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.”
This week, Argentina's president Cristina Kirchner oversaw the launch of the La Rioja deployment and the handout of XOs to roughly 2,000 students. This was the public start to the 60,000-student deployment announced this spring, named the Joaquín V. González program after the distinguished politician and educator. The program will provide an XO to every primary school student and teacher in the province by next year.
Sabrina Díaz Rato reported on the event, with shout-outs to Claudia Urrea and Martin Langhoff, who are currently in Argentina helping the learning and technical teams of the project get off to a good start. But the most interesting part of the article comes at the end, where she summarizes related efforts by Walter Flores, Argentina's Education, Science and Technology minister.
[caption id="attachment_2384" align="aligncenter" width="439" caption="Christina Kirchner presents an XO to a vested young girl"][/caption]
Flores sees La Rioja's program becoming a model for an implementation that is interesting to other regions, and mentions some specific neighboring provinces looking for advice - the Argentine provinces of Catamarca, Corrientes, and Mendoza, Chile's Atacama region, and the Bolivian municipality of Yacuiba.
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OLPC learns and grows from every distribution, small or large, and actively seeks out feedback, documentation and analysis. OLPC partners and communities are critical contributors in this feedback loop and likewise are usually interested in how monitoring and evaluation studies from different countries can offer insight into successes and challenges of one laptop per child programs.Read the rest of this entry
At OLPC this morning Rumi Chunara, PhD, a Research Fellow at HealthMap and Harvard Medical School gave an inspiring introduction to her work - http://healthmap.org/en/. It's a live site that tracks global health issues through local submissions -- tracking needs that are pressing a community most direly.
OLPC has been conducting research and fieldwork that focuses on education for children in crises, cutting across areas of crucial needs such as health and shelter. The effects of tools like Health Map and Ushahidi linked to an XO for family and kid support can have untold benefits for providing life saving information to a community.
OLPC's global community of contributors and volunteers is gathering for its largest ever meeting to date, on the weekend of October 22-24, in San Francisco! Thanks to the OLPC San Francisco Community led by Professor Sameer Verma, and our gracious host San Francisco State University. If you want to take a stand for global education rights For All in this 21st century, now is your time -- OLPC's Global Community is a friendly and supportive network inviting you too to Stand & Deliver