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The Market

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For information about OLPC in a specific country, please see the status by country page in this wiki. Also, please note that there is a discussion of individual countries on the discussion page.

Child is a nebulous term; what is the exact age range you are targeting?

We are hoping to reach elementary and secondary-school-age children: ages 6 to 16 years.

Do teachers get their own laptop?

Unequivocally, yes.

How will these be marketed?

The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of "one laptop per child." Discussions have been held with representatives from government and non-governmental organizations from almost every country in the developing world. The laptop will be available in the United States and Canada for purchase for a brief period of time from 12–26 November 2007 through the Give 1 Get 1 program.

The Give One Get One program has been extended until December 31, 2007. See: http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php Gregorio 11:05, 11 December 2007 (EST)

Why go the government route?

Two reasons:

  1. It is hard to argue against the assertion that at some level, governments are responsible for their country's children. OLPC's role is to help countries develop this essential resource: educated, empowered children. Of course, some countries are not able—for a variety of reasons: war, poverty, etc.—to adequately provide for their children. In these situations, it is natural to be working with NGOs and other resources, both locally and internationally.
  2. Our initial launch plans—to get the volume up and the price down—involved large-scale purchases from large governments. This was never the steady-state plan, which is much more opportunistic—OLPC will work with any organization that has ideas about how to reach children.

Why some countries and not others?

OLPC is interested in deploying where ever there are children in need. However, we will not force one laptop per child on anyone or any country: we work where we are invited. That said, we as an organization have limited resources, so we try to focus our efforts where the need is greatest and where the economies of scale give our efforts the most leverage.

What about children in the US?

OLPC is open to working with children in the US. We are in discussions with a number of state governors and individual school districts and welcome their participation. Also, our Give 1 Get 1 program is designed to reach children in the US in a more fine-grained manner.

That said, our primary mission is to reach children who have no other means of learning—children in the least-developed countries.

What of smaller and poorer developing countries (than Brazil or China)? Will the $100 laptops pass them by?

Our intention is to include “smaller and poorer” countries, and we are currently investigating mechanisms to include some such countries in our launch. Regarding a cross-subsidy from commercial sales, this is something else we are exploring. It is not as simple as it appears on the surface: there are local issues, such as anti-dumping laws that need to be considered. We are also in discussions with organizations such as the World Bank and UNDP about alternative funding mechanisms. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all initiative. Our Give 1 Get 1 program is designed to help smaller and poorer countries get started.

OLPC & UNPO Members

N.B. UNPO => Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

Many regions are not represented by an official government. Kosovo, Somaliland, Iraqi Kurdistan and many refugee camp as Dafur/Mali, Myanmar/Thailand border,... have no chance to get support from any government (See UNPO). Normally the United Nations gives some support, but the people have no work and the people are bored.

Especially for these people, education is very important. It is also important to give them a voice with which to tell about their lives. The 100$ laptop and an internet link could improve the situation of this people very much.

These regions are too small to order one-million laptops but all this regions together have more then one-million children. Is there a special program for these children? There is no government to talk with, but the UN together with NGOs could do a lot.

Many people ask if it's possible to give some money for the OLPC project. If there is some money, this regions should be the first that receive sponsored laptops. One million children with the ability to send text and videos from daily life as a refugee could change the world. --Bz 09:28, 27 January 2007 (EST)

We have been talking with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other agencies about these populations. We are very interested in developing mechanisms to reach them. --Walter 16:50, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
There are plans to extend invitations to NGOs after the first phase—OLPC currently targets only national governments.
Community sponsoring (ie: Buy 2 Get 1) is not being contemplated as an option in the near future—maybe later.--Xavi 10:21, 27 January 2007 (EST)

Can a legitimate NGO or foundation apply for your program?

We are soliciting ideas through proposals to broaden the reach of the program. Proposals will be accepted from governments and non-government organizations.

How are schools being selected as test sites?

We work with the ministries of education in the various launch countries to determine the best means of selecting schools for the initial deployment. The goals are to provide broad coverage to optimize learning while containing the program to a manageable size when it is still in its formative stages. Different governments are using different means to achieve this balance. For example, the current proposal in one launch country is to deploy in all "integrated" schools, which would provide some coverage in every state: an integrated school covers 1st through 12th grade in the same school. They exist primarily in small communities and thus enable 1:1 in entire schools, for all grades, and for the entire community.

What is the minimum quantity of laptops that governments can ask for?

This is a detail that must wait until funding mechanisms are worked out. In addition, it will be dependent on manufacturing costs, which decrease as greater volumes of the laptop are produced. Minimum quantities will be one of the last details determined and may well vary depending on country and details of the funding mechanism.

