Details on Colombia's XO Laptop Pilots


It's a fact: Colombia is a country with too many problems, among them: poverty, unemployment, guerrilla and narcotrafficking. The latter two have provoked an internal conflict between the Colombian army and rebel groups and criminals, leaving civilians inside conflict zones.

This fighting has damaged the infrastructure in schools, hospitals, roads and bridges, leaving entire towns isolated from the central government . We see these problems in all the country, but when we take a closer look into the individuals and communities, all these bad things seems to go away, because of the kindness and good and hard work of the majority of the Colombian people.

olpc-colombia.jpgShakira's foundation Pies Descalzos is implementing olpc for 700 children in Colombia

Colombia's most pressing tasks are to resolve the civil conflict and to straighten out the government nationwide. While this is necessary, when these security plans have succeeded we will still have poverty and lack of opportunities; but also we will still have plenty of talented people full of abilities. To that new people of Colombia, projects like OLPC should and will be aimed.

Among the good news are the forthcoming OLPC deployments or pilots,There are now going to be two pilots the most large one resides in one region of Colombia (Caldas) in which the governor agreed to buy 65000 machines from OLPC .

The second is facilitated by the Pies Descalzos Foundation (this is Shakira's foundation) in three schools in Bogotá, Barranquilla, and Chocó. The announcement of this pilot is in Pies Descalzos April newsletter. Pies Descalzos will pillot approximately 700 XO's. Colombia's central government is not involved in either of the pilots.

The good news about all the pilots is that they are going to be supported for local OLPC volunteers in union with pedagogical institutions (Alianza Educativa and FiPC) and OLPC officials. These three factors are in my opinion the key ones to have a successful deployment. OLPC has to integrate technology, education, and logistics, and beginning from that we can expect that OLPC will have a real impact on the education of the poor children in Colombia. Hopefully this can be the beginning for a non-violent future for all our people. We have to remember that the lack of opportunities leads to an uncertain future.

For more news about OLPC Colombia see the OLPC Colombia wiki page in the OLPC wiki and OLPC Colombia mailing list.

Rafael Enrique Ortiz Guerrero is one the founding members of OLPC Colombia and is involved in the Pies Descalzos pilots. He lives in Bogota, Colombia.

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Congratulations on your pilot and good luck. I too believe that conflicts can be resolved in future generations with education. I still have the haiti fright theory, that maybe laptops can only help in places where some other minimum poverty problems have been solved. But i do not know enough on Colombia geography to know how Barranquilla, and Chocó are in terms of poverty and infrastructure..

Good luck and keep on the great work..


Possibly some of our user groups can assist directly with the Colombian OLPC projects? I have been to Colombia about 13 times since Jan. 2006, so I am bit biased to see people helping Colombia.

I thought of fund raisers could be done to provide assessories for the XO laptops. One idea would be for people here to have mini G1G1's. Send 2 Two Gig SD cards and have one returned and filled with your favorite Activities or alternative operating system, to keep your XO memory used for other required files. Of course, if paying for one fully installed SD card could mean that another 2 Gig memory card would be sent to Colombia.

I was thinking it would be good to have English - Spanish or Spanish - English memory games useful for children in the USA and other Spanish countries. I know I need better Spanish and I saw children learning English in Cali, Colombia appreciate the dual language capabilities of the XO.

Hi alexandre

Yes i also think all the laptop deployments have to be join with other programs like FA0's and PNUD's for example, it is not just the laptop..the environment is really important.Thanks for your wishes.

Hi Greg

i see that you are in Colombia's mailist, i wish we can discuss your collaboration ideas there.

The very best for Colombia, in these grassroots deployments!

Hmm, this card G1G1 sounds like an idea we should explore deeper. There is something there. Definitely there are issues of getting content to be distributed that could somewhat get solved this way.

I'll sign up in the Colombia list also to keep an eye on this idea.