Betty Crocker helps kids give back through OLPC

General Mills is reprising their “Win and Give” program from last year to help kids win an XO laptop and give one to a child in an African deployment. Last year this resulted in almost 1000 donated laptops.

From now through May, specially-marked packages of Betty Crocker fruit snacks will feature a “Win & Give” campaign, giving people a chance to win laptops themselves and donate laptops to children in Africa.

The campaign shows moms and kids that even the smallest act can make a big difference, and that giving to others can be fun. “Research shows that providing children with opportunities and experiences to feel the joy and impact of giving to others helps them grow into kind, empathetic and respectful adults,” said Dr. Michele Borba*. “The ‘Win & Give’ campaign truly makes a difference and it’s so easy for kids in the U.S. to get involved.”

Having a giving heart is important, as 93 percent of moms would exude more pride if their children grew into giving adults than if they were wealthy, according to the Kids’ Altruism Indicator**. But, between work, school and after-school activities, it can be hard for families to find the time to give back. Dr. Borba recommends five ways families can incorporate giving into their everyday lives: Tap into kids’ passions. For instance, an animal lover may get excited about helping at a local animal shelter. Encourage children to become involved in causes they care about. Let them lead the charge and follow-up with support. When watching the news, take the time to explain hot button issues and how people have been affected by local disasters, like hurricanes or tornados.

Kids are compassionate and may proactively want to help by donating clothes or writing letters to those affected. Especially when they know they can make a difference. Take that moment to mobilize compassion – “What can we do?” is a great question that empowers children to lead the way. Be on the lookout for local opportunities to help.

Each package contains a code that can be entered at to see if they’ve won an XO laptop; for every laptop one, another is donated to a child in Africa.  The website allows parents and kids to see the impact laptops have on kids in Rwanda with videos from the students and teachers who received the laptops, and includes tips and comments from Dr. Borba.

* Michele Borba is an educator, author, and parenting expert working with General Mills.
** The Kids Altruism Indicator survey was conducted by Kelton Research in December 2010, among children ages 7-12.

Happy New Year! Reflections on OLPC in 2011

As we prepare for 2012, here is a quick look back at the past year of OLPC. We distributed our two millionth laptop (now 2.5M), and our largest programs in Latin America (Peru) and Africa (Rwanda) grew steadily. Austria’s Julieta Rudich and Journeyman Pictures produced a fine documentary about Plan Ceibal in Uruguay (the world’s first complete olpc program), and Peru provided XOs and compatible robotics kits to all of their urban schools.

In East Africa, we expanded our work with African nations and donors to improve education for children across the continent. We were invited by both the African Union and the UN to open an OLPC office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Addis is a major hub for African diplomacy, and the support there for our mission has been stunning. We have become a full partner of the East African Community in Tanzania, and our recent country report on Rwanda has driven further interest in the region.

A Rwandan student workshop in Kigali

In the Middle East, we continued working with the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the UN to provide thousands of Palestinian children with XO laptops, integrating them into schools. It took ten months to work the laptops through customs in Gaza. But at a forum in Ramallah in June, teachers from Bethlehem and Gaza showed how OLPC was helping to end isolation and to excite learning for their children. Third grade girls in refugee camps are teaching others and writing computer programs. The testimony of these women to the power of persistence was extraordinary.

In Afghanistan, we founded a regional OLPC Afghanistan office, and briefed General Petraeus on the project. We believe that one laptop per child and connectivity, across the country, will transform this generation and their communities. Today we are working with the Education Ministry to support four thousand children in 10 schools, and are looking into expanding in Herat Province.

On the technical side, we focused on driving down laptop power needs by switching over to ARM chips in the XO-1.75 and upcoming XO-3 tablet. The tablet should be chargable by a solar panel that could serve as its carrying-case. We are studying new ways to help children learn to read, including where there are no schools at all.

In society, the idea that every child should have access to their own computer and to the Web – as a basic part of learning, whatever their family income – continued to spread. In addition to ongoing national programs in Argentina, Portugal, and Venezuela (for secondary students), two full-saturation laptop programs for older students are developing in India – an inexpensive tablet is being distributed to university students, and in Tamil Nadu dual-boot laptops from six different manufacturers are being provided to secondary students.

Reaching the least-developed countries in the world remains our goal and our most difficult challenge. While our largest deployments are funded directly by implementing governments, rural successes may be driven by foundations, NGOs, and individual donations. OLPC Rwanda, today one of the largest educational technology projects in Africa and part of a ten-year government plan, was seeded with ten thousand laptops given by Give One, Get One donors.

So to our supporters: thank you for your development, contributions, and collaboration, your feedback from the field, and your encouragement! This is all possible thanks to you.

Happy New Year to all — may 2012 bring you inspiration and discovery. We have some excellent surprises planned for the new year. And we would love to hear your reflections as well — please share stories from your own school projects in 2011.

Change the World program wraps up

We have been running a Change the World [CTW] program since November, which (along with the Give Many program which preceded it) allowed groups that wanted 100 or more XOs to get them at close to their raw production & shipping cost.

This was a nice way to engage potential G1G1 supporters and others who were interested in supporting an entire school or educational work done by local charities.  It has had only limited popularity, however, and minimal overlap with our goal of getting countries and districts to embrace olpc for their children at scale.  As part of refocusing on our mission this year we are wrapping up CTW.

This is a program we would love to support if we had time to do everything — it has produced some lovely stories, and on rare occasions starts a process that leads to larger, lasting commitments.  In time we may make a similar program available again, and welcome feedback here from those who have taken part, or considered taking part, over the past year.

If you are waiting to finalize details on a Change the World request, including longer-term fundraising plans, please do so this week (emailing us; those who have written in already should have received similar updates by email).  The page describing the program will stay up for a short while longer, and all current CtW conversations and transactions will be completed, even after the program has ended.

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G1G1 International Update

The first round of international Give One, Get One orders have been shipped out — every order placed before December 16 should have arrived by now, in time for Christmas.  Some were sent from Miami, and the European orders went out from Brussels with EU adapters and a special G1G1 Europe thank-you note.

Orders between now and December 31 should ship out by mid-January.  We are able to ship to all of the 45 countries mentioned in the original announcement, and are investigating and adding more countries as there is specific interest.  If you want to send laptops to a country not currently on our list, leave a comment here, and I will see what we can do.

Barring an extension, International G1G1 will end on December 31st.  Be sure to place your orders now if you are interested.

It currently still appears that one is preordering on Amazon, and that the XO is “available January 15” — that means that orders made now will be shipped by Jan 15 or else refunded.  This is the way information is sent to us for fulfillment – a compromise we have made to cover countries everywhere, since AMZN was only able to handle shipping within the US.  Donors in a few specific countries (Australia, Hong Kong, France) can choose to take part in G1G1 directly through a local site, as a tax-deductable donation.

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Dailymotion update: Site Skins


As part of our fabulous contest with Dailymotion, they are skinning a few of their sites to promote the the contest and Give One Get One program.

Dailymotion's banner for their Poland site


So-far Dailymotion has skins up in the following countries: Brazil Poland Netherlands

I am really impressed browsing around DM. They have videos and portals for more languages/countries than I realized.