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Back to: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Learning_Club_D.C.#Proposals_to_OLPC_Contributor.27s_Program


Copy this entire Project Proposal Form into the text of an email, then complete all 8 fields. Be concise!

Photos are welcome, but no Microsoft Word or PDF documents please. Include your project title, and any countries connected to your project, in the subject line of your email.

Email to: contributors @ laptop.org

1. Project Title & Shipment Detail

   Name of Project: 

Lubuto Library Project Zambian Literacy Programming Project (OLPC Project Number is: #61571)

   Shipping Address You've Verified:

SHIP on behalf of Lubuto Library to:

Michael Lee

[Shipping address]


   Number of Laptops (or other hardware) You Request to Borrow: 

Six (6) OLPC XO-1.5 Laptops

   Loan Length—How Many Months: 

24 months (an additional 12 months added to account for a possible extension of the project)

2. Team Participants

   Name(s) & Contact Info: (include all email addresses & phone numbers)

Jane Kinney Meyers, MLS President, Lubuto Library Project Lubuto Library Project, Inc. 5505 Connecticut Ave., NW, #368 Washington, DC 20015-2601 http://www.lubuto.org [Email, phone] Bio: http://www.lubuto.org/northamerica.html

Eleni Coromvli Program Manager (Lubuto Staff) P.O. Box 50548, Ridgeway, Lusaka, Zambia (Physical address) 1, 3B/25 Off-Roan Rd. Kabulonga, Lusaka, Zambia [Email, phone]

Kathleen Harness Etoys Illinois The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 505 E. Green Street Suite 102 Champaign, Illinois, 61820 http://www.etoysillinois.org/ [Email, phone] Bio: http://squeakland.com/about/people/bio.jsp?id=6

Mike Lee Sugar Labs DC / OLPC Learning Club DC [Postal address] http://www.olpclearningclub.org [Email, phone] Bio: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Mikelee


  • Direct endorsement from the Zambian Ministry of Education
  • Lubuto Library Project volunteers in Washington, DC and Lusaka, Zambia.

3. Objectives

   Project Objectives: (WEB-PUBLISHED)

There is a critical need for means to teach all Zambian children to read in their original language that the educational system cannot meet. Lubuto libraries reach out-of-school children and can help them toward reading by read-aloud and storytelling programs, but tools for reading teaching in Zambian languages are not available. Youth who have been using the One Laptop Per Child XO laptops in Lubuto libraries and experienced Zambian reading teachers will together be trained in the OLPC application Etoys and create early reading programs in Zambian languages. The programs will then be made available on laptops in the libraries and via the Lubuto.org website to inspire creation of similar programs in other African countries and languages.

Being able to approach learning to read in their native tongue will literally mean development of reading fluency for hundreds of thousands of out-of-school and vulnerable children and youth who do not have access to adequate reading education. The Zambian-language reading programs can be used in under equipped classrooms as well as in Lubuto and other libraries, and programs can be adapted to accommodate other African languages of similar structure (primarily Bantu languages), potentially bringing literacy to millions of children in Africa. It is also expected that programs to introduce reading in Zambian languages will inspire more advanced local language computer content as well as writing of children’s books in Zambian languages to advance fluency.

There remains no question of the central importance of literacy in African development and the spread of literacy is considered necessary to achieving several of the Millennium Development Goals. Illiteracy in Africa has been shown to underpin extreme poverty, the spread of disease and the health and safety of girls and women, and endemic underdevelopment on the continent. The central importance of learning to read in one’s original language has been long understood, yet solutions that would make this universally possible have long eluded Zambian society. The potential social and economic benefits of this straightforward innovation, then, are profound.

An additional, narrower benefit to the young Zambians who will develop programming and educational product design skills can be expected to not only benefit them but may set them on a course to develop more useful educational tools in Zambian languages.

4. Plan of Action

As of 26 March 2010, this project is funded. Lubuto Library Project won a grant of USD $30,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation administered through eIFL, the Electronic Information for Libraries Public Library Innovation Program (based in Italy). The full roster of winners will be announced this month (April 2010) on their web site: http://plip.eifl.net/sections/services/plip/home

   Plan and Procedure for Achieving the Stated Objectives:

Project work plan

A Program Manager will safeguard staying on target with the program objectives and work plan and quality output; to carry out the financial management of the program and its on-time delivery. Duties of the Program Manager will include recruiting of project designers; liaison with Ngwerere School and Lubuto Library staff who will be trained in entering content into Etoys templates; engagement of the programming consultant and the evaluators from the Ministry of Education Curriculum Development Centre. The Program Manager reports to the President of the Lubuto Library Project and stays in communication with the Program Coordinator who is on the field every time a Program activity is running. A final financial and narrative report will be prepared by the Program Manager at the end of the program.

