OLPCorps Georgetown University Dundori Kenya

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Background and Objective

Our team is comprised of four hard-working students from Georgetown University – Sohan Manek, Cameron Stainken, Maureen Stickel, and Domenic Vallone. Through discussions with The Great Commission Trust, an NGO working to improve educational standards in rural Kenyan, it has become clear that Janet Primary School (“JPS”), a growing English-speaking facility located in Dundori, would benefit greatly from the laptops and educational assistance we can provide through OLPC. There is no doubt that our nine week presence at the Janet school, where we would distribute laptops and offer computer literacy training to staff and students in order to better integrate this community into the greater global community, would be highly meaningful and beneficial. Each member of our team will draw on diverse experiences to bring about success at the Janet school. Please visit the following link for our biographies - Georgetown Team Page. All four members have studied abroad in various countries and have experience assimilating into many different cultures and languages. The combination of technology knowledge, teaching experience, and familiarity working with children combined with the ability of all members to seamlessly integrate into foreign cultures will strengthen our program at JPS.

Schedule and Local Support

We will immediately begin work at JPS after orientation. The children attend school from June through August, with a break in early August. During the break, our team will lead a computer “boot camp” for the children in order to focus on teaching more complex technological ideas. Furthermore, the school will provide vast staff support so that the programs can continue after we leave. While The Great Commission Trust will be overseeing our program, we will be working directly with JPS. We have attached letters of support from the school that display its commitment to our proposed program. We expect full access to the children and exceptional support from JPS.

Impact

Despite the short duration, we have aggressive goals for our stay in Dundori. Through initial exposure to the internet, the children at JPS will gain enhanced understanding of basic geography, history, and culture, thus providing a broader context to assess the global community in which they are a part. From this point, we will individualize projects based on each child’s interest. For example, one child may have his interest piqued in regards to East Asia. We will work to connect him further by giving him the tools to access more information, such as a pen-pal program. Another student may discover new interest in her own culture. We will give her tools to research her own community through interviews, historical records, and other resources. All of these unique projects share the goal of exposure to different cultures and the world community as a whole. Students will then disseminate new information gained through projects to their peers, families, and friends. The idea is that this enhanced access to information will allow students to not only become agents of change, but create a platform of idea sharing in which the entire community can become involved. This project fits directly with OLPC’s core principles. We expect the 6-12 year old children to take responsibility for equipment while connecting to the global community. They will utilize laptops for wide-ranging topics without restriction in order to share ideas with others. We do not wish to lecture on topics that can be discussed without valuable equipment such as the XO laptop. Instead, we will use an individualized approach to ensure children utilize the knowledge effectively. An integral point is the sustainability of our project. We do not strive to create a system that will fall apart upon our departure. Through teacher training (JPS will provide us with 10 staff members), student projects, and computer maintenance, we will meet OLPC’s goals during our time in Kenya and into the future.

Support Post-OLPC

As graduating members of the class of 2009, all team members will gain access to Georgetown’s extensive alumni network. Furthermore, we will maintain close ties to the current student body. Through these connections, we will begin a funding program for our projects at JPS. All team members also plan on maintaining contact with the NGO and school in order to offer support. While our main goal remains the initial integration of the children into the global community, we do not view this project in terms of the weeks we will spend in Kenya, but in terms of the enduring change we can create.

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