OLPC and Development in the Developed World

Despite the many flaws, my favorite thing about the OLPC initiative is the fact that it doesn’t just focus its development efforts in third world countries, but also focuses on developing under-developed area in developed countries – i.e. Canada.

OLPC Canada: “13 Schools – 7 Provinces – 3 Territories – 2,295 Students – 282 Teachers.”

The focus of OLPC Canada is to empower aboriginal, disadvantaged youth in both rural and urban settings.  They have participating schools in places like Edmonton, and also small community schools in the vast areas of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

One thing that OLPC has realized, that I believe many others need to also realize, is that we can’t forget the development needs in our own backyard.  There are many areas of North America with disadvantaged, impoverished communities.  Maybe they have an income greater than $2 a day, but the standard of living here is so much greater than that of rural Nigeria, for example, that our people are just as in need of assistance.

The US and Canada are often referred to as some of the richest countries in the world.  The US often referred to as the richest.  Yet, in the US, we have one of  the highest rates of Income Inequality, according to the Gini Index.

There are a lot of ways ICT4D can be implemented in places like the US and Canada still to spur development. We focus a lot of attention on helping the poor abroad, let’s remember to devote some of our time and attention to developing our bottom line nationally, to helping the impoverished communities down the street, and in our own borders.


About Scott Hurtgen

Recent MHA graduate currently living in Iowa. View all posts by Scott Hurtgen

2 responses to “OLPC and Development in the Developed World

  • rbain1

    I like this post a lot. We talk a lot in class about how implementing ICTs in developing countries can be useless because they don’t have the resources or infrastructure to maintain them. So why not focus on less developed parts of the developed worlds? It would only make sense that concentrating money and resources here would be more effective than the funds NGOs and non-profits have been sending else where. If only innovators would give it a temporary rest and step back from the situation to reevaluate how they could explore new technology while be efficient in the process I think there’d be far less controversy.

  • etuttlem

    I like this post because we often do overlook the problems in our own backyard. North America has the highest rates of unequal distribution of income meaning that we still have a long way to go in helping the rural and aboriginal youth. Therefore I think that the OLPC program is wise in developing its program locally so it can gain credit globally. The OLPC has to adjust its program because of the different needs of urban and rural youth in a developed country than the needs of those in a developing country. But I am certainly looking forward to OLPC’s success locally rather than globally.

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