10,000 XO Laptops to Mali via OLPC Europe


Are you wondering the progress of One Laptop Per Child in Mali, West Africa? Well according to Walter De Brouwer, OLPC Europe found a Swiss sponsor to donate 10,000 laptops to Mali, and will begin a deployment in the region of Timbuktu this December:

olpc mali
Happy for future XO's
"We're starting a big project in Mali, where there are 10,000 kids with nothing," he said. "We're not just selling them a laptop, together with the Government we've electrified the schools; we see that teachers are trained and that classes go down from 100 kids to 40. It's a laptop project and an education project, but it's becoming a transformation project, because the aim is to transform a society."

According to Nathalie Avidar of OLPC Europe, the initial order for a pilot of this kind with between 10,000-12,000 laptops costs between US$2-2.4 million. This sum covers the machines and the training of all the relevant personnel and 1% of the purchase price covers repair or replacement of machines in event of major failures.

But what about OLPC Mali - the Laptop Magazine financed pilot project that showed XO laptops could make a difference in Mali? Apparently, OLPC Europe isn't working with them directly anymore. They're tossing aside these experienced implementers after getting their connections and capitalizing on their good will.

While that would really piss me off, Salimata of OLPC Mali has a larger vision:

In all honesty, I am very happy and thrilled that OLPC is finally deploying in Mali. This is what I have worked so hard for, and I am proud of myself for making it happen. OLPC is about children getting laptops in their hands and enhancing their learning process and experience with it, and they deserve it.

May we all remember this when we're working on bringing XO laptops to children. Its not about grandstanding in front of press or presidents - its about the children. And Mali's children deserve the best we can give them.

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