For the past year, we have been running a Give Many large-scale donation program with little fanfare, for groups that wish to buy XOs in hundreds and thousands for their own school or regional projects.
This week we rolled out a more detailed program for targeted donations, tentatively called Change the World — so now you have a choice : Give a laptop, Get a laptop, Change the World. (A bit anticlimactic for the Simply Give donors, but they don’t seem to mind.)
We have a sense of what it takes to support these independent projects, and are working to remove barriers to entry. The cost of starting a 100-laptop project in the neediest parts of the world is now under $220 per laptop, including shipping to an international airport, a spare parts kit, and explicit invitations for organizers to the learning and deployment workshops that we organize a few times each year.
We have dropped price tiering by quantity — so 100 laptops cost the same per machine as 1000 — and we are offering a discount for projects targeting the 50 Least Developed Countries and OLPC’s partner countries (the cost for projects in other parts of the world is $259 per laptop) .
The process we had earlier this year took too long to finalize, and we didn’t end up supporting more than a few dozen projects this way. Some of these ended up being tremendously interesting, however; and the effort of trying to define and carry out a good small XO deployment has drawn in some of our most talented volunteers. But we needed a simpler way to support a broader variety of projects, while ensuring that people understood what they were getting and had planned for support and followup with the laptop recipients.
The current model removes many of the variables in a deployment : providing everyone with the same shipping and spares program makes it easier for us to offer them at a large-scale discount, and requiring programs to receive laptops at an international [air]port removes a layer of uncertainty from the customs dance. This also provides an extra incentive for countries taking up large scale deployments, as they become eligible for discounted independent OLPC projects supported by outside foundations and groups.
We’re most interested in your feedback and ideas about how to make this program better. Write in with your experiences as GM donors (or would-be donors) last year, or your dreams of changing life in a school, church, or town that you know.
And we are working to set up forms for people to submit better organized information about their projects. If you have project information that matters to you but that hasn’t been tracked for our efforts to date, let us know.