A Request to Support a OLPC Bolivia Deployment


Dear Dr. Negroponte, Dr. Kane,

I actually started a draft of this note the 6th of January. Current events do probably nuance things and urgencies.

xo is god
Marcelo Claure & Bolivian President

As far as I have been able to gather facts about Bolivia and OLPC, to date there have been at least three attempts to spark something there:

  1. One in 2006 by Lindsay Petrillose, an OLPC employee
  2. Another by Marcelo Claure in 2007, which included an interview with the President of Bolivia
  3. and another in early 2008 by Rodrigo Arboleda during a South American Executives Conference in Santa Cruz.

Remain several B4s, a local consulting firm that has taken the name of OLPC but has next to nil connection with anything we do, and a private deployment of 100 units that after their purchase appears to have remained disconnected with everything else worldwide, except for some help I was able to give them to unblock 20 of their machines, through OLPC channels.

Lasting results of those efforts and international media is some local interest and curiosity, and a few local volunteers who got connected to the international community.

Since I became active with OLPC as a volunteer in early 2008, I have made all efforts to build on what was done before, and add as much as I could, together with an increasing number of Bolivian OLPC volunteers, and also increasing support by the international OLPC community, several OLPC official programs, individuals and NGOs in the United States and abroad.

Slow going, I must admit, but I feel that we are now in a good path to success, with actual funding and donations of XOs also becoming a reality. In September of this year I was able to help some of these volunteers start an Aymara translation for Sugar.

This obviously will be impacted by the nature of the "spin off" of Latin America that you announced. I would still want to help and become part of that effort, do it professionally if that made sense, or pull out gracefully and avoid hurt feelings among the volunteers if that were considered preferable. I have been working especially toward Bolivia being a community-based deployment, a topic I would be happy to discuss in detail with you, for given the special politic circumstances in Bolivia that would be the only kind of model with a chance to flourish.

In any case, I am supporting closely two major potential donors, one offering the purchase of between 700 and 1.000 XOs, the other 3.000, both assuring their desire to scale up as these early deployments become successful. There are quite a few other interested parties already gearing up their interest, that would want to participate as soon as they get a chance.

I am traveling to Bolivia soon, having lined up a Memorandum of Understanding with the City Government of La Paz as representative of OLE, Inc., entity that has been chosen by the 700-1K donor to handle their deployment and is funding me to follow through.

I will also be setting up a team to develop local content, something requested by the 3K donor, and advancing as much in securing cooperation of all other stakeholders I can come in contact to, with Ing. Marcelo Claure being an important player in this equation as he bridges both cultures.

A chance to talk about this with you in detail would be good, to establish parameters to work together even better. I am requesting your help so that despite many difficulties and roadblocks so far, these deployments and efforts in Bolivia can be a success.

Sincerely yours,
Yama Ploskonka

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on behalf of our team working with the Government of the City of La Paz, I am requesting a quote for 1.000 XO computers CIF La Paz, as well as delivery time, form of payment and all other such information that you may want to add.
This needs to be delivered tomorrow Tuesday if at all possible, or in any case as early as you can.

Likewise, our team has received an inquiry from the Ministry of Education and Cultures regarding a countrywide deployment proposal, which already exists but obviously would need updating.

Thank you

Yama Ploskonka

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