XO Laptop Helps an Indian Woman Build a Toilet?


In looking at the Next Billion post Building a Practical Platform for Collaboration: Akvo.org, I was struck by the curious image to the right. Apparently, an XO laptop has helped an Indian woman build a toilet, and I wonder how, when the post says:

Akvo's platform serves three main purposes: First, it facilitates the flow of funds and resources to water and sanitation projects in the developing world; in Akvo, you'll be able to find hundreds of projects in many countries with detailed descriptions of their funding needs, executing organizations, etc. Once you donate to the project of choice you'll be curious to see how it performs and grows over time, of course.

Well, project performance metrics is Akvo's second pillar of work through a methodology called Really Simple Reporting. Finally, through Akvopedia, it facilitates the transfer of skills and knowledge among existing projects and basically anyone interested in learning more about the different technologies and approaches that address the challenges of water and sanitation

Note what's missing in that description - any mention of the XO laptop. So how come the XO is featured so prominently? We can say that she might have learned of how to build a toilet after reading the designs on an XO, but in doing so we assume several things:

  1. She can read whatever diagrams or text describes the toilet
  2. These diagrams or text is on an XO laptop.
  3. She has access to an XO laptop
  4. Its her primary Internet reading source
  5. And the XO is connected to the Internet

And since OLPC India is still very much nascent vs.widespread, I have a feeling that this image is just trying to piggyback on XO hype. Like Esperanto but a little late.

So Akvo.org, please flush your marketing of erroneous XO images. Thanks.

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That's a toilet?!


Please, let's not forget the Wikipedia behavioral guideline "Don't bite the newbies".


There are plenty of people that have tried to suggest connections to OLPC for their own benefit, but I don't think that akvo.org rises to the level of defrauding anyone by invoking the XO as a visual element of a Bollywood-style poster. In fact, from a brief look at their site and wiki, they appear to be a legitimate Dutch non-profit and their goals (improved water and sanitation through freely sharing information) seem entirely compatible with the OLPC mission. Far better to reach out to them and engage them in developing OLPC's rather anemic health education content efforts then to accuse them of wrongdoing for a mere graphic design choice.

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