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One Laptop Per Child
A team of University of Illinois undergraduates and one undergraduate from Truman State University has been awarded a grant from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Corps to distribute laptops to children in São Tomé during summer 2009. The team will work in concert with the local São Toméan non-governmental organization STeP UP, whose focus is “working with grassroots organizations to develop and facilitate projects for training and community development”. The goal of the project is to use the XO laptop as a tool empowering children to be agents of change in São Tomé by teaching them how to use the XO laptops to perform basic tasks as citizen scientists and citizen journalists. The team includes project coordinator Corey Jackson (International Studies, '10), along with Michael Stein (Urban Planning, '10), Chika Umeadi (Political Science '10), Danielle Ross (Urban Planning '10), and Ashley Adams (Romance Languages ’13).
History of the Project
The University of Illinois One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was initiated by undergraduate students minoring in informatics. During the spring of 2009 OLPC held a competative application process for student interns to deploy XO laptops in Africa. OLPC would provide 100 XO laptops and a $10,000 grant. The response was overwhelming. Over 220 groups applied representing universities from around the world. Thirty proposal were accepted for deployment in 25 African countries. Because of the onging work by University of Illinois students and faculty on the island nation of São Tomé & Principe it was chosen by the students as the project site. São Tomé also simplified the logistical issues associated with working in Africa because of the partnerships and trust which has been developed over the last few years. The site partner is StepUp a local NGO working in the areas of health and education. The director of StepUp is the former director of the São Tomé Peace Corps operation and has lived in São Tomé for over a decade. The university has worked closely with StepUp the last few years. The deployment of computers includes the presentation of the computers to children and training for both students and teachers. The project will take apprximately eight weeks. The OLPC team has five students. They include Chika Umeadi, Danielle Ross, Corey Jackson, Ashley Adams and Michael Stein. Paul Adams from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science is assisting with the project and providing logistical support. Additional support has come from the Center for African Studies and financial assistance has been provided by the Chancellor of the university.