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 on campus) 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 be teaching students, 9-12 years old, at the ULK primary school about money savings, facilitating practice in the English language, and sharing technology. Through these real-world skills, these youth will be future economic contributers. Earning money for their family and stimulating the economy, XO Go participants are agents of change in their communities. This initiative parallels the UNGANA Foundation whose mission is to run an entrepreneurial training program in the region. In a three tier process, the partnerships between XO Go, ULK and the UNGANA Foundation is meant to facilitate long-term growth, from early education, to college years, through adulthood.


XO Go expounds on the original XO application platform through studying basic English and money management principles. The English curriculum will involve learning nouns and common phrases through games and activities using open source software; the money management curriculum includes simple savings and planning principles practiced also through engaging activities with open source software. XO Go is built on diversity, offering peer-to-peer interaction, and creativity development activities – all enabled through XO Laptops.

It starts with the UNGANA Foundation's hub in rural Gisenyi, Rwanda, where international volunteers and local ULK University students are united to teach and mentor at ULK primary school in an after-school/vocational program. This team of 'big brothers and sisters' will work with small groups on rotating shifts throughout the week conducting workshops based on the XO Go curriculum. In addition to the 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 3 weekday classes at ULK campus, enabling access to the Internet, power grid and early exposure to higher education. An additional 1-2 weekday activities will be held in various community locations with outdoor field trips on weekends. Because the XO Go program operates on ULK's existing primary/university partnership, language barriers will be dissolved and long-term usage will automatically be facilitated.

The transportation of the 230 kg equipment package will be directed through UNGANA resources in Rwanda. 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, the children will be taught how to care for their laptop, and groups will be partnered with an ULK computer science student for post-deployment questions and difficulties.

Regionally, the Rwandan Government is in strong support of English education, children’s savings, and technology (XO Laptops in particular) deployment throughout schools in the entire country. With the help of the UNGANA Foundation, XO Go is seeking additional funding as needed.


Students at ULK with members of the Ungana Foundation

Three of the four XO Go team members arrive 3 weeks before training in Kigali. They will join UNGANA Associates and volunteers in Gisenyi, Rwanda on June 1, 2009. Before the June XO training, team XO Go will have the opportunity to begin developing lesson plans with the local university students and primary administrators, in addition to solidifying technical preparations. 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 the 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 8 weeks.


The team is comprised of three Utah State students and one nonprofit professional. Three of the four team members have traveled to Rwanda on previous research, and are fully aware of rural Gisenyi’s obstacles. Their experiences have allowed them to develop close relationships with community members, local professionals, and the country itself. It is through this local understanding XO Go was developed.

Greg Allan Computer Science Utah State
Ashley Linford International Studies Utah State
Alyssa Callister Marketing Utah State
Alexander Erickson Managing Director 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 alumni, 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.

Finances - 4 people

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 6,300.00
Ungana Housing 500.00
Airport Bus 100.00
Equipment Transport 150.00
Travel Insurance 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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