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, 2009One 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.

24 thoughts on “OLPC learning center opens in Kigali; Kagame presides over ceremony

  1. I am a primary school teacher,which has 549 students ,8 teachers in banyo ,Adamaoua region, Cameroun.
    If i can get donors,can i or we access tablet computers for each of our teachers in the school? because we are teaching ICT théoricaly since 2years.
    Please i am in need of Laptop or Tablet for education
    Thank you very much

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  3. Hey TEENA B.
    You used to say that you church ministry was excited about OLPC project and would like to find out if your sponsored students in (Kanambe village) was eligible for OLPC project, did get any assistance?

    Jean Paul

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  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Dear Sir/Maam

    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.

    Mario
    Ps Well done to Rwanda for taking the lead in educating our young.

  9. 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

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  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. I am interested in knowing whether the African countries of Burundi and Liberia have OLPC projects in process.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

    Many of the OLPCorps Africa teams can be followed at http://tinyurl.com/olpcorpsafricablogs

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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