All of the content will be developed using open-source software and will be made available on the www.Lubuto.org website for the public. A group of students in the Masters of Information Management Capstone Project, led by Assistant Professor Derek Hansen at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies is creating a mechanism through which the programs will be made accessible on the website. The system will be in place by May 2010. In addition to our website, Lubuto communicates about our innovations via YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, blogs and our email newsletter.

5. Needs

   Why is this project needed? 

See above.


The project is rooted in, and serves, the local communities of Zambia, initially in the capital city of Lusaka.

   In the greater OLPC/Sugar community? 

This project forges stronger ties between the Squeakland Foundation, Etoys Illinois, OLPC LC DC and Sugar Labs DC.

   Outside the community? 

Will serve as a showcase of the application of Etoys and XO laptops in Zambia.

   Why can't this project be done in emulation using non-XO machines? 

The libraries are in resource-constricted environments where the ruggedness and power efficiency of the OLPC XO laptop are very beneficial. The new ability to boot into GNOME will help adult educators use the laptops more efficiently as well.

   Why are you requesting the number of machines you are asking for?

Six machines are required to serve the number of content developers needed to utput the number of Etoys modules proposed to Gates-eIFL.

       Will you consider (1) salvaged/rebuilt or (2) damaged XO Laptops? 

Rebuilt XO-1.5s are acceptable, but new machines are preferred as there will be minimal ability to effect repairs on damaged or unstable machines.

6. Sharing Deliverables

   Project URL—where you'll Blog specific ongoing progress:

Lubuto Library Project http://www.lubuto.org

OLPC Learning Club DC http://www.olpclearningclub.org

       Please web-publish this entire completed proposal, removing any sections affecting your personal privacy. Ask if you want help -- communicating with our OLPC/Sugar global community is core! 

YES. Published to the OLPC LC DC wiki.

   How will you convey tentative ideas & results back to the OLPC/Sugar community, prior to completion? 

Blog posts, YouTube, talks at OLPC/Sugar community events.

   How will the final fruits of your labor be distributed to children or community members worldwide? 

Output will be posted to the Lubuto Library and Sugar Labs DC web sites.

   Will your work have any possible application or use outside our community?

The hope is that this approach will spread to other countries such as Malawi.

       If yes, how will these people be reached? 

The project is rooted in physical libraries through which expansion would happen.

   Have you investigated working with nearby XO Lending Libraries or Project Groups? 

Lubuto Library has received technical support from the OLPC Learning Club DC.

7. Quality/Mentoring

   Would your Project benefit from Support, Documentation and/or Testing people? 


   Teachers' input into Usability? 

Yes. We expect Etoys Illinois will provide this type of feedback as well as the MOE in Zambia.

   How will you promote your work? 

See above.

   Can we help you with an experienced mentor from the OLPC/Sugar community? (WEB-PUBLISHED)
       If YES: specify the kind of Ongoing Mentoring that will benefit you most. 
       If NO: specify who will help you share your progress, creations & results. 

No needed.

8. Timeline (Start to Finish)

Project preparation: Work with OLPC Sugar Labs, Zambia Min. of Education, U. of Zambia and U. of Illinois partners to develop standards, plan and approach and identify project personnel January 2010 – April 2010

Kickoff day-long workshop to with project team and stakeholders to determine plan, standards, approach and logistics and develop criteria and procedures for testing and judging acceptability of projects April 2010

Project team develops Etoys reading projects on Saturdays to be tested by Lubuto Library users on weekdays; successful programs are translated to other Zambian languages May 2010 to March 2011

Wrap-up workshop and project demonstrations, publicity, loading projects on XO laptops throughout Lubuto Libraries and on Lubuto.org website March 2011

   Specify how you prefer to communicate your ongoing progress and obstacles!
       [YES ] I agree to pass on the laptop(s) to a local OLPC group or other interested contributors in case I do not have need for the laptop(s) anymore or in case my project progress stalls.

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