NEXT Woman of the Year Winner on Digital Inclusion
NEXT Woman of the Year Winner on Digital Inclusion and Tackling E-Waste
Dianne Daniels, 2019 Next Woman of the Year Awards, Education
For Dianne Daniels, winning the Education Category of the 2019 NEXT Woman of the Year Awards is more than a personal accolade.
“I was stunned when they announced that I had won. I’m incredibly appreciative of the award but to me it’s greatest value is that it highlights the importance of both digital inclusion and the urgent need to recycle and reuse electronic equipment to keep e-waste out of landfills,” she says.
Dianne is Programme Director for Digital Wings, a charitable trust that works with business and public sector organisations to donate quality IT equipment to charities and community organisations, particularly those working with youth transitioning to employment.
A former teacher, Di Daniels has long been a champion of the underserved and socially excluded.
Fifteen years ago, she recognised the increasing influence of digital technologies and led the Computers in Homes programme from a one-school pilot into a national initiative supporting 20,000 families. Working largely pro bono for two years, she worked alongside computer recyclers, RemarkIT, to create the Digital Wings Trust which links corporate and government organisations with the community for the donation of surplus computer equipment. In 2018 she was awarded the MNZM for Services to Digital Literacy and Education.
“Our world is changing fast and the technologies we need to navigate it are evolving just as rapidly. No- one should be left behind,” she says.
Di is a fervent advocate for the recycling, and, preferably, the reuse of all kinds of e-waste.
“New Zealanders generate 80,000 tonnes of electronic waste every year, that's around 20kg per head of population, one of the highest rates in the world. But we can reuse most of that waste. For example, RemarkIT is able to divert 98% of the e-waste it receives away from landfill.
RemarkIT and Digital Wings have developed a successful model that combines community development and successful business practice but we all need to look at what we use and what we discard in our day-to-day, professional and private lives and work together to find ways to create a sustainable economy around e-waste and plastics.”