African Union and OLPC commit to educational transformation work throughout Africa

The African Union [AU] and One Laptop per Child today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they commit to provide laptops to primary school students throughout Africa.  Matthew Keller, OLPC’s Vice President of Global Advocacy, and Lidet Tilahun, Vice President of International Outreach, were present for the signing at AU’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The AU has committed itself to work with OLPC in developing large-scale laptop projects, and to work with OLPC on seeking funding from prospective donors as well as recipient countries for these projects. OLPC and the AU will work together to leverage the advantages of the XO laptop and its award-winning Sugar operating system in transforming primary school education, and to promote strategies for better access to laptops and connectivity.

“OLPC’s partnership with the African Union represents another significant step toward a world in which every child has access to a world-class education, to the world’s body of knowledge, and to each other,” said Keller. “The African Union is dedicating itself not simply to One Laptop per Child, but to a world in which the children become agents of change – making things, teaching each other and their families and affecting the social development of their community.”

Commissioner Jean-Pierre Ezin, the AU Commissioner for Science and Technology, said, “Getting connected laptops filled with dynamic educational content into the hands of children throughout Africa will change the way this generation of children thinks and learns. The AU is eager to realize what could be a profound development as a result of advanced technology in the way learning happens both in and out of school, the way that books are read, and the way that education happens inside a classroom. This is a very ambitious project for which we will have to partner with various people and institutions to mobilize and find the resources required to meet the objective of educational transformation.”

12 thoughts on “African Union and OLPC commit to educational transformation work throughout Africa

  1. African Union. Imho, an organization with really powerful people and then NOTHING, ZERO, NADA result. Not a single laptop or test project implemented. Even when the top of the OLPC people go over, explain, figures, investment numbers, time frames, etc. On the nothing nothing nothing. Can anybody explain this? I’m just trying to understand.

  2. Thanks to the project,However,this will work better if political entities like the AU are not involved. Usually politicians therein hijack such projects as the case with HIV/Aids projects.I think beneficiary schools should directly be involved.
    On the other hand,this project could work better for orphaned schools first then others last.

  3. How about Southern Sudan, about to become a separate country in July? We are representatives of a development organisation going to Southern Sudan to explore making links with the local Episcopal church in July – in a remote area where there is no electricity in much of the area, and no resources in the schools.

  4. For a country like Rwanda whose government already started this initiative on its own, does this MoU affect them or does it in any way complement the efforts made?
    Also, from my knowledge, Rwanda was among the first to start the program in the continent, What is the ‘most’ current state of the OLPC program in Rwanda?

  5. I am very interested in participating in the humanitarian work in any of the African countries tied to training in the schools on these laptops. I’m currently working on a small computer lab for a small school in sub-Sahara Africa. I’d be interested in assisting (training teachers/students) in Africa on the xo laptops.

  6. I am a missionary in Western Ethiopia. How quickly can we see this distribution of computers? How do schools sign up to qualify for the program? Without many books, the kids out here could benefit from such a program.

    I have a street kids program for over 50 kids, and I am associated with a few schools here that really need help. Do we need to raise funds for the computers?

    • Hello Monica, yes you would need to raise funds for computers for a new school. There are existing schools in Ethiopia that are run by the government – while they do not work with outside programs, you may be able to share experiences. You can contact lidet for more information about our work in Ethiopia specifically.

  7. Brian, that’s a good question. It means that we can discuss details with individual countries more readily – they don’t have to each vet the program for suitability, as their bloc has expressed broad support for it – and can focus on how, not whether, this could work in each country.

    It also suggests direct support from the AU, for instance in looking for funds and human resources, in planning for future regional meetings, and advocating for long-term educational planning. All of these things may help existing smaller projects in Africa that are looking for ways to grow.

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