I have been in Boston since sunday at the first in a series of monthly olpc learning conferences and appropriately "learnt" on monday that it is now for real as the mass production of the machines have begun at Quanta with the first machine colour being pink and green. As they say the journey of a thousand years...
All of a sudden I seem to find myself in the same situation as Luis Ramirez of http://www.ucpn.cl/ who is driving a citizen-led "one computer per child" campaign in Chile in an attempt to achieve free and permanent access to computers for at least one million Chilean children living in poverty before their bicentennial in 2010.
Why? Well the Nigerian landscape has radically altered this year as the olpc organisation has evolved and I have been caught in the middle of it all. The change from President Obasanjo to President Yar'Adua administration has meant back to the proposal drawing boards with the Presidency and Ministries of Education and Science & Technology. All this while Boston has forged ahead with marketing schemes such as G1G1 (http://www.laptopgiving.org/) while deepening the learning to learn components of through conferences such as the one I am attending and extending the technical components. Its actually quite a good place to be as it means there is an unmistakable opportunity to actually impact the future of the country for real by providing our children with access to technology.
Listening to the olpc achievements in Uruguay, Ethiopia, and Brazil presented at the conference it is daunting to think of what we still have to do to really put Nigeria on this map. All the same I am looking forward to the challenge knowing we will be getting support from even yet to be identified quarters as the "one laptop per Nigerian child" organisation starts to put things together.
The key message for me is that "Its an education programme first and a technology project second" not one or the other, but both!