OLPC Ethiopia

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The viewpoints expressed hereunder do not necessarily reflect the opinion of OLPC.
This page was created by a member of the free volunteer community supporting OLPC.





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 Government Support High Level Interest
 Deployment Wide adoption (over 5000 machines)
 Keyboard Layout OLPC Amharic Keyboard
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... and thanks for visiting the "OLPC" related Wiki-Pages, for the One Laptop Per Child Universal Primary Education project for Ethiopia. This website is a collaborative website in which you can create a login and then edit and add the pages. This tool is made available by the One Laptop Per Child not for profit. This is an "Open Community" project, similar to the Wikipedia, wikibooks and Open Source Community projects, like Linux, OpenOffice, etc. and it is working along Agenda 21 and Millennium Development Goal nr.2: Bringing Universal Primary Education. To edit text on this page or add pages, log in and and "edit page / save page" button will appear.


The aim of this educational project, is on one hand to bring Universal Primary Education by 2015 as - anno year 2000 initiated - United Nations Millennium Development Goal nr.2. On the other hand, OLPC's mission is to manage the open hard and software project, to bring forward the best possible laptop combination for education: the XO-XServer combination. For this and above approach, - and also a lot of lobbying by the right persons on the right places and time - the United Nations is a Partner in this Open Community project! It is the largest educational project undertaken by Humanity ever, and deemed by many as one of the most inspiring projects out there. 2008, saw the first countries with a 100% roll out to all of their kids aged 5 till 15: Peru, Uruguay. Several Island States have a 100% deployment too; Rwanda and Australia are following at fast pace too. Every XO can load over 100 ebooks on its memory and has a choice of over 86.000 eBooks available, as well as many (educational) games, all education disciplines covered, etc. etc.. things are moving fast indeed.


Ethiopia is a very multi-cultural society with a very diverse diaspora. We hope that this diaspora will work their way to these pages and that society in Ethiopia will benefit from these citizens with one leg in Ethiopia and another still in their countries of origin to develop leadership for OLPC, Agenda 21, the MDG's and accelerate bringing the level that our planet can be a nice place for all humans to new and inspiring heights for generations to come.

Please feel free to create sub-categories or list or start collaborating, teaming up and expanding our and your projects, existing and new ones in one of these sub-categories.

see also the Ethiopian Millenium Gift Project
2007 status: green


There are significant educational challenges in Ethiopia. Although Education For All (EFA) has tried to universalize access to primary education, current national figures demonstrate that only 60% of children are enrolled, with a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 72. Currently Ethiopia uses the long-established teaching model where rote-learning and student subservience are prioritized. Improving educational quality is a major goal which could depend on the pedagogical approach and curriculum structure. There is also a widespread lack of access to resources (including textbooks and extra-curricular learning materials).

Five Principles for OLPC in Ethiopia

detailed article:OLPC Ethiopia/Background

Two years ago the Ethiopian government formulated five principles to be considered in the One Laptop Per Child concept for Ethiopia which will be reflected in the implementation phase.

Principle Number One: eBooks

There are eBooks available around the world and the objective of OLPC is not to increase the quantity, but to improve the quality and accessibility of the customized content so printing cost will be minimized. It also means eBooks can be easily updated and distributed.

Principle Number Two: eLibrary

Content is an essential part of education. An eLibrary will help to access content easily. An eLibrary will not only have official Ethiopian textbooks but also additional supporting books. It is available in a master eLibrary out of which regional or local copies can be replicated.

Note: eLM information is added on 28/12/2012

     by Ayalew Shebeshi from iTTS PLC 

The .eLM Library and Resource Management System

The .eLM generation is Windows-based; fully MARC compliant, with a MARC cataloguer’s input view that is completely unique; it can operate in MARC or non-visible MARC mode at will. For organizations with multiple sites .eLM offers an integrated thin client facility from one central server and with access from all other sites via a LAN, WAN or Internet connection. This is very efficient in terms of network resource and requires no third party software at all to provide full system functionality at remote sites. The Web OPAC makes the catalogue, borrower enquiries, reserve requests, facilities bookings and other information available to anyone with a normal Web browser. The system is completely multilingual, being available in UNICODE, with languages other than English available as required. No software changes or different versions are necessary for other languages. .eLM can be used in schools, academic, public or corporate environments and can be configured with no re-programming to suit the organization. CGI has its head office in Christchurch New Zealand and has a branch office in Auckland. Representative offices are in Brisbane, the USA, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Awards: CGI has won various awards for its Library and Dairy Industry software products.

