Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A little about what we are doing and where we are doing it

As part of the OLPCorps setup, we are getting ~100 laptops/XOs to deploy in Sierra Leone. Ours is one of the 15 teams selected this year to deploy XOs across different coutries in Africa.

The teams will go in, distribute the laptops, take care of all the technical aspects(our chosen village, e.g., has no power or internet so we will have to deal with that; more on that later!), help the children make the most out of their machines and train peer tutors and teachers to ensure that the program continues well beyond the time we leave.

The area we chose is the village of Sahn in the Malen chiefdom of Sierra Leone. Chiefdoms are sub-administrative groups within districts of the country and in the following map, Malen is chiefdom no. 134 in the Pujehun district. Sahn subsequently is the main village in Malen.

The reason for choosing Sahn was that GMin conducted a successful and very well-received malaria-eradication project in the area in 2007. The organization enjoys good reputation with the chief of the area and the local people. I'm also attaching a layered, detailed pdf map of the Malen cheifdom done by a fellow GMin member, for those interested:

Malen Map With Layers Malen Map With Layers faaez

To find out more about Sahn Malen, check out these entertaining and insightful blog posts from GMin members who were there in 2007: GMin blog

Coming up: A glimpse of the XO itself.


OO Kusheh ya!

This is the official blog of the Sierra Leone OLPCorps team. I hope that this will turn out to be a comprehensive log of our project. Not only should this be useful to future OLPC deployments but I think our friends and family will also find it interesting while we are away.

The project started off as an offshoot of GMin and has come to include some amazing people, who will work in close concert with GMin in Sahn Malen, Sierra Leone over the summer. The core team members are:

Carlos Meheux
Sam Slaughter
Miatta Bangtali and
Faaez Ul Haq

We will all be updating this blog frequently before we leave for Sierra Leone and probably less so once we are there due to patchy internet coverage. However, we will keep an offline log once in Sierra Leone, which we can then upload to this blog.

Also, GMin members in general will also be keeping a blog at gmin.org. Do check that out as well.

Right, a little about OLPC then.

OLPC or One Laptop Per Child is a non-profit organization which produces specialized, low-cost laptops for children to use as aids in the classroom. The machines are extremely well-thought-out, efficient and fun to use and have been deployed in several countries across the world. Moreover, the project has a solid philosophy behind it: everything from the laptop design to the operating system(which is a custom distro based on fedora linux) and deployment methods are inspired from the Constructionist theory of learning.

The above picture shows GMin founders Mathias Esmann and David Sengeh(plus an old friend from high school, Eduardo Madute) playing a game of Maze on an XO(that's what we call these beautiful machines). Needless to say that we are all very excited(as is evident from the radiant faces of the above gentlemen) about this little wonder.

More about the Sahn Malen, the XO and other cool gadgets we are using in the next few posts. Stay tuned! OO wi go si bak!