OLPCorps Yale-UW Ghana
Yale-UW-CARE Ghana Team
|Jurist Tan||Ethics, Politics, and Economics||Yale 'firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Hussein Yapit||Computer Science||UW 'email@example.com|
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Non-political and non-sectarian, CARE operates in more than 65 countries, reaching 50 million people in poor communities. CARE opened its office in Accra, the capital of Ghana, in 1994. Partnering with CARE sub-office in Kumasi, the Yale-UW-CARE Ghana Team will deploy XO laptops in the Ashanti region, Ghana. Specifically, in accordance with CARE’s focus on women’s empowerment, we plan to distribute XO laptops to 100 girls in 10 communities under CARE Ghana’s education project.
Our plan is as follows. Based on consultations with local schools, the District Assembly, and the community leaders in these 10 communities, 100 6-12 year-old girls who have shown exceptional academic excellence and promise will be selected to receive the XO laptops and undergo a two-weeks training/learning session in Kumasi, the region capital, in July during their vacation. Using the laptops, the girls can engage in activities that help overcome the stigma against smart girls with leadership capabilities while improving their communities’ welfare.
To achieve that end, our training session will facilitate them in a) using the XO laptops and b) planning community service activities they will engage in using the XO laptops. These activities can be anything the girls come up with, ranging from teaching their friends to read and count, to producing music with other children in their communities, to informing their parents and neighbors about a specific health issue based on the information they read using XO. Since these girls will be the first children in their communities to use this technology, we will ask them to document their actions as “agents of change.” After three weeks, we will help them compile the results (either in the form of videos, journal entries, music, or others) and share them with the Ghanaian government and the world using Youtube or CARE’s website. We can also help them submit their music to be broadcasted in local radio stations. Our hope is to boost their confidence in their capability to execute ideas and disseminate results.
The girls will have several layers of support:
- Their parents. CARE staffs familiar with the communities will help disseminate the information regarding XO laptops to the girls’ parents and consult them on any concerns they may have.
- Their community leaders. CARE gathers community leaders frequently for various projects in Kumasi. In one of these information sessions, we hope to acquire their support for the project.
- The CARE District Education Office. We plan to purchase at least one additional XO for the CARE staff involved in this project to provide regional support. CARE will donate the XO laptop back to OLPC Ghana after it leaves the region.
- The OLPC Ghana Ashanti Region Representative, Ms. Opoku Afriyie Asante, whom we have been in contact with through CARE.
After we leave, the project will be taken over by the respective communities and OLPC Ghana with CARE’s assistance. Since the Ghanaian government plans to deploy XOs for every child in Ghana, eventually all children in these 10 communities will receive their XOs as well; we hope by that time, the girls who receive XOs from this project can help guide other children in their own missions to create change.
As a prominent humanitarian NGO, CARE has extensive experience with shipping and handling goods across borders. We will store the XOs in their offices before deployment, both in Accra and in Kumasi. Rather than logistics, our biggest challenge in this project is connectivity. According to preliminary discussions with CARE, the 10 targeted communities are relatively close with a radius under 30 kilometers. Most communities already have power and some even Internet connection (from the Millennium Villages Project), which will ensure connectivity among the XO recipients. Many of the girls also attend the same school, where we can install the main server and Internet connection. Currently our timeline is to devote the first two weeks for logistics and preparation, two weeks for training, three weeks for implementation and follow up, and two weeks for evaluation; should we find extremely challenging technical difficulties during the first two weeks, we will adjust the details of the project as we go along.
In short, the mission of Yale-UW-CARE Ghana Team is not so much to create agents of change as it is to empower them; we believe with XO laptops, the girls will be well-equipped in their mission as agents of change in their communities.