OLPCorps KNUST Ghana
We are a team of three all graduating in June 2009 - two students enrolled at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (http://knust.edu.gh) and one student studying at The University of British Columbia (http://www.ubc.ca). Our team comprises Afriyie Addo Pepra-Ameyaw (B.Sc. Theoretical and Applied Biology at KNUST) and Jojoo Imbeah (B.Sc. Computer Engineering) and Asuka Yoshioka (M.A., Community and Regional Planning). We are enthusiastic about technology and community development and are excited about promoting computer literacy among children in underprivileged communities in Ghana in particular.
Motivation and Feasibilty
Afriyie and Jojoo have ten months each of volunteer teaching experience in Chemistry, Math, Biology (and computing in an informal environment) at a rural senior secondary school located in Enchi, a town in the Aowin Suaman District, located in the northern part of the western region of Ghana. One of our students is currently in his third year at KNUST studying Theoretical and Applied Biology. Asuka has two months of research in Ghanaian education, which she did when she visited Ghana in the summer of 2008. We are passionate about educating rural children to use technology and for them to become important agents of change in their communities. Enchi is sufficiently equipped with grid electricity, mobile phone infrastructure and roads. We believe the primary school children and the community at large will benefit immensely from our XO distribution project and we will be thrilled to get the opportunity to influence lives in Enchi.
Target Group as Agents of Change
We will undertake the project in at least two government primary schools in the district. The primary school term coincides with our handbook distribution period. Our target group is class 5 (or fifth grade) which consists of pupils within the 10-to-12-year-old age group. Children within this age group in Ghana are sufficiently literate in their local languages and in English (languages of instruction we will use). We will arrange with the school authorities to organize at least an extra 1 hour class after regular school hours to teach the children how to use their handbooks creatively. We plan to explore ways of integrating use of the XO handbooks for learning and playing within regular school hours.
Our pupils will enjoy using the handbooks both in school and at home. At school, they will be curious to know how the handbooks work by playing with them. During this process, they will learn new tricks and will want to share their experiences with their friends and with other children that stay in their neighborhoods. We intend to periodically remind the handbook owners that freely they have been given, freely they should share.
We are confident that our pupils will perform better in class (using term reports to evaluate their performance), and this will invariably influence their parents to think about technology as a positive influence in the lives of their children and even for themselves. Enchi is predominantly a cocoa farming community and parents might become interested in borrowing their children's handbooks to make calculations, do word processing and get used to computers for improved efficiency in their work.
Our local partners will be the Aowin Suaman District Assembly, the primary schools involved and kasahorow. We intend to consult with the District Assembly to come up with exactly which schools, depending on where we will achieve the greatest impact. kasahorow Communication Group (http://kasahorow.org) has pledged to support our project with at least one person from their organization. Nana Brentu Senior Secondary Technical School (located in Enchi) will provide secure storage space for the handbooks and other equipment before distribution.
We intend to form working partnerships with other distributing teams, XO committees and beneficiary primary school children and their communities in other parts of Ghana so that we can share our knowledge, resources and experiences during the period of distribution and beyond it.
Post Deployment Sustainability
We will set up a committee whose members we will train in order for them to be able to adequately maintain the project technically, financially, and in other key areas. The committee will consist of individuals from the District Assembly, kasahorow and primary schools involved including some of our brightest pupils (those who are eager to share their handbooks, those who learn how to fix things when they break, etc). We will periodically check from the committee on the progress the project is making in the lives of the children and in the community. We live in Ghana, so we are well poised to do this effectively.