This information is added by Ayalew Shebeshi from iTTS PLC

Principle Number Three: Direct Broadcast

Using the existing infrastructure in Ethiopia for the implementation of projecting the following:

-- Usage of school net: to broadcast existing learning materials directly on the notebook.

-- Usage of plasma screens for teachers: to demonstrate tasks for all students on the screen.

-- Broadcast video on plasma screen: for teacher training on notebooks, on how to reconfigure or maintain laptop for teachers, for local enterprises, and for students.

Principle Number Four: Interactive Learning

An active process in learning, engaging students in authentic tasks leads to success. The relationship between interaction and learning depends on what they already know. Interaction should be a mechanism to deliver knowledge. Problem solving and interactivity is the main goal of learning and by following this approach, interactivity learning will be driving idea educational concept in Ethiopia.

Principle Number Five: Innovative Learning

An action-oriented approach. Through this approach, students are expected to have acquired not only skills and knowledge obtained from qualifications, unit standards, and curricula, but they also have key competences such as problem solving techniques, communication skills, and the ability to work in a team. The main factor which determines success or failure of innovative action-oriented learning is a change in the role of teachers. Teachers have a big role in planning and structuring the learning process around tasks, problems, and questions. They guide and enable students to discover things on their own.

The Concept - Capacity Development


We create a conducive environment where high experts of the area share their experiences and officials from the educational bureau explain how individual efforts and skills would contribute immensely to the success of the project. We also participated in ICT exhibitions and school kids of grade two did a fine and convincing job of demonstrating what values the XOs add to them. Local medias have also done articles about the project.

Rema: The rural village of Rema is the first African village equipped by solar energy. On Sundays, teachers of Rema have this tradition of paying a home visit to parents who do not send their kids to school regularly. After the training, teachers suggested to mention the laptops in their visits in order to alleviate the problem of kids enrolment and attendance.


One cannot talk about a new educational tool for in and out of class activities and exclude the major part of classrooms – teachers. We deliver trainings for more than 220 primary school teachers in four schools found in Addis Ababa, Oromia region and Amhara Region. For many of the teachers, it was their first experience with computers. Ato Ashenafi is grade 8 Math teacher. In one training session, he was observed to mumble with a very angry facial expression. Assuming something must have gone wrong the trainer asked what the problem was. His answer was “Everything is okay. I am just angry that we did not have this opportunity long time ago.”


In developing countries like Ethiopia instructive methodology is the most common way of addressing the lesson. In this methodology teachers use hard copy text books, this is not cost effective and even some times not possible to distribute equally with the total number of students. In order to minimize this problem initiatives like OLPC play a big role. It is also obvious that most schools in Ethiopia do not have additional reference materials which the kids can use as reference materials. Besides there should be a teacher who explains the different topics on the text books and as a consequence the kids do not develop learning by them selves, exploring and experimenting. In order to alleviate the scarcity and to support the current learning-teaching process on.e/ecbp (Ethiopia OLPC project) has collected the regional text books from the regional offices and converted in to the appropriate/supported format so as to install on the XO’s. In collaboration with Eduvision and Macmillan on.e has produced interactive teaching materials (Melepo and Macmillan) which will be installed on the XO laptops. They are using the personal.


If you are interested to receive more detailed information about any aspect of the project, please don't hesitate to ask

   * Eskender Andualem - esketchandu@yahoo.com
   * Markos Lemma - eweket@gmail.com
   * Haileleul Mesfin -haileleul.mesfin@ecbp.biz  or haileleulm@gmail.com

Pilot Project

GTZ/ECBP and Eduvision carried out a pilot project between September and December of 2007 in Ethiopia in order to test the sustainability of their educational software – melepo- in the Ethiopian classroom using the XO laptop (GTZ: “Low-cost devices in educational systems: The use of the “XO-Laptop” in the Ethiopian Educational System”). Some of their findings demonstrated that the software facilitated a change in learning styles while still operating within the constraints of the curriculum.