Will the means of distribution (through ministries of education) and lower price tag mean that this laptop will succeed where others have failed?

We do not expect to have a monopoly on low-priced computers and the bulk of our efforts over time will be in software. However, we do not believe that many previous efforts have positioned themselves properly for this problem-space: learning. It is not just price, it is choice of features, integration into the infrastructure—both communications and educational—and the decision to make this an open, global effort that we think will make the difference.

How does the color-/status-scheme work?

This page has a more up-to-date location: Deployments

This map dates from 2007. See Deployments for the status of actual deployments in countries. We began mass production at the end of November 2007. We begun OLPC programs in Peru and Uruguay. Mexico is next. We have pilots under way in Cambodia, Thailand (3), Mongolia (starting in Jaunary 2008), Nepal (preparations under way), India, Pakistan (preparations under way), Afghanistan (preparations under way), Iraq (preparations under way), Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil (2), Paraguay, Haiti (preparations under way), United States (numerous), et al. We have inquiries from virtually every country and numerous small projects popping up in a grassroots manner in almost every country.

Click for larger image
Click image to enlarge & text country list

Basically countries in the OLPC_world_map are coded in four colors (plus a generic one):

green those countries we plan to pilot
Currently: Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Thailand, United States, Uruguay
red those countries we plan to include in the post-launch phase
orange those countries who have expressed interest at the Ministry-of-Education level or higher
yellow those countries who are currently seeking government support
gray countries under the radar or that have not made contact with the OLPC

See the OLPC status by country in 2007 page for a larger image and list.

The Black and Gray Markets

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In some countries there is a lot of corruption. Would OLPC partner with an NGO instead of the education ministry?

While we are loath to do a complete end-run around the education ministry, we are working with regional and non-governmental entities.

Pls rephrase in a more international english as secondary language.--SvenAERTS 13:22, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Will corrupt governments give the laptops to the very poor children or the highest bidder to line their own pockets?

You seem to have left a lot up to the individual governments for distribution. I can see many advantages of this, however, living in one of your target countries and having lived in other poor countries, I can see how leaving anything up to a country's government leaves room for corruption leaving the poor children out-of-luck again.

Undoubtedly there is corruption in this world and not every laptop will end up where it is intended—in the hands of children. That said, we have a number of different strategies to mitigate wide-spread corruption. Our security system—Bitfrost—addresses some aspects of theft. We also will be working with NGOs— such as UNDP—to help us with distribution, so there are some built-in checks and balances. Furthermore, if there is a problem such that a government (or other) channel is not getting laptops to their intended recipients, we can stop further shipments through that channel.

AfricaCO2e.org sais: In Ruanda XO's were given only to kids of families that supported the President. We are mostly from Ruanda and we understand that the President has not invested a single euro OLPC of his own governmental budget. All he invested was money he received from donors, s.a. the Bill Clinton Foundation. Nevertheless, a child is innocent and can't help where it is born. For that child it is good that it has such a laptop to help educate itself to the fullest. OLPC should not wait untill corruption is out of the world. There are other teams working on corruption and they make breakthroughs as well. Meanwhile, focus on what you can do, not too much on what you cannot do. In countries where ethnical groups coincide with particular regions, we'll see that form of corruption happen as well. Most corrupt leaders only let through projects that inflate their prices and have everything first go via an ngo that plays along in the corruption: the government orders via the ngo iso directly via the producer. The NGO then inflates the prices, charges that to the ministry of finance/national central bank - who are also in the corruption plot, as well as the ministry of eduction - and the inflated prices that the ngo received are then transferred by the ngo to the hidden accounts of the President, the Minister of Education, the Central Bank Governor in e.g. Switserland where they have an account under a name of a company they or their family owns. Withouth an international court order, oblidging the Swiss government and banking system to hand over the real names behind the company name that holds the Swiss account it is impossible to demonstrate the corruption. These corrupt people don't hesitate to kill you of course if you press charges too much. So you better hide behind some organisation as well.

Corruption and Extreme Poverty

I understand that it is the responsibility of the country to contact you, but what about countries that are too poor to afford millions of laptops even if they are only $100? and how are you addressing highly corrupt nations where the leaders interests are not aligned with those of the population they govern? Arguably the corrupt nations are ones that would benefit the most seeing as there population could see how there leader compared to others around the world.

We are looking into ways to help subsidize the purchase of laptops for the least-developed countries (See 1 Get 1 for example). Regarding government corruption, have local distribution partners who are not necessarily tied to government.

