OLPCorps USU Rwanda

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XO GO: USU Students for Rwanda



Kids in Gisenyi

The UNGANA Foundation and students from Utah State University (USU) will join the Independent University of Kigali (ULK), Gisenyi Campus (a University with a primary school) to implement XO Go: a One Laptop Per Child initiative aimed at teaching creativity and life skills using technology to Rwandese youth.

The XO Go team will teach students, 9-12 years old, at the ULK primary school about money savings, the English language, and technology. Through real-world skills, these youth will become future economic contributers. Their skills will provide income for their family and stimulate the economy as XO Go participants grow into agents of change in their communities. This initiative parallels the UNGANA Foundation's mission: an entrepreneurial training and community development program in the region. In a three tier process, the partnerships between XO Go, ULK and the UNGANA Foundation facilitates long-term growth, from early education, to college years, through adulthood.


XO Go expounds on the original XO application platform wherein youth study basic English and money management principles with open source software. Two new applications will be introduced: Sebran, part of the English curriculum that will involve learning nouns and common phrases utilizing games and activities; and Monopolie, a money management tool that includes simple savings and planning principles practiced also through engaging activities. XO Go builds on diversity, offering peer-to-peer interaction and creative development – all enabled by XO Laptops.

Starting with the UNGANA Foundation's hub in rural Gisenyi, Rwanda, international volunteers and local ULK University students unite to teach and mentor at ULK primary school. As an after-school, vocational program, this team of 'big brothers and sisters' works with small groups on rotating shifts throughout the week conducting workshops based on the XO Go curriculum. In addition to weekly classes, these mentors will organize weekend field trips and community service in order to build networks and community support for the children.


Xo Go will host three weekday classes at ULK campus, a resource rich facility with access to the Internet, power grid and early exposure to higher education. An additional one to two weekday activities will be held in various community locations with outdoor field trips on weekends. XO Go program operates on ULK's existing primary/university partnership, dissolving language barriers and automatically facilitating long-term usage.

UNGANA resources in Rwanda will direct transportation of the 230 kg equipment package. The equipment will be moved to, and stored, at ULK campus in Gisenyi (this facility has 24-hour security).

In addition to the individual growth curriculum, mentors will teach children how to care for their laptops, and groups will partner with an ULK computer science student for post-deployment questions and difficulties.

Regionally, the Rwandan Government strongly supports English education, children’s savings, and XO Laptop deployment throughout schools in the entire country. With the help of the UNGANA Foundation, XO Go currently seeks additional funding to sustain future saturation.


Students at ULK with members of the Ungana Foundation

Four of the five XO Go team members arrive 3 weeks before training in Kigali. They join UNGANA Associates and volunteers in Gisenyi, Rwanda on May 15, 2009. Before June XO training, team XO Go will have the opportunity to begin creating lesson plans with local university students and primary school teachers. Early arrival is also an opportunity to solidify technical preparations before deployment. Most importantly, the XO Go team can meet the children and build positive relationships with them.

On June 9, 2009, XO Go team members will participate in OLPCorps Africa training in Kigali. Following their training, the team will make the short trip back to Gisenyi to orchestrate XO Go deployment over the next 9 weeks.


The team is comprised of three Utah State University students and one nonprofit professional. Four of the five team members have traveled to Rwanda on previous research, gaining knowledge of rural Gisenyi’s obstacles. Their experiences have allowed them to develop close relationships with community members, local professionals, and the country itself. This local relationship is the core of XO Go's future impact.

Greg Allan Computer Science Utah State
Ashley Linford International Studies Utah State
Alyssa Callister Marketing Utah State
Alexander Erickson Managing Director Ungana Foundation
Ceraphin Makuza Local Translator Ungana Foundation


Team Details

Greg Allan - Computer Science - USU Greg has focused on computer security, writing papers with professors from both Utah Statue University and Notre Dame University. For the entirety of his undergraduate career, he has helped his fellow develop computer skills as a Computer & Information Literacy administrator. That experience has made him aware just how integral computers are in a student's success. Greg is experienced in the Sugar operating system, has learned the XO application platform, and has begun to acquire various open source software options for the curriculum.

Ashley Linford - International Studies - USU

Ashley has diverse international experience stretching across Latin American, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. These experiences have developed her cultural sensitivity and community interaction. Ashley is currently working with kids and teaching English in Japan and plans to continue her pursuit of teaching in the XO Go program. After a research trip to Rwanda in May, 2008, Ashley decided she had to help Rwandese youth; XO Go is an opportunity for her to do so.

Alyssa Callister - Marketing - USU

Alyssa is in her last semester as a student at USU studying business marketing. She is currently an intern for US Senator Hatch working primarily on the finance committee. She has conducted extensive research on the ASPIRE act, legislation focusing on child savings accounts, worked with top economists and legislative counsel to refine and push child savings programs in the US. Alyssa just returned from Rwanda and is familiar with the culture and the people. Her French skills, experience with child savings and the country of Rwanda, make her a valuable addition to the team.

Alexander Erickson - Managing Director - Ungana Foundation

A USU alumnus, Alex is very excited to bring the Ungana Foundation together with USU students in this promising initiative. He has overseen the development of this nonprofit in Rwanda, and is ensuring partnerships with ULK, schools and orphanages, and local community members. Alex holds a bachelors in economics from Utah State University and has been involved in efforts in Rwanda for over a year now. His extensive knowledge of the region and basic language abilities make him an important asset to XO Go.


Variable Costs:

Expense weekly
Local Transportation 30.00
Internet 30.00
Food 200.00
Phone Cards 8.00
10 Week Total 2,680.00

Fixed Costs:

Expense 10 weeks
Air-fare(3) 6,300.00
Ungana Housing(3) 500.00
Airport Bus 100.00
Equipment Transport 150.00
Travel Insurance(3) 650.00
1 Network Switch 40.00
3 Wireless Routers 100.00
10 USB Drives 50.00
Wiring Cables

/Screwdrivers/ Extension Cords/ Power Strips

10 Week Total 7,940.00

Total XO Go Costs: $10,620.00


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