OLPCorps UCBerkeley Uganda Proposal
We are a group of three UC Berkeley undergraduates planning to implement the OLPC program in Buwaiswa, a rural village about 50 km north of Jinja, Uganda with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection. Buwaiswa Primary School has no computer or electrical access and through deploying 100 laptops to 6-12 year olds in this school, we can significantly enhance the quality of education they receive and their potential to advance and assist their disease-stricken community.
- Pedagogical Lead: Tiffany Hsieh - Political Science, Public Policy (minor) '10
- Logistical Lead: Marie Collins - Political Economy, Global Poverty and Practice (minor) '11
- Technical Lead: Billy Grissom - Computer Science '09
Our lessons will begin with instructions for basic use of the XO applications, progress to project-based learning, and culminate in software programming training. Each new level of instruction will provide the tools for the children to perform deeper independent exploration of the laptops’ capacity. We will assign projects pertinent to their daily their lives, including creating a video to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, which will be shared directly with their local community. These types of projects will challenge the children to create meaningful change through the use of their XO. Our technical lead has prior experience teaching children basic web design and programming (Python), and will provide the children with basic training in these skills. With this ability to write open-source programs, the children will be able tailor the XO directly to their level of need throughout the laptop’s five-year lifespan. We hope to collaborate with a fellow OLPCorps Africa team to arrange an exchange between our students, encouraging them to video chat, write, or share projects, thereby creating peer connectivity beyond the scope of the initial local peer-to-peer network. We will create a blog where the children will periodically upload stories, pictures, and ideas they have developed through the use of their laptops. This will encourage them to explore the internet, while allowing us to monitor and assess the impact of the deployment after our departure. Language barriers will be minimal, since classes are taught in English.
Our primary local contact will be the Organization for Good Life of the Marginalized (http://www.oglm.org/). Their mission is to provide socio-economic empowerment, advocacy and information sharing to the weakest members of society, specifically children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and their grandmothers. OGLM directs an educational center and an orphanage in Buwaiswa, has close ties to the community and primary school, and has demonstrated a commitment to the creation of a sustainable IT program in Buwaiswa. We will use their facilities initially to store the laptops, and later to provide internet and a reliable electrical source for the children to charge their laptops. They will also provide a truck to transport the 230 kg laptop shipment from the airport to the village. School will be in session throughout our nine-week stay, allowing us to work directly with the school teachers in planning and implementing lesson plans. Additionally, OGLM has committed two staff and four local volunteers to our program, including Hellen Lunkuse, OGLM’s Children’s Computer Trainer and Instructor, who will travel with us to the Kigali training workshop in June. By engaging many layers of the community in the laptop deployment, we hope to ensure program longevity.
We will fly into Entebbe, Uganda on June 4, where we will be met by a member OGLM and driven to Buwaiswa. There we will spend a few days meeting our new partners and developing a firm understanding of the needs of the village. With this information, we will fly out to Kigali on June 7 to put the finishing touches on our deployment plan, and then return to Buwaiswa for the remaining 9 weeks. While our logistical and technical leads are receiving and readying the laptops for distribution, our pedagogical lead will be preparing and advertising information sessions for parents and the community. By the time the laptops are ready, the 100 recipients will have been identified and we will begin the teaching process. We intend to incorporate XO training into the daily classroom schedule, rather than hosting after school lessons.
Since we will be transferring the program directly into the hands of OGLM, we will not have any financial commitment after we leave. However, upon our return to the United States, we may hold fundraising events to alleviate any extra costs incurred by our project and show our continued support for the organization.