OLPC breaks new ground in Kandahar

Afghani children at the first OLPC pilot

We’ve just delivered 744 XOs (already in Dari and Pashto) to Zarghona Ana middle school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, bringing the total number of Afghan children with XOs to 3,700.

This has been one of our trickiest deployments to date, and thanks are due to Afghanistan’s ICT and Education Ministries, USAID’s ASMED project, Roshan (Afghanistan’s primary telecoms provider), and Paiwastoon, our local implementers. Read below for the full press release.

XO laptops connect a new generation of Afghan children to the world’s  body of knowledge, sowing seeds for long-term peace and progress

Kandahar, Afghanistan, March 7, 2010 – The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education, today delivered 774 XO laptop computers to students and teachers at the Zarghona Ana middle school here in Kandahar, Afghanistan. To date, OLPC has distributed more than 3,700 XOs in Afghanistan and 1.4 million units worldwide.

Under the leadership of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, the Kandahar project brings together a unique partnership with One Laptop per Child; USAID/Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ASMED); the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology; Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider; and PAIWASTOON, a local private IT company.

“The main goal of this project is to improve the teaching and learning environment in the school while giving students the opportunity to further their education experience at home using the XO laptops,” said Farooq Wardak, Minister of Education of Afghanistan. “Children having access to this type of tool can further their education and allow them to be actively engaged in their own study. They learn, share, create and have the opportunity to collaborate with their fellow students. They become connected to each other, to the world, and to a brighter future.”

Commenting on the project, Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child, said, “The XO laptops will empower a new generation of Afghan citizens to connect with the world, think critically and challenge indoctrinations of intolerance. This is an important development for both the people of Afghanistan and for the world.”

Already translated into Dari and Pashto, the XO laptops will provide access to a digital library with thousands of pages of content. Students will also benefit from having access to 150 educational mini games and interactive versions of curriculum content providing guidance and feedback on self-study exercises. Because the children will be able to bring the laptops home, girls, in particular, will be able to learn in the safety of their own homes and without fear of reprisal for going to school.

The XO laptop, specially designed for rugged environments, is well-suited to the Afghan environment. The XO uses three times less electricity than other laptops and is built in a sealed dust-free system.

About the One Laptop per Child Foundation
The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a non-profit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and others from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are inexpensive enough to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education.

About the Afghanistan Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Afghanistan are the government institutions tasked with improving education and the information technology sectors. They work to collectively embed communication technology and standardize technology in the education sectors and establish platforms to transform society and government institutions to an information-based society and governance.

Media Contacts:
One Laptop per Child
Jackie Lustig – 781-487-4664
Kyle Austin – 781-487-4603

Afghan Ministry of Education Information Communication
Mohamed Salim Hayran
Salim.hayran@moe.gov.af, salim_hayran@yahoo.co.uk
Mobile: (0093) (0) 700399039, 077877146


5 thoughts on “OLPC breaks new ground in Kandahar

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  3. i don’t get why there are so many for children in the us but so less for other countrys?!
    as well as the price is still WAY TO HIGH! 199? what about the 100$laptop? what about even less than that….is it really so expensive to produce these things. still?

    but all in all a good idea.

    • We’d love to drop the price; that is still what it costs us to manufacture and ship. The price has stayed constant as the dollar has weakened, but hasn’t dropped any further yet. And most XOs are not in the US! They are in Peru, Uruguay, and Rwanda. The limitations in Kandahar are the slow speed of a difficult deployment and funds available.

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