OLPCorps IU Kenya

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Summary

School: Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Team Name: OLPCorps_IU_Kenya
Team Members: Robert Kariuki, Thalith Nasir
Deployment Location: Kijabe, Kenya


Proposal

Six years ago the Kenyan Government made public Primary School Education free and compulsory for all children. An influx in enrollment followed which teachers could not keep up with, leading to a decline to the quality of education being offered. Kijabe Primary is one of these schools that opened its doors to local children and it is here that we want to do our XO project. This will not only improve the quality of education but also empower the children to become future leaders in their community.

Our team is comprised of two graduate students in Human Computer Interaction from Indiana University. We have both had exposure to Kenya; Robert Kariuki is Kenyan, while Thalith Nasir lived there for 5 years. We are also fortunate to have technical backgrounds with a human centered focus in our graduate study which we believe will be very valuable to this project.

Our local partner, Kijabe Primary is located in central Kenya. The school has over 400 students (grade 1 to 8) who come from very needy families but we will be working with the 5th and 6th grades. The students will be present for the first 7 weeks but will go on holiday after that. We would use that time to prepare the teachers to take over primary responsibilities of the project after our departure.
The school administration has shown keen interest in taking ownership of the project upon completion. They are very willing to accept and securely storing the laptops as well as ensuring the involvement of teachers in sustaining the project. However, we would want to ensure that the burden of this project is not entirely borne by the school. Nearby, well established school, Rift Valley Academy has offered to provide support in terms of checking up on progress once per school term with the involvement of their older students. In addition, Robert has a large pool of contacts to call upon over the course of the project. One of them, Rotary Club of Langata, has shown considerable interest in our project.

The first task would be to immerse ourselves into the school’s curriculum and have firsthand experience of the education system. This will help us to understand the challenges that the children and the teachers go through. We will then have one-on-one sessions with teachers and introduce the XO laptops first to them and discuss the best ways on how to deploy the laptops into the curriculum. This would be to supplement learning and not to replace the existing curriculum.

We don’t view the children of Kijabe as merely recipients of this new technology rather the proponents of change of the local and also global community. Through various projects involving the XO, the children will be able to research, analyze and tell stories of their experiences, their problems and their ambitions. We consider the following approaches:

  • Projects: This would involve coming up with a number of class projects scientific as well as art that would challenge the children to do extensive research on Wikbrowse and on the internet. This would make the children competitive but also collaborate in the generation and sharing of ideas.
  • Trickle down knowledge: As much as we are concentrating on grades 5 and 6, we want these children to share their knowledge with their peers in lower grades and also at home. We believe that with this they will not only learn better but the community will be empowered as well.
  • Journalism – With the record application of the laptops, children can capture pictures, videos, and audio and with these they can share stories and also other health, social and environmental issues going around them. Kenya being made up of different communities, this will help the children experience each other’s stories promoting peace and understanding.
  • Culture Preservation/Promotion: Through the use of the XO, children will be able to capture different facets of their unique culture and share it with their peers and the rest of the world through blogs, pictures and videos.


To support the project after we leave we are looking at different avenues for funding which include; Indiana University Grad Grant Center, Giving Back to Africa, Rotary clubs and private fund raising (online and offline).

Kijabe Primary School as all of the other Kenyan schools runs their curriculum in English. Robert speaks fluent Swahili and can facilitate where necessary.

Team

Indiana University HCI/d Kenya Team

Name Major Undergraduate School Undergraduate Major Email Website
Robert Kariuki Human Computer Interaction Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi Kenya Information Technology karugah@gmail.com http://sites.google.com/site/karugah/Home
Thalith Nasir Human Computer Interaction DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana Computer Science, Economics thalith@gmail.com http://www.thalith.com

School

Our local partner, Kijabe Primary is located in central Kenya. It is a little over an hour away from Nairobi. The school has over 400 students (grade 1 to 8) who come from very needy families but we will be working with the 5th and 6th grades. The students will be present for the first 7 weeks but will go on holiday after that. We would use that time to prepare the teachers to take over primary responsibilities of the project after our departure.

Budget

Item Details Per Person Amount
Airfare Indianapolis - Nairobi RT $1800 $3600
Nairobi - Kigali RT $350 $700
Food $12/day $840 $1680
Housing $5/day $350 $700
Ground Transportation $250 $500
Transportation of laptops $250
Cellphone Handset (for one) $30
Cellphone Credit (for two) $100
Internet Installation $200
Service for six months $40/month $240
Additional storage(USB Drives) $10/drive $1000
Immunizations Yellow fever and malaria (for two) $140 $280
Misc Visa (Rwanda-Thalith) $60 $60
Visa (Kenya-Thalith) $100 $100
Contingency Funds $560
Total $10000

Project Ideas

  • Projects: This would involve coming up with a number of class projects scientific as well as art that would challenge the children to do extensive research on Wikbrowse and on the internet. This would make the children competitive but also collaborate in the generation and sharing of ideas.
  • Trickle down knowledge: As much as we are concentrating on grades 5 and 6, we want these children to share their knowledge with their peers in lower grades and also at home. We believe that with this they will not only learn better but the community will be empowered as well.
  • Journalism – With the record application of the laptops, children can capture pictures, videos, and audio and with these they can share stories and also other health, social and environmental issues going around them. Kenya being made up of different communities, this will help the children experience each other’s stories promoting peace and understanding.
  • Culture Preservation/Promotion: Through the use of the XO, children will be able to capture different facets of their unique culture and share it with their peers and the rest of the world through blogs, pictures and videos.
  • Folklore: With most Kenyan communities having a rich source of Oral traditions, we envision the children using the laptops to record folk tales, songs, poetry, proverbs and showcase these to the world for so many African stories have gone down unknown.
  • Games: Children like to play, Kijabe Primary Students being no exception we would like to promote play amongst them. This will encourage interactivity and cohesion. Also introduce them to graphical games which would inspire them to be creative and design new games on their own.
  • Sister / Brother School in the US: With time we want to identify a local school in Indiana USA that can collaborate with Kijabe Primary and share their different experiences. With this the two schools can learn a lot about each other. They can share pictures of the different toys they play with, their different schools curricula etc.

Supporting Organizations

Rift Valley Academy
This is a Christian boarding school with students from grades 1 to 12. They will be offering technical and training facilities once a term to Kijabe primary through their students purely on voluntary basis.
Visit RVA's website
Rotary club of Langata
Members of the local Rotary club of Langata have been in the past involved in many projects around Kenya especially involving the youth and the underprivileged. Some examples include establishment of the first block of toilets in the Kibera slum (Biggest slum in Africa) with running water. Sinking of water wells in arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya, and paying school fees for many needy students. The club has shown great interest to be involved with this XO project to support education development to the needy children of Kijabe Primary.

Visit Rotary Langata's website

Local Contacts

1. Carole Kariuki

Policy Advisor, Kenya Private Sector Alliance

2. Alex Mugo

CEO, Parapet Cleaning Services
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