It pains me to post this, and we have striven to avoid this over the past few months, but it is unavoidable. We are streamlining our operations this month, cutting staff and contractors by roughly 50% (from every team) and laying out broad targets for the coming year.
Here is Nicholas’s announcement on the upcoming changes:
Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources. Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people. While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries. We thank team members who are departing for their contributions to this important mission.
This restructuring is also the result of an exciting new direction for OLPC. Our technology initiatives will focus on:
1. Development of Generation 2.0
2. A no-cost connectivity program
3. A million digital books
4. Passing on the development of the Sugar Operating System to the community.
With regard to deployments:
1. Latin America will be spun off into a separate support unit
2. Sub-Saharan Africa will become a major learning hub
3. [In addition to Sub-Saharan Africa] The Middle East, Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan will become a major focus
Separately, OLPC will be dedicated to bringing the cost of the laptop down to zero for the Least Developed Countries — the $0 Laptop.
Restructuring brings with it pain for friends and colleagues who are being let go. These are people who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of a noble cause, and to say that we are exceeding grateful for the time, the ideas, the energy and the commitment they have given OLPC does not — cannot — adequately express our admiration or our gratitude. The fact that there are 500,000 children around the world who have laptops is testament to their extraordinary work and is already a key part of OLPC’s legacy.
The future brings with it some uncertainty and difficulty, but also the excitement that comes with the rededication to a cause, and a new path that will allow us to realize the moral purpose of OLPC. I hope that each one of you will remain supportive of OLPC, and its mission of opening up a universe of knowledge to the world’s poorest children living in the most remote parts of the Earth.
— Nicholas Negroponte
Please stay tuned – more updates will follow on the points above. For now, your comments and feedback are welcome, as always.