I was sad but not surprised to read that OLPC Niue has ended, and with it the world's first full country saturation deployment. Of course, Niue wasn't really a "full country saturation", not with just 500 students. It was a great marketing ploy seeded by 500 free laptops from OLPC.
Reading through the lessons learned by Michael Hutak, OLPC Association's Regional Director for Oceania, I am struck by how many are common sense to those of us who have done ICT deployments in any field (education, healthcare, etc) in any region (Africa, South America, Southeast Asia). In fact, all I could think of while reading his posts was, I told you so.
For 6 years, I pointed out the need for an implementation plan that started with realistic costs and well-thought out support. The need to tie in the technology to existing local educational processes and expectations. The reality that monitoring and evaluation should be integral to every aspect of the program. And the acceptance that presidents loving laptops doesn't mean teachers and students will use them.
But what the hell do I know? Nicholas Negroponte already figured out how to fix Niue's OLPC implementation failures: just use helicopters.