OLPC in Afghanistan: Briefing Note

Part of an ongoing series on OLPC in Afghanistan.

In their recent publication “Briefing Note – One Laptop Per Child in Afghanistan,” authors Lima Ahmad (AIMS), Kenneth Adams (AIMS), Mike Dawson (PAIWASTOON), and Carol Ruth Silver (MTSA) make one thing very clear: Afghanistan requires an innovative approach to improve their education system.

“The conventional remedy of building more schools, training more teachers and providing more materials would require a six fold increase to the education budget (in the order of $1.8Bn USD per year) and would take 10-15 years to yield measurable results,” the report reads. “While a steady increase in teacher capacity and educational infrastructure is expected over time, Afghanistan does not have the luxury of waiting 15 years to produce the work force foundations for sustainable economic growth.”

Photographed by Jacob Simkin

Instead, the authors say, a more cost-effective, accelerated method lies in using OLPC’s blended learning model, which incorporates technology with teaching. If executed, in 12-18 months OLPC can more than double Afghan students’ time to learning, provide feedback on curriculum materials, and provide resources that the students wouldn’t otherwise have.

By adopting this model, OLPC can “finally give children in both mainstream and community settings sufficient learning time and support to achieve curriculum outcomes.”

Make sure to check out the rest of the report here.

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 goes international

One Laptop per Child: Give 1 Get 1

Update: We are shipping G1G1 Internationally to 45 countries, through December 31st this year. See details on the late-November countries post.

We have spent the past two weeks preparing for the Give One, Get One fundraising campaign starting on Monday.  Last year’s donors (thank you!) were critical to launching projects in Rwanda, Haiti, Ethiopia, Oceania, Afghanistan*, and Mongolia.  This year’s campaign will begin a new wave of OLPC projects.

The biggest difference this year is that G1G1′s donors are also going global — we are launching the campaign simultaneously in the US and Europe at 11am UTC (6am EST) on the 17th.  (UPDATE: Amazon.com information pages are up, and it is possible to put in a G1G1 request now, but the Give Only and other pages will not be up until later this afternoon.)

Donors in the US will be able to donate and Give a laptop through Laptop.org/xo.  The Get laptops going to recipients in the US will be fulfilled right away.  Donors outside the US will be able to donate through Amazon.co.uk, where G1G1 will cost £275 (currently just over 322 Euros) plus shipping.  The Get laptops for recipients outside the US will be fulfilled as soon as possible.  stay tuned to this blog for more details in the coming days.

Update: the Christmas round of shipments was sent out last week; everyone who donated by December 16th should have received their XO by now, unless we are still waiting on clearance to ship to their country [sorry, Japan!  Fumi, where are you when we need you?].  A final batch of machines will be sent out in January; the program is expected to end on December 31.

Update 2: donors in Australia, Hong Kong, and France are encouraged to donate through pages specifically set up for your country for a tax deduction.

The benefit of working with leading industry partners like Amazon to expand our reach is that our mission becomes clearer, letting OLPC focus on its real purpose: giving One Laptop per Child — at a global level.