The Developing world is developing.
Recent years have seen technology spread to millions of people who had previously been excluded from it. Mobile phones have been a huge unsung hero for development, they have improved rural farmer’s knowledge of the market prices of their crops, allowed easier transfer of money and have even made elections run smoother. Internet cafés have given millions of people access to the information and opportunities that can be found with the world wide web.This development is irreversible and will continue to grow as the relative price of technology gets cheaper
The idea behind this project is to ensure that the future generations are in a good position to take full advantage of these technologies as they become more available. Giving children exposure to the different types of programmes that computers have will help to replace the mystery that surrounds new technology with wonder. Simple skills, that we take advantage of as young westerners, such as typing and organising files will give children the confidence to use computers in the future.
Other projects like this have been tried and are ongoing. The most well known of these is the One-Laptop-Per-Child campaign that is supported by the UNDP. This has managed to send out over 2 million laptops since it started operating in 2005. This is a grand scheme and we are not competing with it. Instead we are trying to achieve the same goals but in a slightly different way. The cost of producing the laptops for the OLPC project has risen well above the $100 estimate and so there is still a long way to go before they achieve their target. Our project does not have such grand aims, and we will not be sending laptops to schools that have already received computers from OLPC, so there should not be an overlap.
For a Malawian perspective on why I.T education is important, check out our Guest Bloggers.