OLPC discontinues “Change the World”


In a stunning moment of irony, OLPC has discontinued “Change the World”.

In an email that leaked out onto the grassroots mailing list, OLPC quietly announced the end of the “Change the World” program previously known as “Give Many”, where you could buy 100 or 1000 XOs for the school of your choice.

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

> Unfortunately, as some of you might have heard "Change the World" aka "Give
> a School" aka "Give 100, Give 1000" will cease to exist. We are just waiting
> for the info to be taken off the main website (any second now).
> We are doing this in an effort to refocus back to large-scale deployments
> that create change in a major way. We WILL honor all requests that we have
> received prior to the info being taken off the website. So if you know
> anyone who is interested, tell them time is of the essence!!

Indeed, the ways to give page no longer lists “give a school” as an option. That option used to read (courtesy of Google cache):

Give 100 or more laptops with this special program that allows donors to choose the country where the laptops go. This geo-targeted program can impact a village, a region, or even a country, with large group donations.

The page it linked to is still live, but the link is gone.

I’m speculating that the minimum deployment is back up to 10,000 XOs, which was a previous category of deployment.

This is a blow to future small deployments in South Africa, as we have over 600 XOs deployed in South Africa through this program with more that were planned. Marco Rosa has been setting up a local non-profit organisation to raise funds and coordinate deployments – now to no effect unless we use laptops from other vendors.

Now I’ll get back to making Sugar, the learning platform originally developed for the OLPC XO, work on other hardware via Ubuntu

[Image remixed from Ploum, CC-BY]

7 Responses to “OLPC discontinues “Change the World””

  1. 1 Wayan @ OLPC News February 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    What disappointing news.

    I hear the talk about how small deployments take as much effort as large ones, with less bang, and I roll my eyes so hard they hurt. Small deployments are how you seed big ones. Its the little pilots that excite local leaders and give examples for Ministries to use in going for bigger rollouts. Yes, that means it will take a year or two before you get large scale adoptions – and that’s the time it will take.

    Rome was not built in a day, in one big deployment.

  2. 2 Ron B. February 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Thats bad news, hopefully things will change slowly, as Wayan says rome was not built in one day…..

  3. 3 Walter Brown February 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Frankly, I am not surprised. The world is not a giving place, nor a forgiving place. I am an African, from a continent that needs OLPC most, but our response has been disappointing. I remain optimistic though, Nicholas Negroponte started a movement that will not go away, even if it changes greatly. I recently concluded an analysis that showed Africa’s mobile phones costing more 20% of monthly income for the majority of Africans, broadband access costs going into the many 1000’s of percentage of incomes, and efforts to convert rhetoric to action on e-learning laughable at best. Until we give the development decision to the people who need e-learning most, in a way that they can (afford ably) understand, I think we will have many disappointments. I sincerely hope that Prof Negroponte takes a few moments to support the work of the young turks at MIT that follow his footsteps, the guys playing with a $12 TV-based PC, and encourages them. There are already more than 5 TVs for every telephone or PC in Africa, and with digital TV migration, the technological challenges of internet ready TVs is relatively simple. May the OLPC grow from strength to strength in spite of our common ignorance of the common dangers of information poverty, and may the OLPC spawn many competitors, including the $12 PC.

  4. 4 Morgan February 18, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Closing further comments on this post as a lot of comment spam is getting through somehow.

  1. 1 Tectonic » OLPC ends small-scale deployments, focusing on big Trackback on February 6, 2009 at 11:28 am
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