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OLPC learning center opens in Kigali; Kagame presides over ceremony

This summer, OLPC is starting two projects in Africa.  One is OLPCorps, which we have covered over the past few months and which you will be hearing a great about from the participants themselves.  The other is the founding of a learning center that has just been founded at the Kigali Institute for Science, Technology and Management [KIST].  As part of this process, the OLPC learning team, including David Cavallo and Juliano Bittencourt, have been in Kigali for some time, laying the groundwork for this week's public launch.  President Kagame himself came to open the center -- here is the official press announcement:

LAUNCHED IN RWANDA BY HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL KAGAME, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA

OLPCorps Teams to Assist in Providing New Educational Opportunities in 17 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kigali, Rwanda, June 9, 2009 -- One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world with access to a modern education, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, is launching in Kigali, Rwanda, a Global Center for Excellence in Laptops and Learning. The purpose of the Center is to create the highest quality examples of learning with connected laptops in schools and communities, support ongoing laptop implementation plans in Rwanda, and create an African regional laptop network.

Leading the world in exemplifying laptops for learning, Rwanda is the natural base for this new center. The government of Rwanda has committed to providing all 2.2 million of its primary school children with laptops by 2012 and to serving as a model for other countries to copy, improve and further innovate. The Center also will develop senior fellows, community learning specialists and technology specialists who will return to their countries to lead efforts nationally, regionally and locally to extend laptop learning programs.

OLPC has experienced great success when support for our mission comes from both the government (top down) as well as from grassroots (bottom up),” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. “The partnership with Rwanda represents a substantial commitment by both OLPC and Rwanda to bring learning to the grassroots and country level, which is exactly where it should be.”

Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, Rwandan Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education said, “The new Center will strengthen the local team working on OLPC rollout in Rwanda, and further support it in terms of capacity development, technology acquisition and innovation, building networks of laptops, maintenance, and content development.”

Today also marks the beginning of a two-week orientation program in Kigali for the first 125 university students participating in OLPCorps, a unique summer grant program for college students across the globe designed to get laptop pilot programs up and running across the African continent.

After completing their training, the students will form 30 teams to be deployed in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa for a 10-week period during which they will work directly with local community partners to integrate the XO laptop into primary education. OLPC will provide each student team with 100 XO laptops, related hardware, and up to $10,000 for operating costs. OLPCorps is the first of its kind, built to tap into the passions of university students who aim to make a difference in their societies by improving access to a modern education.

Comments

Paul Ndolo (not verified) says: This is the greatest and most human empowerment initiative of this century--to give every single child a laptop. I have been following this initiative for sometimes now and i feel deeply that i should join hands to move this initiative fast forward. Please kindly mail me relevant information so that i can be part of this project.
My home country is Kenya and that is where i'm based. I'm a telecommunication Engineer with great interest in getting our rural communities especially pupils connected on the Universal Communication Grid-Internet.
Kudos for this great project and looking forward to working with you. June 15, 2009 at 3 am

Ms. Marsha (not verified) says: This is such a wonderful program. I am so grateful that my son Corey Jackson is one of the university students that is in Sao Tome Africia intergrating this program. June 19, 2009 at 3 pm

Sameer Verma (not verified) says: It is indeed very reassuring to see these events unfold. A lot of hard work has gone into this effort both from organizations and volunteers. All the best to the OLPCorps Africa teams and the Learning Center in Kigali. June 27, 2009 at 11 am

Sameer Verma (not verified) says: Many of the OLPCorps Africa teams can be followed at http://tinyurl.com/olpcorpsafricablogs June 27, 2009 at 11 am

Jam Gray (not verified) says: What an incredible project with limitless potential- it is truly inspirational.
I wish the OLP corps Africa teams all the best of luck ...OLPC is the future !!!
I'll be following the developments with keen interest July 17, 2009 at 10 am

Teena Brenkendorff (not verified) says: Our church Outreach Ministry supports students in a rural location of Rwanda. Can you email information to me so that our organization can participate in providing computers for our sponsored students?
This is such a wonderful project and I look forward to any information you can provide. July 20, 2009 at 2 pm

sj (not verified) says: Teena, please email help at laptop.org with details about the location you support and how you'd like to participate. You can also read more about the Rwanda project at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Rwanda . July 21, 2009 at 2 am

charles b. kirkpatrick (not verified) says: I am interested in knowing whether the African countries of Burundi and Liberia have OLPC projects in process. July 26, 2009 at 2 pm

john dozier (not verified) says: I would like to know if their is any effort going forward in Niger. Our foundation supports a hospital and school in that country and we are currently discussing computers for the school. We would start with about a dozen. The school serves over 100 students. Thanks Dr. John Dozier July 29, 2009 at 4 pm

sj (not verified) says: John, I don't see any news on http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Niger , but thanks for sharing your interest. You might post more about your school to the OLPC grassroots mailing list. August 1, 2009 at 6 pm

