In September 2008, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) launched an OLPC pilot in Afghanistan. 174 The project is a public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Afghan mobile operator Roshan, and Paiwastoon, a local information technology company.
Each partner has a specific role in the project. The MoE and MoCIT are the government institutions tasked with improving education and the information technology (IT) sectors. Their collective goals are to embed communications technology into the education sector and to establish platforms to transform Afghanistan into an information society. To achieve this, MoE distributes the LCCDs to schools, along with digitized textbook content, the Quran and Web content. The MoCIT is responsible for ensuring the quality of the content, as well as the optimal functioning of the technology.
The private companies, Paiwastoon and Roshan, lend support in terms of content, software, training, connectivity, project management and implementation. Paiwastoon 175 develops content in the local Dari and Pashto languages, customizes software and trains teachers. Roshan 176 handles connectivity through its social responsibility program. 177 It also assists in facilitating the OLPC donation for the project and provides management support. In addition to supplying connectivity where it has existing infrastructure, Roshan supports and counsels installation teams responsible for the implementation of networking infrastructure.
USAID, through its small and medium enterprise development project, provides organizational support in connecting these partners to OLPC, as well as financial and logistical support for the creation of online Dari training. Other support products are a localized business creation toolkit and a marketing campaign to promote and expand the program’s implementation as a tool for economic development. 178
The OLPC Foundation is contributing 5,000 XO laptops to Afghanistan. The OLPC technical implementation team began work in November 2008, preparing and translating teacher training materials into Dari and Pashto and carrying out power tests.
Almost half of the XO laptops have been distributed since the program was initiated. The first deployment of the XO laptops took place on 17 March 2009 to Estiqlal High School in Jalalabad, a city about 150 kilometers east of the capital Kabul. Some 400 laptops were distributed to 4th, 5th and 6th graders at the school. The second deployment of the laptops took place on 21 June 2009 in Kabul. Approximately 2,000 XO laptops were distributed during this phase to four schools in the capital city.