Wednesday, August 15, 2007

UNICEF partners OLPC in Nigeria

Nigerian chapter of the One Lap Top Per Child (OLPC) initiative has been given a boost with the support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and some members of the corporate organisations the country.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), OLPC Nigeria, Mr. Tomi Davies informed that the non-for-profit initiative is

building an all inclusive and broad-based organization that will promote and propagate the idea in Nigeria.

He also said that OLPC team in Nigeria has opened discussion with the Universal Basic Education (UBE), NUT, NCC, IBM, EFCC and other relevant bodies to ensure the project is successful while corporate Nigeria such as First Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, MTN, Celtel, Globacom, Oando, Shell, Chevron, Agip, Total, and the World Bank are ready to partner witth the project.

“We have opened discussions with some corporate organizations and some are ready to join us. The aim is to start a national debate on digital literacy for Nigerian children so the country can be an active participant in the emerging global knowledge economy for which the use of computers is taken for granted much like access to television and telephones have become fundamentals of today’s information age.

“Mr. M.K Ibrahim, Director IT of EFCC has joined the board of EFCC while we are working with UBE and NUT being the two primary school stakeholders.

“The vision is for the Nigeria of the future to be a leader in the contribution of digitally based intellectual property as a means of capital value creation and competitive advantage in the world. Our children are the future and they are here now!

We cannot wait until everything from the past ( i.e. Classrooms, Teachers, Books, Pens etc) is in place and available to all before we start addressing the future (i.e. Laptops, Connectivity, Content, Security etc) or else the digital divide may become a digital chasm that is too wide for the next generation of Nigerians to bridge,” he said.

Recently the OLPC Association Inc test run the project with the distribution of OLPC XO machines to primary school children at Galadima Village, Abuja.

In the same vein the Legal Counsel to OLPNC, Mr. Ayo Kusamotu said that Growing Business Foundation led by Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien who is also Director of Strategy at NCC financed power generation at the Galadima L.ASchool so that the pupils will have constant power to

use their OLPC XO machines.

Kusamotu explained that other members of the board of the organization include Khalifa Galadanchi of IBM, Biola Ige (Education Specialist) and other prominent Nigerians that will soon be part of the Nigeria team is a crop of volunteers headed by Tomi Davies.

“OLPC PROJECT in Nigeria is a reality. A not for profit company OLPC LTD/GTE is being formed by Tomi Davies to take over the role of TEAM Nigeria and implement the OLPNC project in Nigeria. Discussions are on going about structure, form and membership. The guiding philosophy of OLPC ( Nigeria) is digital literacy for every Nigerian Child,” Kusamotu explained.

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