OLPCorps GeorgiaInstituteofTechnology Mauritania
Georgia Institute of Technology
Mauritania Girl’s Mentoring Center Group
Who: We are a group of three undergraduate Industrial Engineering students from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta with aims of making a positive influence while educating ourselves.
What: Our NGO will be Girl’s Mentoring Center which is under the Ministry of Education. We plan to work with children of two schools in Mauritania. Both these schools are for girls and they are being served by Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), our local partner organization.
When: Training starts in Kigali on June 8th. Following training, the reminder of the project will be carried out in Mauritania.
Where: The sites are located in Mauritania in the towns of Egjert and Aiwanatt Zbil, in the Hodh el Gharby region. Both cities are in close proximity to the regional capital of Aioun, which hosts a successful Girl’s Mentoring Center (GMC).
Our Project and Goals:
We plan to coordinate with the Peace Corps Volunteers and Girl’s Mentoring Centers (GMCs) in Mauritania. The GMCs provide educational and life skills courses to promising female students. Our team believes in the cause of better education for girls and the Peace Corps Mauritania GMC program is an excellent match. We hope to draw on GMC students as mentors to help teach the younger students how to use the XO laptops. Peace Corps Volunteers have made it clear that it is possible to find enough children within the 6-12 age limit during the summer months since school will be out.
Based on discussions with PCVs, Ginger Tissier and Will Ryan, we concluded that we would like achieve three main objectives through this project:
1) Provide entertaining, intelligent and simple learning tools through the XO laptop
2) Teach the children how to use XO to find reference material to increase their knowledge
3) Ensure that the support and learning continues long after the project is over.
Plan of action:
We will work closely with Peace Corps Volunteers and the local community. Being engineers, we would like to tweak the XO to suit our objectives. For this reason we will also look to incorporate some open source learning tools for the Linux platform. We also plan to develop some of our own simple programs to suit the local needs along with incorporating the many programs offered by OLPC that is listed the Learning Manual.
Our emphasis will be to teach children not only to use the XO for learning but also to explore and find more creative ways to increase their knowledge. We believe an important way to get the children involved is to engage them through creative programs that help them in their schoolwork and make learning fun. The reference material provided on the computers can also help them learn about the larger world and expand their knowledge and imagination.
The most common local language in Mauritania is called Hassaniya, a dialect within the Arabic language family. Schools are conducted and taught in French and Modern Standard Arabic. All three of us have basic knowledge of French and we will be relying on local contacts and other Peace Corps Volunteers for help in communicating with the children and the community.
Ensuring Sustainability of Project:
We will involve local teachers and volunteers in the process from the beginning and make sure that after the 9 weeks are finished they are able to teach children on their own and help the children as required. We will encourage the children to keep using and exploring the laptops while also making sure that the elder children are prepared to help the younger ones continue to learn in the future.
We have been in contact with representatives of Peace Corps Mauritania and will continue our communication after the project is over. We have also learned that the Internet is accessible in Mauritania through USB modems and we would like to examine the possibility of using the Internet in helping to teach the children.
We would like to help fund this project after our initial work is done and for that reason we will contact the Student Government Association and the Alumni Association here at Georgia Tech. These associations have long traditions of funding such initiatives and we are optimistic of their support for this project as well.