LOCAL NGO PARTNER
The Magoso Center operates 1 school in Kibera, Kenya; we will work with one in the Mashimoni area. Our contact, Zablon Wagalla, is Director and Head of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Programmes.
More than a school, Magoso views itself as a way of life for children, supplementing its educational programs with music, art and drama. Student enthusiasm runs high at Magoso; even when explicitly told not to, half of the students will often come.
Zablon himself was recognized for his past accomplishments in using innovative technologies to empower youth and bring them out of poverty. He describes himself as a social entrepreneur and subscribes wholeheartedly to the idea of creating “agents of change”.
Magoso School operates from January 5 to December 5 every year and the only break period is in winter. Students will be in school for our entire stay, Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM.
EDUCATIONAL GOALS & PROJECTS
We believe in learning through doing. Our project will enable children to use the XO’s tools in order to engage in active learning. We aim to give children the maximum time possible to explore on their own, supporting their efforts and building their self confidence. We will use the XO laptop to enhance Magoso’s culture of creativity and sharing. Students have already created a class CD with the help of an external studio. With tools such as Write and Record, they will be able to produce on their own. Others, like Scratch and Scratch Cards, will enable them to expand their creative horizons to video productions, digital art, writing, and entirely new mediums. By the end of our stay we would like students to regularly post their ideas to a blog. They will simultaneously work on research projects to document and share experiences in their community. To that end, we’d like to acquire older, 1-3MP digital cameras.
Our students will be taught to learn and learn to teach, using their knowledge to mentor others. We specifically targeted students in middle grades so that they will be able to fulfill this role and our 100 laptops will benefit more than 100 students.
Our team will work with Zablon and 6 other ICT-trained volunteers from Magoso who will continue our work after we leave. We will stay in touch through regular email and phone correspondence to offer support.
We also plan to create an organization at the University of Pennsylvania to:
• increase awareness of the OLPC initiative and Magoso
• recruit additional volunteers for future projects
• conduct fundraising campaigns for Magoso
With 3 schools, 379 students and 30-40 new students every year, there is much room for future work with Magoso. In Zablon’s words, “we will continue working until every child in Kibera can have a laptop like the privileged children”.
Zablon has made living arrangements for us in an apartment along Ngong road, and will help us with transportation and finding food.
Zablon and much of his staff are all ICT trained and able to help with setup. Between us we have extensive experience with equipment setup, Python, and Unix/Linux environments. We can also hire local services to supplement our own technical expertise.
Magoso will hire a van to receive the 230kg shipment of laptops and equipment. Zablon has experience receiving shipments from abroad and has established contacts within the ministry who will ensure a smooth delivery. There is a secure room in the school that will be used to store the laptops until they are distributed to children, and children will be instructed on how to safely transport the laptops between home and school.
The school is powered and is making arrangements to have broadband internet through FlashCom. Most students’ homes are close enough to take advantage of mesh networking and though only 10% are powered, battery power and alternative power sources to enable students to continue use at home.