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One Laptop Per Starving Child

Topics: Technology | Add A CommentBy admin | September 28, 2009

Although it seems like a positive program on the surface, there might be better uses for the money spent providing Kenyan schoolchildren with laptops from the One Laptop Per Child program.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could easily provide schoolchildren in Kenya with cheap, solar-rechargeable laptops? Of course it would. But you might want to feed them first. While on the surface, it may seem like the recent delivery of One Laptop Per Child devices to Kenya would be a fantastic thing, this article sums up some of the many reasons why, in fact, it really might not be. At a time when Kenya is suffering one of the worst droughts in years and continuing to absorb tens of thousands of Somali refugees, making sure all the kids have Facebook access is probably a low priority. While I’d like to put some sort of positive spin on the OLPC program in Kenya, I simply can’t; although this concept may be an excellent idea in other countries with better-established educational infrastructure, at this point in time in Kenya, it’s kind of like giving a starving man a microwave. The unfortunate thing in a case like this is that people who understand the flaws in this kind of top-down rather than sustainable approach were offering intelligent criticism as early as 2005. There are lots of examples of this feelgood approach to aid in struggling countries; if you really want to do good in Kenya, consider giving to smaller, hands-on NGO’s like Amara Conservation or sustainable programs like Kiva.

Make a donation to Amara Conservation. Your money might buy a desk or some direct education aimed at sustainability instead of a laptop:

Visit Kiva and learn more about how they work.