One Laptop Per Child: South Africa

10Feb09

olpc2

How many of you have heard of MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte and the One Laptop Per Child project he started back in 2005? Basically the project is an initiative to close the digital and educational divides in the world’s poorest countries by providing each child with a rugged low-cost laptop. The laptop was designed specifically for the conditions that these children live in, so if they drop the laptop or spill a liquid on it won’t keep it from working. The project took off in 2005 and has continued to grow in visibility and stature even though they recently had a few setbacks due to the economy. Originally the way the project worked was you purchased a XO latop for a child in a developing country and you would receive one. The Give One Get One program ended on December 31st of 2008. The way the program works now is you simply purchase the XO laptop for a child, however you don’t receive an XO laptop in return.

What I plan on doing over the next few post is breaking down how the continent of Africa and its government has embraced this project. Today I will start by looking at ‘one laptop per child’ in South Africa. The effort to bring 100 XO laptops to Kliptown Youth Program South Africa was launched in March of 2008. According to the wiki site an additional 150 XO laptops were delivered to the Kliptown Youth Progam in November of 2008. Below are the current statistics for the OLPC effort in South Africa:

  • 650 XO laptops have been delivered to youth programs, foundations, and area schools throughout South Africa.
  • OLPC english keyboard is being used.
  • South Africans are being trained by IT consultants like Neo Masilo on how to use and setup the XO laptops in schools throughout South Africa. 

Hopefully the number of XO laptops being shipped to South Africa continues to increase over the next couple of years despite the economic downturn here in the states. I feel optimistic the organization will stay affloat more so because they have increased (at least in Chicago) their marketing efforts on billboards and bus stops which should hopefully drum up additional support for the project. An example of marketing in South Africa is a video of a young boy named Zimi who received an XO laptop. Here is the video:

The One Laptop Per Child project offers many opportunities to volunteer with the project. Please check out their site at http://laptop.org  and learn of the different ways you can get involved with their efforts.

Mikey Digital

Source(s): wiki OLPC South Africa, laptop.org

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