At this time OLPC does not have an official policy regarding Grassroots Organizations.
This article focusses on how to to build a grassroots organization to promote OLPC in your country.
What a Grassroots Organization can't do
- Grassroots organizations can't implement OLPC in a given country
- Most children attend government schools. Most teachers are employed by the government. If you want to affect change on a mass level you are going to have to work through the government, no matter how effective you believe your respective national government to be.
- If you try to go it alone you may alienate the Ministry of Education and actually slow the adoption of OLPC in your country. You may get lucky and implement OLPC at a few schools in your country — if OLPC will provide you with XO's — but you won't succeed in changing your country's education system.
- Bulldoze the Ministry of Education into adopting the OLPC
- A successful campaign for OLPC in your country will require diplomacy. If you tell the education authorities in your country that they are idiots if they don't accept OLPC, you could set back OLPC in your country indefinitely.
What a Grassroots Organization can do
- Focus on OLPC as an Education Alternative (not only technological), something that can change the way the things are being done to make the information technologies reach everyone in the society.
- Promote OLPC in your country/region to the press and community groups
- Contribute to software and curriculum development:
- Contribute to hardware testing and peripheral development
- Educate your Ministry of Education about OLPC and its benefits
- Software and Content Localization -- People didn't believe that the XO could support devanagari script until we implemented it and showed them.
- Contribute to pedagogy and curriculum development
Here are a couple of presentations that grassroots advocates might find useful. OLPC Presentations
A lot of the above activities are non-technical. In fact, most of them are Marketing and public relations. Most early enthusiasts, like myself, are techies w/ no marketing background or savvy. You need someone on your team who understands marketing. I intend to cover this in a future post on Team Building.
More to come . . .