Woman On The Edge: Becky Morrison

01/14/2015 8:40 AM |
Photo courtesy of Becky Morrison

Becky Morrison
Founder of Globetops

The existence of Globetops, a non-profit organization that facilitates the connection between people who are in need of technological resources and those that have the means to give said resources, is all due to founder Becky Morrison’s high school friend, who suggested Morrison take an African dance class in the city. Morrison then picked up dance in college and fell in love with traditional West African dance. To further immerse herself in the art form, she traveled several times to Guinea to study it, during which time she first began to consider the various ways to address the lack of technological resources available to those who most need them.

Morrison founded Globetops, a non-profit that connects people who have never had access to a computer of their own with those who are in possession of used, unwanted laptops, because she hoped to simultaneously address issues of both waste and global inequality when it comes to technology. Morrison was sure that instead of throwing old MacBooks onto the 220 ton garbage heap of computer hardware that accumulates in the United States each year, people could put what are often still perfectly functioning computers to use while helping others at the same time. And what’s unique about Globetops is that people who want to donate a computer can pick from an online network of programs from near and abroad (Haiti, Guinea, Nepal, and the USA are all places where donations can be made) where recipients are often involved in fields like science, education, activism, and community service. Morrison tells us that the donated laptops have been used to help projects involving everything from “oral history” and “empowering women,” to “driving school” and even a “cashew winery.” Computers also arrive at the doorstep of people who need them for educational purposes: On the Globetops site, photos pop up for “future architect” and “future lawyer,” and anyone donating can select a match with one of these projects.

This specificity in terms of donation is one of the things that sets Globetops apart. Rather than send donations or once loved objects into the void, Globetops allows donors to see exactly who their gift benefits. It makes the experience of giving all the more real and by creating a very real experience, Globetops hopes to motivate people to continue giving in the future. After two years in operation, the organization has distributed 100 computers. Morrison explained that number could have been higher–50 additional laptops were donated–but the machines didn’t make the cut. “Quality control is important to us,” she explained. “But [unused] laptops are responsibly recycled.”

Globetops has recently expanded their mission beyond simply getting computers to people who can’t afford them and to remote and impoverished regions of the world, and the organization has also teamed up with local businesses such as Internet cafes to create educational centers where people can learn basic computer skills.