A bright future for Bura Tana Community – Kenya

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St Jude Primary School is located in Bura Tana, a ten hour drive from the Nairobi airport in Kenya. The leaders of this school are dedicated to providing the best education in the area. Children here are able to participate in various activities throughout the school day. This motivates them to learn and to work hard. These children are very excited about receiving the XO laptops in their school, thanks to Lesley Hayman Sager and friends, who have provided this wonderful opportunity to these children.

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OLPCA, through its office in KIGALI, supported the school by providing a one day training on the use of XO laptops. The children enjoyed the different activities on the XO laptop, especially the Chat activity and the Maze activity. The Chat and Maze are activities that were developed by Sugar Labs. Such activities are preloaded on the XO laptop. Ten children and three teachers attended the training. These students and teachers are now responsible to share what they learned with the rest of the school.

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In addition to the basic introduction on the use of XO laptop, the children also came to understand that the XO laptop serves as a tool to use to further the learning process. The children came to see that the laptop offers a new way to express their ideas, share these ideas with their community and the rest of the world. When asked about their experience with the XO laptop, the students were full of joy and expressed their gratitude to people who brought the XO laptops to their school.

To assure sustainability and to motivate the children to continue using the XO laptops, the school created two clubs that will be monitored and supported from Kigali, the St Jude News Line Club and the Creative Arts Club. Participants registered for these two clubs and teachers will monitor the progress of the clubs.

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This project symbolizes the ideal and hope that these young children will continue to support their community in its development through education and access to information and technology.

By Intwali Jimmy Parfait

OLPCA Rwanda

OLPC Kenya: working towards an education alliance

Sandra Thaxter, who has been working with some of the grassroots programs in Kenya, recently joined with others in the OLPC Kenya volunteer community, for a meeting with the the Kenyan Institute for Education on their digital learning initiatives.

Assistant Minister of Education Calist Mwatela set up a meeting between these groups, and they are planning a series of Skype meetings over the next few weeks. Sandra wrote more about this and her dream of an OLPC Kenya Alliance, as a guest post on the Eshibinga blog.

Keep up the good work!

Stories from Eshibinga Primary I: Why Sugar?

A great stories from Eshibinga, Kenya, last year:

In April Mr. Juma came to Eshibinga to teach us on how to use an xo laptop. His teaching is helping us now. We got two new computers today. Then our teacher Mr. Peter told us to remember some of the things we were taught.

I just remembered one word. Sugar. We were told that sugar is the operating system for the XO. It organizes the systems that run the clock, activates the Activities, and store the Journal entries. The Terminal Activity runs text-based commands for your XO instead of the Sugar graphical commands.

What nobody has told us is , why did they name it sugar? Why not give it a name like coffee, or milk or water?

Please tell me?
Mary, Eshibinga Primary

A trek across Africa to support students

Tamin-Lee Connolly plans to travel from South-to-North across Africa, ending in the middle-east, visiting schools and helping to deploy laptops along the way. She may even bring some of her own. Today she begins her travel by flying back to her native South Africa from Dubai, where she has been working, launching a year-long journey by land rover to visit 39 countries. She plans to volunteer for OLPC and perhaps other educational groups along the way, and has been talking to grassroots XO deployments to find those that would benefit from a visit – starting with the amazing team in Kliptown!

If you’re working in Africa, drop her a line on her travel blog, everything except the horn – perhaps you can meet up during her trek.

East African Community OLPC launch

Here’s a short video from last month’s meeting of the East African Legislative Assembly, shortly before the EAC announced a regional OLPC initiative:

This was the 11th Summit of the Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC).  President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania and Secretary General Juma Volter Mwapachu of the EAC said a few words prior to Matt Keller’s presentation.

The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organization of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.  Its legislative arm, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), addresses regional policy issues, and has been active since 2001; Rwanda and Burundi joined the EALA relative recently, in 2007.

East African Community launches OLPC as a regional Initiative

On Friday, November 20, the East African Community launched One Laptop per Child as a regional partner, during the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Secretariat Office in Arusha, Tanzania.  This annual Summit is the highest organ of the East African Community and it gives general directions and impetus for the development and achievement of the objectives of the Community.

Matt Keller, head of OLPC’s Global Advocacy, made a moving and compelling presentation to the assembled audience and heads of state, including President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, and H.E. Amani Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar.  The audience included the EAC Council of Ministers, other members of EAC and EALA, and Honorable Speakers.  Invited guests included foreign dignitaries and Chief Executives of regional and international organizations, and members of the European Parliament, United Nations, African Development Bank, and COMESA.

Following Matt’s presentation, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu (current Secretary General of the EAC) announced the launch of OLPC as a regional partner.  A memorandum of Understanding between EAC and OLPC will be signed before the end of the year.  Matt met the six Presidents and gave each of them an XO.  Since our learning team moved to Rwanda to set up a learning center in Kigali, the region has become increasingly important to OLPC.  It was a great honor for Matt and I to attend this historic event, and together with everyone at OLPC we look forward to working with the EAC, EALA and the People of East Africa to bring laptops to children in the region.