May 08,2011

The impact of technology is everywhere – from improved productivity to social networking tools that have overthrown governments, technology has become an inextricable part of daily life for billions around the world.

Launched a year ago in Palestine by Partners for Sustainable Development, NETKETABi represents an important extension of technology into the lives of those who need it the most – children and youth in disadvantaged communities seeking a better life. 130,000 low-cost high-power netbooks will be distributed to Palestinian children over the coming months. The project helps students acquire 21st century skills such as critical thinking, innovation, communications and collaboration.

First, please look at the photos below … watch the interest and happiness of the Palestinian children, recipients of “one laptop per child” . Then please click to view the video below, behold their hopes and dreams about using these computers to build a better life. Then please read on to review our proposal for expanding NETKETABi to Egypt.

Implementing NetKetabi in Egypt: one laptop for every child?

The Netketabi proposal is quite unique: netbooks are not given away for free, but rather supported through low-cost micro-finance loans, payable over time and administered in partnership with local institutions. Micro-loans allow families of all income statuses to have access to the netbooks, and greatly increase the value ascribed to the netbook by both the child and the family.

Where are we? When PSD launched NETKETABi a year ago in Palestine, it took us about nine months to get OPIC approval for $10M procurement financing of 130,000 netbooks, and three months to secure the $2.5M donations as operating budget for the next five years. Now, we are done with fund raising, and moving full speed ahead with implementation. NETKETABi was off to a thunderous launch in February 2011; it was featured at TEDxRamallah last week. Attendees absolutely loved it.

Inspired by the success of our volunteer organization (all credit goes to our Ramallah team), OPIC offered to support a similar (if not identical) initiative in Egypt. As you know, we have earned a bad reputation in Egypt: that whatever works in, say, Jordan or Morocco or Palestine or Uruguay, does not work in Egypt. I am shouting loud: YES WE CAN make it work. OPIC want to see the evidence, want to meet individuals and organizations who can convince them: if OPIC commits the funding, we WILL educate our children.

So, our Mission Impossible my dear friends is: enlarge the circle of participants with a few good women and men, and convince them that should Egypt get the OPIC funding for NETKETABi, we will make it work. In other words, we will neither sell the computers in the black market, nor allow the recipients to leave the netbooks gathering dust. We WILL give our children better tools for education, we WILL equip them for a better life.


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