers will meet all but the university's most complex computing needs well into the next century.

Solicitation Strategy:

Donation solicitation is an exercise in salesmanship. Donators must be inspired to act. Donation impulses are acted upon immediately, or not at all. Project success hinges on targeting key decision-makers with an effective presentation strategy.

Under the FUN CAP plan of action Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all major computer hardware and software manufacturers will be contacted directly, initially via mail. CEOs are crucial decision- makers for several reasons: (a) they have the corporation's "big picture" in mind when making decisions; (b) they delegate responsibility with authority; and (c) it is easier to work down the chain of command than up. However, an effective presentation is equally important to success.

We seek to convince CEOs that FUN CAP is a worthwhile cause in which to participate. CEOs should be made to feel that their participation will make a tangible impact--that they personally have the power to make a difference in the world. The University of Namibia, due to the contemporary history of the republic, lends itself to such a presentation. Just as the timing within the computer industry is ripe for encouraging donations, so are the developmental histories of both the nation and the university.

The initial contact letter must highlight the myriad reasons, from the point of view of both the corporations and the university, why the donation of computer equipment is essential.

Although they wouldn't perhaps consider it in such explicit terms, CEOs welcome the opportunity to help a developing nation at a critical time in its history. In other words, they want to feel (both personally and in a business sense) that they are empowered to make a difference.

Furthermore, many CEOs will be excited about the potential to expand their markets in Southern Africa. Nelson Mandela's recent call for the lifting of sanctions against the Republic of South Africa provides yet another window of opportunity for FUN CAP success. Assisting the University of Namibia gives computer corporations a useful springboard to the dynamic South African market. Finally, helping the Fund provides computer corporations with a welcome tax write-off. Combined, these reasons will synergistically motivate CEOs to participate in our program.

The initial contact packet will consist of a personally tailored letter requesting the donation of computer hardware, software and other related supplies. Additionally, the packet will include information specifically about the Fund for the University of Namibia (to establish legitimacy), as well as the brochure, University of Namibia: Its Philosophy, Its Focus and Direction (to make the university more "tangible" to potential donors).

Reactions will undoubtedly be varied. CEOs often hear from various groups soliciting assistance. However, Apple Computer Corporation's Apples for the Students program, as well as International Business Machine's (IBM) Educational Purchase Program highlight the industry's commitment to education. An optimal response would promise direct participation in the program. Conversely, a outright rejection is not necessarily an indicator of defeat. Most vexing is no response at all, for one cannot be sure why this has occurred. Nonetheless, FUN CAP is prepared to deal effectively with each of these contingencies.

Any indication of interest in assisting the university must be seen as a substantial hurdle cleared. Such instances must not be squandered. Therefore, personal contact must be effected to encourage further participation on the part of that individual or corporation. Such contact has the express purpose of gauging commitment, and more importantly, addressing the concerns of the decision-maker in deciding to assist us. FUN CAP must minimize the obstacles to donor participation. The program seeks to reduce the decision-makers responsibility to the decision itself. Only then can negotiations for the transfer of equipment occur. However, donations will not always be so readily forthcoming.

It is predicted that a substantial percentage of all contacts will express no interest in the project. All will not be lost in such a case. It is likely in such a scenario that the decision-maker will indeed want to help, but is, for numerous reasons, unable to. We will have ask, in other words, for more than he or she is able to deliver. The program therefore seeks to give such CEOs the opportunity to help in another important way. In a follow-up letter alternate sources of used computers will be solicited from the company's customer base of recent large-scale purchasers. Such non-computer industry companies will then be asked to consider donating the computers made redundant by their recent purchases. This strategy will effectively expands FUN CAP's potential donor base, thereby increasing the likelihood of actual donation.

Finally, there will indeed be instances when no reply is received at all. These companies must not be written off. A follow up letter which reintroduces the program, while at the same time suggesting customer leads (as highlighted in the previous paragraph) will increase the potential for eventual positive responses to the university's needs.

The Computer Acquisition Program is a dynamic program which continuously encourages positive responses. FUN CAP will be effective for two important reasons: (a) it convinces its target audience, computer industry CEOs, of an urgent need, in terms favorable to themselves and their corporations; and (b) it empowers those targeted CEOs to make a decision to make a difference. Even when initially unsuccessful, this strategy offers decision-makers alternate opportunities to assist the University of Namibia. Results should be promising indeed.


The Fund for the University of Namibia's Computer Acquisition Plan intends to meet the university's computing needs well into the 21st Century. It seeks initially to obtain 300-500 computers from major international computer manufacturers. Additionally, it seeks to acquire software and other related equipment. The Computer Acquisition Program primarily encourages the donation of such equipment. Furthermore, the Computer Acquisition Program expects, and indeed requires, the active support and assistance of the Fund, the University and the Republic of Namibia as a whole, when and however needed. FUN CAP will be an ongoing project dedicated to meeting the University of Namibia's computer needs. As such, it will be critically evaluated on a semi-annual basis by the project manager, the director of the Fund, and the Vice-Chancellor of the university. Finally, it strongly encourages emulation of its structure, content and mission by others who seek to address the diverse capital and equipment needs of the university.


FUN CAP seeks to be self sustaining. However, the project requires limited start-up assistance. To insure the legitimacy of the program among potential donors, the project manager and other staff must be officially affiliated with The Fund for the University of Namibia. Donors should be able to contact the Fund directly for verification of such status. Donors are also likely to contact the Embassy of the Republic of Namibia, in Washington, D.C. FUN CAP respectfully requests the active support and assistance of Ambassador Kalomho and his staff. Potential donors must feel secure in the knowledge that their donations will be channelled to the University of Namibia.

Additionally, the Computer Acquisition Program requests limited financial and material resources. Fund letterhead stationery and business cards will enhance staff legitimacy in their dealings with donors. Some funds, or other suitable arrangements, for postage and telephone access will be required to commence initial contacts, and to effect follow up efforts. Facilities for document preparation and photocopying will be provided free of charge by the School of International Service of The American University. Finally, the project manager, and any support staff, will provide services on a voluntary basis, in the interests of the University of Namibia only.


The budget shall be negotiated between the project manager and the Fund's director. Frugality shall be the overriding principle in determining the budget. FUN CAP seeks only to cover its most basic operating expenses. It seeks at every opportunity to reduce expenses, to the benefit of the university.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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