The future of East African education: EAC and EALA input

At the end of last month, we were invited to sign an MOU with the East African Community (EAC) at the East African Community Investment Conference in Kampala. This was the follow-up to last November’s meeting in Arusha, Tanzania for the 10th Anniversary of the East African Community and Legislative Assembly (EALA). Lidet has been organizing this series of meetings, and helped schedule the week around this latest event.

There was a press conference and signing, with Matt, Lidet, Julia and Sam from OLPC Rwanda, the Secretary General of the EAC, the Speaker of the EALA, Ministers from several countries, parliamentarians from five countries, and Uganda’s Ministers of Education and Technology. Coverage of the event was extensive in Uganda, with some international coverage, and press questions were enthusiastic.

The seriousness of the EAC and EALA was striking. So often lip service is paid, promises to follow up are pledged, but at the end of the day, conversations slip away. But both the Speaker and the SG pledged to move quickly, spoke passionately about the future in education for East Africa, and discussed how to work with individual countries and with the EAC collectively. They also publicly stated olpc East Africa (30 million children) as a goal for 2015.

We discussed our collective commitment to East Africa. And we addressed different ways to find funding to achieve the stated objectives, including drafting a public letter to garner support for the initiative.

The progress in the region is moving swiftly forward. Lidet continues to build regional support from her office in Addis, and we are finding support both within the governments themselves, and with multilateral institutions that support the region. In terms of the countries themselves, we have already been invited back to the region later this year as a result of this MOU to discuss regional saturation projects.

Finally, an obvious point that bears repeating for anyone pursuing similar international work: there is nothing like having advocates on the ground. This trip lasted a bit longer than expected, but our week-long presence was an expediting factor in the immediate commitments we received, and the time spent in person with high-level officials — and the existence of two  offices in the region — was invaluable.

Next in this series: Meeting with President Museveni, and next steps in Uganda

8 thoughts on “The future of East African education: EAC and EALA input

  1. I’m a Kenyan woman aged 35, I’ve been teaching Information Technology at Destiny Computer Training Institute for the last 12 years.

    Last week the school was closed. I would like to offer computer lessons to small children in Kenya; kindly assist me on how to go on.

    The computer lessons are yet to begin in our schools.

  2. I am interested in this olpc program. I Would like to assist as a pastor in making this dream reality here in our country Kenya. Kenya cannot afford to left behind.

  3. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am a Brooklyn New York based ceramic sculptor who had the incredible opportunity to go to Uganda (and Rwanda) in May (2011). I was invited to go and help a friend who was laying the groundwork for a medical clinic and pharmacy in a small fishing village, Myende Landing, on Lake Victoria in Uganda. Prior to embarking on this trip of a lifetime, I was asked to work with the Myende Landing school children doing art projects. In preparation for the visit and the projects, I collected over 100 pounds of art supplies, donated by co-workers, friends, me, and my company, which I brought with me to Myende Landing. The Myende Landing school is a dilapidated building that is not large enough to accommodate all the children requiring the older students to have classes outside. Notebooks consist of chalk boards. Computers are but a dream of one of the teachers who had the opportunity to get a degree in Information Technology (the equivalent of an Associate’s degree) at a school in Kampala. I also had the opportunity to visit another small fishing village, Buyana, on Koome Island. State funded, the school in this fishing village has books and usable classrooms, but also lacks basic school supplies.
    I would like to help both of these schools as they desparately need more modern books and equipment. It would be a dream come true for me and for them to help them get a few solar powered laptops. Would you be so kind as to contact me so that I may discuss with you the possibility and the details of making this become a reality?
    Thank you so much.
    Sincerely,
    Janet Rothholz

  4. Dear friends,
    I have been inspired and very much interested to get your services. I am the country director of Christian schools development program in the rural Uganda and would like our school to access computers given the fact that most schools have never ever got one! Kindly, let me know how we can benefit from your service.
    Thanks,
    Ps Fred.

  5. Deat Sir/Madam,
    Iam interested in knowing about OPLC, I would like to get some computers for one of our rural schools in Uganda,
    blessings,
    Fr.Gerald.

  6. Please, olpc is one thing a country like Kenya requre for its vision 2030. I would like
    to participate to ensure that my poor country has this available for our children. What can I do for this dream to be true? (contacted via email)

  7. I’d love to work with OLPC on a deployment in Duk Payuel, south Sudan. Duk Payuel has Internet capabilities through a satellite at the clinic, but few other resources. Seems like a great match for OLPC. I have a 501.c.3 foundation in place for fundraising, I have good contacts in Sudan, just need to figure out how to work with OLPC.

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