OLPCorps HarvardUniversity Kenya

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Contents

The Team

We are a team of 7 undergraduates from Harvard University and Boston University.

  • Mudiurasul A. Hassan - Applied Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Jonathan Kola - Electrical Engineering
  • Mackenzie Sigalos - Visual and Environmental Studies, Government
  • Paul Byatta - Government
  • Glenn Getonga
  • Dennis Mwaura - Economics and Government
  • Lawrence Barchok - Economics and Computer Science

Background Information

We plan to introduce the XO to the children of the 5th grade class in the Bonde Kakoko Primary School with the help of the Victoria Institute of Science & Technology(VIST) and the Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK). VIST is a recently registered public charitable trust headquartered in Port Victoria in Western Kenya. It aims at contributing to poverty alleviation and human development by building and enhancing technical skills and entrepreneurship.

While nearly all of us are native born Kenyans, Jonathan has a special relationship with the region since he is originally from the area and has friends and family in the school’s local community. The team also has several members capable of handling the technical aspects of the project quite well due to their academic experience with computing. Mackenzie is the lead director of One for All. Her skills garnered from organizing and deploying several XO pilot programs in elementary schools within the Cambridge area through this organization will be invaluable to the team when integrating the XO into the children’s curriculum. The rest of us each bring different skills to the table but are united in our passionate urge to play our role in bridging the digital divide, fostering better education and community development.

Our Proposal

We shall introduce the XO to the children, and organize our work with them into three main stages.

The First Stage

We'll introduce the XO, and the role of computing in the developing world to the children and the community by holding a general presentation on computing when we arrive.

The Second Stage

We'll hold general workshops with the children to teach them the basic functionality of the XO and get them familiarized with it. We can hold these classes after school for two weeks, and every other day we will assign them fun tasks they can do at home.

The Third Stage

We'll then completely integrate the XO into the children's classes, and use it to illustrate specific concepts.Rather than basing the class completely on the XO, the teacher will first explain the concepts of the day, and then the children will work with the XO to explore the concepts just explained. The children will be assigned relevant homework assignments expanding their XO experience and making extensive use of its functionality. We will be available to help the children with these homework tasks after the school day. Since many of the children come from the surrounding areas, we can organize these sessions in central locations or homesteads outside the school, to get closer to the community as well.

Sustainability

For the sustainability of this project, we shall hold fund raising events on campus through the following organizations that our team members are actively involved in, to raise funds for the continuation of the project when we leave and also to cater for any repair and replacement costs that we may incur.

The teachers will send feedback on the successes and drawbacks of the project to us directly and also to the NGOs since they have agreed to remain intricately linked with the project. We will also remain in personal contact with the children and form pen-pal relationships with them. This will also enable them to count on us as invaluable resources as they further their own personal quests for knowledge. To expand their vision of the XO and computing, we will set up art/creative writing competitions on the current and future impact of the XO in the community. The winning classes will receive a desktop computer that will be left behind for the incoming class, expanding technology in the community.

Impact

This project will have a tremendous impact on the children and the community. Through the XO’s designed programs, the children will have an enhanced learning experience and will expand their imagination and their goals. This will empower them with the tools required to transform their local communities, their country Kenya and Africa.

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