Break-down of Laptop Deployment

Locations of laptop deployments, number of laptops at each site, and grade levels included.

Two schools were located in the capital city Addis Ababa:

o Atse Naod: 800 XOs (grades 2-8)

o Menelik II: 2400 XOs (grades 2-8)

Two rural schools:

o Rema in the Amhara district: 500 XOs, laptops supplied with personal solar panels.

o Mullo Sayyo in the Oromiya district: 675 XOs (grades 2 through 7)

XO Implementation

Following a successful one-year test phase of 60 laptops in two primary schools in Addis Ababa, OLPC donated about 5,000 laptops as part of the Give One, Get One initiative. The city of Florence, Italy, donated several dozen as well. The laptops were given to four schools in June, 2008. The ECBP helped deploy the laptops and emphasized teacher training. During implementation, teachers were trained on how to use the computers and implement interactive tasks in their lesson.

The first 5000 laptops are going out with no translations. This is not of high importance, because children are taught English from grade 2 and all school materials (except for the Amharic language classes) are in English from grade 5 upwards. Also, many aspects of the laptops are usable without being able to read the text, and also all of the lower grade textbooks shipped on the laptop are in regional languages. Translations into Amharic and Afar Oromo are planned. Community involvement is welcomed.

Relevant Ethiopian Principles, Capacity Building, the educational concept, textbook availability & localisation and other relevant aspects are described in a handbook developed and approved along the first year of testing.

Roll-out-activities cover training (teachers will receive training on how to use the computers as well as how to implement interactive tasks in their lessons), implementation&support (digitization of content, distribution of laptops, execution of curriculum based education using XO laptops) and monitoring & evaluation.

The interest in the OLPC program was shown by the multiplicity of foreign stakeholders and evaluators involved in the pilot project. These institutions included GTZ, EduVision, University of Groningen, and ICT4D. The only local implementing partner was the ECBP, which through their efforts with the foreign stakeholders are trying to reform education in Ethiopia. The breadth and depth of the evaluations will provide a basis for reflection and future improvements to the program.

Next in line for deployment

The town of Koraro, one of the Millennium Villages.--SvenAERTS 02:07, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Stakeholders Involved in the OLPC Deployment

The ECBP, GTZ, and EduVision are together coordinating their efforts in Ethiopia in order to improve the usage of the XO in the classroom. Together they are producing a series of documents that represent the progress of the deployment.

o Engineering Capacity Building Program (ECBP): an ambitious reform program aimed at accelerating industrial development in Ethiopia. (http://www.ecbp.biz/about.html). The ECBP has been working together with the Swiss company BlankPage, formerly known as Eduvision and represented locally by Apposit, on the One Laptop Per Child project in Ethiopia since 2007 [1].

o German Technical Assistance (GTZ): An international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations. Promotes complex reforms and change processes, often working under difficult conditions. Its corporate objective is to improve people’s living conditions on a sustainable basis [2]

o University of Groningen, Netherlands, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Nina Hansen: (Dutch) research on the influence of social identity on emotions and behavior within and between groups.

Dr Nina Hansen and Prof. Tom Postmes from the University of Groningen are currently involved in research that systematically and longitudinally tracks individual children to study the educational, psychological, social and cultural impact of OLPC in their life.

One goal of OLPC is to improve the educational outcomes of students, so called primary (i.e., educational) consequences of ICTs. These educational outcomes are being assessed in this project. However, this research also examines secondary consequences: changes over time in self-concept (such as goals and expectations), social networks (also referred to as social capital), cultural values, beliefs and practices, as well as changes in social equality (e.g., with respect to gender). These ‘unintended’ changes in psychology, social networks, communities, and culture may occur when laptops open new communication opportunities.

o EduVision/BlankPage: (Swiss) BlankPage is providing its innovative Akili Reader book viewer software which allows students and teachers to harness the true potential of this digital content.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

The aim of the M&E activities for OLPC in Ethiopia is to assess the feasibility and impact of introducing `innovative learning' in Ethiopia consisting of capacity development, XO laptops and Melepo. In fact M&E serves to gain detailed information on the preparation (particularly teacher training) and the implementation phase, both in and outside of the school. Through a variety of methods, we assess the outcomes of the capacity development activities and the the teachers, students and additional stakeholders' perception of the program. Monitoring the preparatory and implementation activities, as well as the stakeholders' perception, provides insight into both the success of the XO integration and development of in the local social environment. Given these data, the implementing team is able to conduct follow-up processes during and to adjust internal steering mechanisms among local stakeholders.

