OLPCorps UniversityOfPadua Eritrea
The University of Padova (Italy) Team is the expression of a larger group of students interested in fields like education, international cooperation and open source software.
The destination community is the Elementary School of in a village named as Adi Nifas, Eritrea, a rural area with a population of 5000 and of about 10 km from Asmara (the capital city). Eritrea, a young country that has gained its independence in 1993, while it is still recovering from a devastating and bloody war with Ethiopia that ended in 2001, is showing a strong commitment towards education and schooling.
The project will be deployed from late June to the end of August 2009.
Our local partners will be the Zoba Maekel Central Administrative Region (Governor Dr. Tewelde Kelati and Research and Project Coordinator Dr. Yemane Abay), the Ministry of Education Office of Zoba Maekel (Dr. Girmai Gebehiwet), the Elementary School of Adi Nifas (Director Behrane Kahsay), the italian NGO Bashù.
The partnership with these institutions and organizations will allow us to get support for the entire project and to guarantee that it will be overseen after we leave. Two teachers provided by the Ministry of Education will team up with us ensuring that we will create a base for maintaining the knowledge locally and take care directly of the project in the future. A volunteer student from the Computer Science department of the Eritrean Institute of Technology, Bisrat Minase Berhe, will join us and collaborate for the technical issues. Bashù NGO, that has in the years built a relationship of friendship and profitable cooperation with the Eritrean institutions, will take care of supervising the logistic and practical aspects, such as accommodation, transportation and coordination. The handling and the temporary storage of the package will be provided by the Zoba Maekel Administration, that will temporarily store it in its structures.
Children in Eritrea, especially in the rural areas, become very early part of the family workforce and contribute directly to the economy of the community. Our aim is to include the XOs for allowing the children to experience a path that is educational and recreational and to include it in their daily life, becoming even more a fundamental player in the social dynamics. Allowing the children through ownership to achieve an even more active role while maintaining a playful approach through discovery, curiosity and collaboration is one of our main targets. The small dimension of the village and the strict degree of kinship between families will allow to cover easily the population as a whole. The access to Internet can obviously provide an invaluable resource for obtaining useful information for the life of the village and for creating a more direct connection with the capital Asmara.
The primary school (6-12 years students) in the village is a kind of safe haven for children, the place where they experience their childhood far from the toughness of the familiar duties: it will be open and functional during working days in the summer break so that we can deploy the project in a structure the children are confident with. The richness of the environment and the direct contact with it will provide the operating field of the activities: the students will bring back to their families new ideas, fresh contributions and innovations. The children in rural areas can be fundamental agents of change "from below" in important issues like safe hygienic practices, health, agriculture techniques. This approach will allow to shape the activities and the future usage of the XOs in relation to the needs that will emerge.
The experience of the Team in dealing with large groups of children in learning contexts will allow to establish acceptance and confidence through direct interaction, with leisure and sport activities and group games.
While the village is in an on-grid environment we think that providing us with solar panels would be an asset, since Zoba Maekel Administration is favouring projects related to alternative energies and because it would have a great impact on children, that could become accustomed to it and associate it with a positive experience.
English language is taught since the first grade and it will also be the language of communication with the teachers.