Teena Btrenkendorff (not verified) says: Seth,
You requested that I email the help section at laptop.org but I am unable to find that email address on the website. Can you possibly email me either here or at my personal email so that I can contact the help section? The village school is in Kanambe Village and we would like to provide laptops for the apx. 200 students we sponsor, both primary and secondary.
Thank you for your assistance. August 3, 2009 at 2 pm

Intwali Jimmy Parfait (not verified) says: I myself was happy to hear about the olpc program where i personally attended the workshop of olpc in Rwanda,this program contributes much to the development of education in our country and woldwide,i would like to request every body who can help to do it willingly to incrersae knowledge to our young brothers and sisters. August 17, 2009 at 9 am

Internet Evolution - Deborah Nason - Rwanda's Digital Destin (not verified) says: [...] [...] August 17, 2009 at 4 pm

Teena Brnekendorff (not verified) says: Seth,
My church ministry is very excited about this project and would like to find out if our sponsored students in Kanambe viallage are eligble for these laptops.
Thank you for your assistance.
Teena August 28, 2009 at 3 pm

Mario Ndzakane (not verified) says: Dear Sir/Maam September 22, 2009 at 7 am

Mario Ndzakane (not verified) says: I would like to be a part of the olpc programme, this is singly the most empowering tool an African Child and any other child can get. I am an entrepeneur in South Africa and I was shocked that one of the most powerful and richest countries in Africa has less than 500 OLPC-laptops despite the challenges the African child faces in this great nation
I aim to start a movement that will ensure that 1million children have access to a Laptop in 365 days. Kindly advice who to contact for assistance. September 22, 2009 at 7 am

Mario Ndzakane (not verified) says: Mario
Ps Well done to Rwanda for taking the lead in educating our young. September 22, 2009 at 7 am

George Wright (not verified) says: I'm a voluntary consultant in Italy for an African Human Rights NGO in Sierra Leone - The HURRARC. In March, we submitted a project to OLPC Africorps, but were not successful. Hopefully, we may have now found another donor.
Our new project is very similar - to install 100 computers in Sierra Leone schools as a pilot scheme for a future large scale OLPC project, if successful.
Initially, we are designing a 3 month Human Rights & Civics course.
We want to design software to teach human rights.
Our immediate problem is that we have to submit a new project within a week - before October 2nd - and I would like to ask anyone at the Global Center in Rwanda, if they can advise us online about our project design.
We are also asking OLPC if they can sell us 100 computers for this pilot project - bearing in mind the interest our previous application in March has aroused with
Sierra Leone teachers - both the Education Ministry, and the Council of Headteachers there is supporting our application.
in solidarity September 26, 2009 at 12 pm

Mary Wagner-Kimbrel (not verified) says: I've been trying to contact you all morning. Your phone won't take messages and when you hit a "contact" link, it gives an incomplete email address. Please let me know how to contact you other than this blog. Thanks so much! Mary Mary@FinalInspectionCleaning.com October 7, 2009 at 10 am

לפטופ (not verified) says: Very nice in indeed October 28, 2009 at 5 am

Lyn Hotchin (not verified) says: We have a school which is open and running well in Tanop Village, Takeo Province, Cambodia.
We have 977 students eager for an education. If I can get donors, can I access these computers for each of our students in the school?
Thanks so much,
Lyn
Founder of Singing Kites.
http://www.singingkites.org January 1, 2010 at 6 pm

Samuel Omoding (not verified) says: This is an encouraging development for Uganda, and Africa, in general. It is sad of drop in performance/standards of education and yet we have such technology that can help alleviate this trend in our primary and secondary schools. I look forward to being of this initiative sooner than later. Please let me know how I can get involved. Sam January 2, 2010 at 5 am

OLPC Rwanda reaches 2nd Milestone - GeospatialLearning@Prima (not verified) says: [...] year, OLPC launched the Center for Laptops and Learning in Kigali, Rwanda (also, see allAfrica.com). Due to Rwanda’s ambitions to become a technology [...] July 13, 2010 at 2 pm