East African Community launches OLPC as a regional Initiative

On Friday, November 20, the East African Community launched One Laptop per Child as a regional partner, during the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Secretariat Office in Arusha, Tanzania.  This annual Summit is the highest organ of the East African Community and it gives general directions and impetus for the development and achievement of the objectives of the Community.

Matt Keller, head of OLPC’s Global Advocacy, made a moving and compelling presentation to the assembled audience and heads of state, including President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, and H.E. Amani Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar.  The audience included the EAC Council of Ministers, other members of EAC and EALA, and Honorable Speakers.  Invited guests included foreign dignitaries and Chief Executives of regional and international organizations, and members of the European Parliament, United Nations, African Development Bank, and COMESA.

Following Matt’s presentation, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu (current Secretary General of the EAC) announced the launch of OLPC as a regional partner.  A memorandum of Understanding between EAC and OLPC will be signed before the end of the year.  Matt met the six Presidents and gave each of them an XO.  Since our learning team moved to Rwanda to set up a learning center in Kigali, the region has become increasingly important to OLPC.  It was a great honor for Matt and I to attend this historic event, and together with everyone at OLPC we look forward to working with the EAC, EALA and the People of East Africa to bring laptops to children in the region.

6 thoughts on “East African Community launches OLPC as a regional Initiative

  1. I do support the iniatiative of granting our poor children the said laptop to every one. This is very good idea but one thing to thing more is how to get electric supply because each of us knows that most students almost up to 70% have no acces to electric supply and dry battery ( rechargable or not ) may be the best source of electricty up to 19,5V.

    Always dry batteries are available at all local shops.

    Hence i propose to equip them with robust battery device previously used in radios and grammophones.
    Then the laptop will be advantageous.

  2. Pingback: East African Community OLPC launch | One Laptop per Child

  3. The MOU under discussion would state one laptop per child as a primary objective for the five member states (plus Zanzibar which is semi-autonomous). While MOUs are often non-binding, and not something that OLPC generally promotes, in this case it may be appropriate because of the nature of the EAC and the extraordinary scale of the objective.

    To have Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania memorialize political commitment to the implementation of one laptop per child in a document does have some inherent worth. The hard part — as always — is the follow up, which will include helping to get the resources necessary for implementation. To that end, I expect the MOU will include language that makes it clear that each country will work with the EAC and OLPC to acquire the necessary funding.

    I have reason to be optimistic about the EAC more than usual primarily because President Kagame is such an extraordinary advocate. His passion for olpc is infectious, and has clearly influenced his neighboring countries.

    More to come in the months ahead, and we will update the blog with news on follow up meetings with the various Ministers/Presidents.

  4. Great press release, and probably a good meeting too, but what does it mean in real terms? There are already too many announcements like this that came to naught.

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