How did it all start?
In 2005, MIT specialist Nicholas Negroponte launched the idea of low-cost and child-user-friendly laptop specifically configured for educational needs. Since then, the OLPC laptop called XO was distributed for small to large-scale projects in more than 35 countries.
Since its creation at the end of 2009, AIF has looked for the best way to introduce in Angola a local One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) strategy. To do so, we decided to start with a pilot project and found two schools interested in testing the XO and give a new learning tool to their pupils. Dom Bosco schools filled all our criteria, as they are based in poor areas where children do not have easy access to computers, they are open to new ideas and to cooperate with different sectors and, above all, they always try to give new opportunities to their pupils.
A team to implement the project first phase (pilot project) was created, with one coordinator from AIF, one pedagogical and one technical supervisors based in the schools, and the 7 fourth-grade teachers of the two chosen schools.
In February 2011, at the beginning of the Angolan school year, the project started with 100 laptops distributed among about 260 fourth-grade pupils. Since then, several trainings were done with the teachers and children have been using their computer once every week, for 1h30. After one month, most of them already knew how to use several activities, as well as type and format a text, while many had never touched a computer before.
Why is it called Kamba Dyami?
After presenting the laptop to the children, a quick survey was implemented, asking them what name they would like to give to this little green computer they would be able to use from now on. They were all very happy at the idea of using it, thus many of them gave it names related to the fact that it would be their new friend. On that basis, a teacher brainstormed with her pupils and they found that it would be nice to call it Kamba Dyami, which means “my friend” in Umbundu language and is a well-known word in Angola. The other children were consulted and all loved the name. It was kept as a surprise to AIF founders till they came to the school to launch the project officially in March 2011. After that, the project changed its name from OLPC Project in Angola to Kamba Dyami project.
Project objectives 2011
Ø OLPC projects are meant to give children a new learning tool, modern and child-friendly. XO laptops are also affordable enough to be used widely and reach children from poor areas, as well as solid enough to resist dust and child use.
Ø In Angola, AIF broad objectives with this project are not different, but we particularly want to focus on content, to make sure that the Kamba Dyami is a friend as much for teachers as it is for children. The closer from the official Angolan educational curriculum the content is, the easier and nicer it will be for teachers to use it as a teaching tool.
Ø With the pilot-project being currently implemented, AIF is working at finding the best way to introduce Kamba Dyami use in the school system and to produce content (pedagogically and technically).
Project objectives 2012
Ø To find an effective and extendable way to organize logistically the use of 350 Kamba Dyamis divided between 2 schools and 2 turns (morning and afternoon) for around 630 pupils of 4th and 5th grade;
Ø To find an effective and replicable way to insert new content to the Kamba Dyamis through the school server, or for them to have easy access to new content available in the server;
Ø To find and install, and/or create new content in Portuguese and Mathematics for 4th and 5th grades;
Ø To find a systematic way to monitor progress and compare results of pupils using the Kamba Dyami and those who do not, but also measure cannot use the computer more often because their number is limited and it is crucial that when children are using it, each one has one’s own. Another reason was lack of content, but as this is improving, teachers now tend to use the computers two lessons in a row.