Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Late October - Early November

As of yesterday, people around the world can now purchase XOs through olpc's G1G1 program. To have a more effective roll out and to reach a greater audience, olpc is working its program through Amazon.

Grants, Grants, Grants!
The IU Student Foundation has the $5,000 Metz Grant which is awarded to IU student groups engaged in any number of activities. We applied under the International section and made it to the final round where we had an opportunity to present our project. After my presentation, I was certain I walked out of the room without the funding. There are days when you're just on your game and then there's days when you feel like cobwebs block any coherent thoughts. Well, it definitely was one of the latter. But somehow I pulled it off? I arrived in Cambridge the following day only to open my inbox with a "Congratulations" email. Needless to say, that was a pleasant surprise. The funds from the Metz grant will support alternative power costs for the learning environments we're working with.

A quick note of thanks to Becky Bennett for researching various large foundations. With her help, we now have more applications than we can manage. We're on the verge of wrapping up George Soros' Open Society Institute for West Africa Grant. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Last week I had a chance to meet some of the Global Minimum group in MA. We presented our Sierra Leone Initiative at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Unfortunately, the opportunity didn't afford many immediate returns but we've come across some possible connections which might lead to some additional opportunities.

Pre-Deployment Trip
We're still working out the details for this winter break's pre-deployment trip to Sierra Leone. Fortunately, I just received a grant from the Hutton Honors College which should fund a majority of this trip (Thank you Mr. Hutton!). Details are still in the works but we should have a bit more clarified after David has a chance to talk w/ Nicholas from OLPC this Thursday.

Poverty Action Lab
David had a chance to connect w/ Rachel, the Executive Director of MIT's Poverty Action Lab. PAL is a branch of MIT's Economics Department which researches best practices in anti-poverty models. Since Rachel is currently conducting a project in Sierra Leone, we're hoping for some collaboration in some manner. We'll see how the relationship develops. It may just be the connection we're looking for to provide credibility to donors who are considering funding our health-education intervention model. Time will tell.