The deployment in Ethiopia has been the subject of rigorous evaluation. The University of Groningen, David Hollow of the Royal Holloway University, and the GTZ with ECBP are the known organizations involved in the evaluation process. Though the evaluation is in its infancy stages, there are already a few published reports.

Links to evaluative documents

ECBP "Innovative Learning in Ethiopia" June 24, 2009 (document found at the bottom of the page under One Laptop Per Child)

Nina Hansen and Tom Postmes from University of Grongingen: “Does Technology Drive Social Change?” May 20, 2009

EduVision: “Ethiopia Implementation Report Sept-Dec 2007” February 2008

David Hollow (British): “Low-cost laptops for Education in Ethiopia: Summary of Addis Ababa Implementation Report, September – December 2007” May, 2008.

For further information, see The ICT4D Collective: www.ict4d.org.uk

ECBP YouTube: “OLPC in Ethiopia” January 17, 2008

Media Coverage

More content


Children Using XOs in Classrooms


Journalist Interviewing the Head Schoolteacher


Children Using XOs Beyond the Classroom


Experiment to find out if children could learn how to read on their own

As per: http://newsroom.cisco.com/feature/1240339/Network-Trailblazer-A-Conversation-with-Nicholas-Negroponte-Founder-One-Laptop-per-Child?utm_medium=rss#

Negroponte: In 2011, I started a project. It’s not a billion-dollar project, it’s a small experiment.

Matt Keller runs the Ethiopia program. The goal of the project is to get kids to a stage called "deep reading," where they can read to learn.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/how-tablets-are-doubling-as-teachers-in-ethiopia-1.1090643/comments-7.355509#ixzz2wuB1uQkz

And the experiment was to see if children could learn how to read on their own, without school, and without literate adults. The reason that was important –if you can learn to read you can read to learn. But the deeper scientific reason is that the brain evolved over, let’s say, a million years so that actually the brain knows how to talk and how to walk and you can take a five-year-old kid from any part of the world and drop that kid in Paris and that kid will speak French in, you know, eight months or so.

Reading’s not like that. Reading’s only 3,500, 4,000 years old. The brain doesn’t do it naturally. It’s different than talking, but the question was how different. So we picked two villages in Ethiopia that had no literate adults, no printed words, no labels on bottles, no street signs, no electricity, no nothing. And we dropped off as many tablets as there were kids in the village of Wenchi, more or less at the edge of the road. No humans, no instructions.

The only thing we did do the night before is we dropped off a solar panel and taught one adult to put it outdoors and just to charge a car battery. That was it. The tablets were hot in the sense that if you touched them it recorded and so on. Within two and a half minutes, again no instructions, no adults, the first kid turned on the first tablet. This is in the first village. Within five days they were using 50, five-zero, apps per child per day. Within two weeks they were singing ABC songs and within six months they hacked android. Literally. No adults, no literates, nothing.

A faculty member at Tufts working with us, named Maryanne Wolf, went to Africa recently, went to the village, and the kids are doing what they call in their lingo the precursors of reading. They had actually done enough so we’ve decided to make it an X Prize. So there’s now a Global Literacy X Prize. The question is, can you drop a technology into places that have no schools, no electricity, no this and that – turns out there are a hundred million kids in that category so this is nontrivial – and after two years the kids are literate.

That X Prize was announced, but it’s not officially launched yet. It’s a $15 million prize. So amongst other things, what I’m doing now is chairing the XPRIZE and see if we can push this faster.

Primary Language ,|x|Language spoken::x}}
Number of Laptops Number of manufactured laptops::5900
Keyboard Layout Keyboard::OLPC Amharic Keyboard
Build ,|x|Software release::x}}
Date(s) Arrived in Country ,|x|Has received laptops on date::x}}
School Server ,|x|School server status::x}}
Deployment Status Deployment status::Started with GTZ and the Ministry of Education.