AfricaCO2e.org sais: since 2005 - the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol, the XO laptops print/generate CO2e certificates. They pay at least partially for the XO-XServer-PV implementation. More:--SvenAERTS 07:53, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Black Market

How do you plan to fight the black market of this computers? They more or less cost $100 each, and in many of the countries mentioned, families could try to sell them to buy food or fulfill any other basic need.

At some level, this is the responsibility of the country in which the laptops are deployed. They are more familiar with local culture, local social issues and local laws. However, we have gone to great lengths to build an anti-theft system (See Bitfrost for details).

How can you ensure the principle of one laptop per child will be followed after the countries purchase the laptops?

We cannot ensure that the laptops will be deployed in a manner unilaterally dictated by us. In every case, we are working with governments, which by their very nature have unique local agendas. While we can try to shape the nature of their deployment and are working closely with them on roll-out plans, ultimately, our biggest lever is to show them examples of best practice.

What will OLPC do to stop a grey market?

We will make efforts to deter the grey market, but we will not be able to stop it all together. While we can do things like require the machine to be periodically connected to the school network, there will always be some degree of theft. That said, we've seen no theft in our pilot projects in places such as rural Cambodia.

Will the laptop be available for relatively developed nations?

We are exploring the possibility of developing a commercial version and we are in discussions with representatives from these nations about distribution of the non-commercial version. However, our priority is to make the laptop available first where there is the greatest need.

According to OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte: "Many commercial ventures have been considered and proposed that may surface in 2008 or beyond, one of which is ‘buy 2 and get 1.'"

A laptop can be purchased for a limited time between 12 November and 31 December 2007 with the Give 1 Get 1 program (Please also see Retail).

Are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them to people in the developed world?

We are trying to develop strategies to maximize the number of laptops in the hands of children. We realize that in some places there will be many pressures to undermine that goal and are working on tactics to mitigate these pressures to what ever extent is practical. Your ideas are welcome.

What happens to the laptop when the child grows up and leaves school?

Our intention is that the laptops belong to the children even after they leave school.


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Information about OLPC for people in poor countries

There is ample written material about OLPC for people in rich countries: the newspapers are full of OLPC stories. People in poor countries don't know much about OLPC but maybe the children will receive a laptop in near future.

It is up to each nation to order the laptops. It cannot be a decision made by groups or private citizens even of great means. If you like you can contact your government's Education Ministry and start from there.
We are also trying to leverage organizations such as the UN, the World Bank, etc. as mechanisms for doing more and better outreach in the developing world. Your input would be welcome.
News about OLPC should be translated into other languages and made available through channels beyond mainstream Western media. We are trying to do this, but can always use help via local news and blog networks, and through translation of important news and pages on this wiki... perhaps we need some sort of graphical flyer with minimal language to localize and make available for anyone to print and pass out, to spur discussion in new communities. Sj talk 02:46, 17 July 2007 (EDT)

Numbers & Statistics

I have heard in the Fall of 2007 a big shipment will go out. As of July 2007 how many Laptops have been given out in the thousands by nation? 8/1/07 Why is this information such as stats not found in a simple to find place?

I would like more information about the Nations that are involved with the OLPC program as far as statistics and population information!

You can find out information about statistics here. Also, some countries have an infobox with an abstract.

Will OLPC make a profit rather than passing savings onto the schools?

OLPC will never make a profit and if we can reduce the cost of manufacturing, that savings will be passed along to the schools. We have not guaranteed a $100 price—that remains a target. However, what we have guaranteed is that our price equals cost and that whatever the launch price may be, it will float down thereafter. All successive models will be cheaper, not more expensive and feature rich.

Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?

The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of laptops.

The discussions around this topic have focused on a retail price of 2× the manufacturing cost of the units. The Retail page on this wiki will be updated when we have firmer plans.

What's the optimal business model to assure a healthy future for the $100 laptop?

