The $50 family contribution

From time to time during the 17-year history of Computers in Homes, schools have requested that we waive the requirement for families to have to pay the $50 contribution towards the cost of the programme. Historically, we have taken a firm line on this and insisted that families make this commitment for the following reasons:

  • the principle underlying the concept of a family contribution is that people value things more if they have to pay for them (the ‘skin  in the game’ principle);
  • the $50 fee was set as a nominal amount in the year 2000 and has remained unchanged ever since;
  • nationally, the family contribution comes to $75,000 each year and this income is a small but necessary part of the CIH budget;
  • families who struggle to find a spare $50 have been encouraged to make a $5 payment each week during training; schools are usually happy to accept these payments;
  • programmes like Manaiakalani that started in a decile 1a school have proven that even families in the lowest income communities can find money for technology when they see the value; Manaiakalani families typically pay $3.50 per week over 3 years to pay off a digital device for their children;
  • most families quickly see the value in CIH – they often view it as an affordable way to procure a computer;
  • families will incur other costs in joining the digital world, such as an internet connection;  if families cannot afford $50, then we do need to think carefully about whether they will be able to afford other ongoing ‘digital’ costs.

That said, there have been exceptions.  A recent one was the Kaikoura earthquake;  the fee was waived for CIH families in training at the time.  There have also been instances where schools have recognised specific situations of financial hardship and have procured other resources to cover the family fee for selected families; this is not unusual in most schools where Principals have a hardship fund to support families with camp fees or other discretionary expenses.  In some areas, external funding from local Rotary groups or businesses have been used to contribute towards the family contribution.

So our position remains the same as for the last 17 years, i.e. all participating families must pay the $50, although at the discretion of the school, assistance can be provided from other resources (within the school or externally).

We are aware that most schools accept this approach, and will not allow the computer to be taken home until the $50 payment has been made.  In exceptional cases of poverty (as assessed by the school), we have agreed from time to time to reduce the amount invoiced to the school, where efforts have been made to get a family to pay, but they have failed to do so.

CIH Half-Year Report Published (at last!)

It has been a bit of a mission, but we finally have our half-year report in print. Copies are being mailed tomorrow (Friday 21 April) to our partner organisations and other external stakeholders. Carol will be sending copies to all coordinators for your Steering Committees and other local stakeholders. If you need more copies, contact Carol. The winning cover photo was a Westport family – Denise Henley has already delivered an acknowledgement to the family before leaving on her 6-week holiday.

Now it is only two and bit months before I’ll be chasing again for copy and photos for our annual report. So how about starting now to make sure you have one or two photos in the repository that sum up your year! Please load hi-res photos with captions to the CIH Annual Report 2017 directory. PLEASE DO NOT LOAD THEM INTO YOUR OWN FOLDER AS THIS MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR VERONICA TO FIND THEM!!

Spark Jump – Changing address

A reminder to coordinators supporting Spark Jump that families are not permitted to use their Spark Jump modem like a mobile hotspot. It is a breach of their agreement with Spark Foundation if they relocate their modems without formally advising them (through us). If modems are used out of area, this will create an alert in the Spark network and we will be asked to explain why.

This situation cropped up this week when a member of one of our CIH families relocated to another area and took the Spark Jump modem with him so that he could continue to use his phone at the discounted rates.

The coordinator knew the family involved was house-bound and could not understand how this could have happened. My initial reaction was that we had mixed up our IMEI numbers somehow (sorry Kristina, I should have known better!!). The coordinator got on the phone immediately and asked the family to quote the IMEI number, which was correct. On further questioning, she admitted that her son had taken the modem to Wellington for two days earlier in the week, which is what was detected by Spark.

Spark Jump Reporting

Coordinators involved in the Spark Jump programme will notice some changes in the google sheets used for reporting. Some key changes:

Cells B1 to J1: Quick links to key Spark Jump resources and online forms
Cells B2-C2: “INSTRUCTIONS” quick link to full explanatory of all columns
Column K – child’s school; no need to record name or birth date – these columns have now been hidden
Columns N-P: shaded grey; only for Kristina’s use when allocating modems
Column R: Date Kawa of Care completed online; copies automatically got to the family as well as Spark Foundation and Kristina
Columns V – Y: Report back from families. Families should report back using the online form and we will send them a bonus $15 voucher by way of acknowledgement.
Columns AB-AE: for use when something changes, like a change of address or a modem being returned.

2degrees now “unlimited”

Wonderful news – 2degrees has officially confirmed their offer of an unlimited package for all CIH families, past, present and future at the current monthly rate of $65.   This new offer applies immediately for all new families and will be applied progressively over the next month as accounts are renewed for existing families – whether they are currently on a sponsored packaged (initial 12 months) or have migrated to an ongoing connection with 2degrees.

Please make sure all trainers and technicians are aware of this change. Coordinator Packs, etc will be updated over the next few days. Please amend your printed versions.