One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
This project is one of the first times where my love of Technology and Cause intersected.
Following many trips to Kenya, I had met with the parents of a team members friend (did you catch that?) who wanted to get involved through their connections at OLPC. After many conversations and trips to Austin Texas, my involvement was to help co write a grant that provided the first 100 XO laptops to the country of Kenya, specifically to the Pokot tribe in the Eastern Region. While I never was able to live in Pokot due to other commitments in the summer of 2009, I helped coordinate, recruitment and train members for implementation of laptops. Today the Asilong School stands as a pillar of hope in this region of the country. Thankfully when I returned to Kenya August 2011, I worked in the school as a followup to deployment of XO Laptops in the summer of 2009.
"Asilong is the premier model school for the country of Kenya”
- Kenyan Prime Minister of Technology, Dr.Fred Okengo Matiani
Recently there has been debate over the Kenyan Government proving laptops to children in Kenya. Critics claim providing laptops should not be a priority. For the last seven years, Asilong has been using their XO computer to advance their school lessons and is a model school for the country as they continue the conversation. The video below shows great coverage of the topic and how Asilong continues to advance education even in a very rural, arid, and non traditional climate. .
It should be noted that City Harvest Ministries out of Nairobi Kenya, lead by Pastor Edward leads the involement and support of the Pokot people. Jacobs Well from Kansas City, has a partnership with City Harvest Ministries and the people of Asilong village in Pokot.
This relationship, which started in 2007, has bloomed into a sustainable, long-term project in Asilong that has led to amazing transformation in the village and surrounding areas. In 2011, Ben Carrol, Jonathan Lewis, Brandon Webb, and I were asked to come to a Pokotpolooza weekend and speak to the local community on what our experience had been in Pokot. There, we also collaborated with other western partners on all the different projects that continue to take place.
Below is a video update message from Julius from Asilong Primary. If you ever arrive in Pokot, the biggest smile will greet you by one of the kindest human beings I have ever spent time with. He is just one of many wonderful Kenyans who are pillars of good in the Pokot community.
Tell us more details about Asilong and the Eastern Pokot Region
Pokot. 100 XO laptops were deployed there in July of 2009 and are charged using solar power as there is no electricity in the village yet. For the first year of usage, the students had no school server, so they spent their time learning the XO hardware and the pre-loaded activities. In November 2010 the XOs were updated to the latest operating system and an XS server was installed. The students are now using a public library on the server to access current information and educational material that is loaded by the school's headmaster, Joachim Krop, and IT manager, Julius Sawe. Through the library they also have access to audio files in their native language of Pokoot, as well as educational animations.
In March, additional local content in line with the Kenyan standard educational course material will be added using Moodle. Online quizzes will be available to aid the students in preparing for national exams. Asilong has been highlighted in several articles in national newspapers as they are moving ahead in e-learning despite their remote location. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more? Check out what One Laptop Per Child has documented on the project here.
Here is the document that shows the very begining of the project.