I am wondering what the business model will be for the $100 business model. Selling directly to countries and leaving it to them how to distribute might not prove the most sustainable solution. In the vaccine business in the Third World one of the biggest problems is reselling subsidized vaccines to 2nd or First World countries. Why not think of business models as innovative as the laptop itself? I think a great product like this deserves it. Why not leveraging micro credits to make it affordable to families to buy it themselves in stead of giving it away? Or monetize the cult status the machine now already has in western countries? I think it would be a missed opportunity to limit the business model to selling to countries only, and would be very willing to leverage my experience and network to come up with a more creative and innovative solution space.

bramellens@gmail.com Business developer at eBay

We would love to hear your ideas.
A couple of pistes to answers.
  1. Few ways to honor a democracy - the universal human rights and the freedoms we get from them - more, than to come together with a group of people, think up a plan/project/product/service, add value to society with it, the proof of this latter will be an influx of money. And just about all the leading organizations point to that. This said, the capitalist model is not the only model to add value, nor is there anybody who claims that for profit projects / businesses / a free / capitalist market are a guarantee to nothing but adding value to society and nothing but one big feast of democracy. Thanks to the redistribution of wealth via taxes, the not for profit side of society, e.g. the educational landscape/sector anno say the year 2000, given the huge chunk of tax money they get, maybe we/you can be a bit more demanding from them. Maybe you can demand from them - anno over 2000 years after Jesus was born - that they take up responsibility so that society - from which they get their budget - doesn't remain or become a victim that's completely at the mercy of the capitalist market system. Meaning, especially since 2013, the NSA insights on how our intelligence departments seem to need more support from their democratically elected to ensure all kind of mass data collection practices are not leading to abuses. Also referring to the practise of programmed to fail practises by at least some ICT companies, be them computer manufacturers, tablet manufacturers or gsm manufacturers. Also referring to the ever increasing mega-concerns in the communication and media sector. Can society not expect from the not for profit side of society, e.g. the educational landscape/sector anno say the year 2000, that they form some counter-weight to stave of potential abusive practises in the for profit sectors? The chunk in the total taxes collected going to the educational landscape are not little. All the competences to make an open community project like the OLPC laptop-x-tablet are available in the educational landscapes. They also have the mass and organization they can throw in the balance to exercise a counterweight at the products, services and practices the for profit sectors are throwing at us - the consumers. We don't have to be passive victims. Don't students need open community projects like e.g. the wikipedia, open source soft and hardware, open robotics projects to tinker with? How do our teachers teach ict and robotics if not by allowing their students to participate in such projects? Tinkering with a low costs olpc XO-XS kind of laptop-x-tablet is a very good option: all the same screws, not programmed to fail, no hidden features so your device breaks when opening it, no need for a whole set of impossible screw-drivers and prying devices: no you can open the XO with a simple x-screwdriver and all the screws are the same. To put it more black-white: our intelligence services / the state is spying upon us without any scrupules, our laptops and gsm's are apparently all coming to us with programmed to fail features in them, everybody wonders if these companies make money selling devices or charging plugs - I mean this lead to the European Commission to intervene and impose a standard for chargers to limit the ever changing chargers bestowed upon consumers and leading to mountains of eWaste. And then there are the mobile phone and sat operators'marketeers who think up schemes to suck dry our citizens 1 buck at a time. Then I think an open community, open hardware, open software, open robotics project like the OLPC XO-XS is very welcome to throw in some counterweight: made to be repaired, some form of free communication thanks to wifi and built-in webcam/mice and speakers, mesh networking capability, rugged, low cost, etc. Why shouldn't we expect from our not for profit section of society, e.g. the educational landscape to plug in, into projects like olpc? So the answer to - what is the business model for olpc: not to be a business, not to use a business model, but a not-for-profit model, an open community model: there is enough money available, coming in via taxes/grants, there is enough mass and knowledge capacity, organizational capacity so that an olpc project can stay not-for-profit. I think the for profit ict sector has become quite sport in giving olpc it's chance and market space. The for profit sector is targeting the educational landscape, has been developing competing projects, but came to the conclusion the specific market niche olpc was targeting was not worth the efforts. It seems like it was more profitable to let olpc put a sort of basic layer in every society so that everybody can quicker read, write to basic math, understand how ict works, how to make phonecalls, how to watch TV, allow these citizens to work their way up in terms of income and when they have reached a minimum level to start targeting them because they have then become at least very modest consumers.
  2. Further we also notice that olpc XO-XS deployments are useful to the extent third parties want to chip-in for their deployments: institutes needing to gather reliable statistics want to chip in so every family has such a device and they can obtain data that is more reliable than ever before, also the for profit sector chips in via e.g. Corporate Social Responsibility programs, or the generation and sale of CO2e certificates from XO-deployments, foundations want to support xo-deployments, etc.
  3. By the way, I think eBay has been helping out olpc if my recollection is right. eBay has an interest in xo-deployments so that that majority of humans - billions - who cannot read, write, do basic math - acquire those skills asap, so they'll understand what eBays is and how to get to the eBay website because simply they can finally read what's written there and they can count. --SvenAERTS 14:51, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

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