Parental Involvement

In our project it is important to include community. It is a pillar of what we do, but in some places the idea of “community” can be very abstract—when we say “community” to whom are we referring?

That is another question I have been pondering while away from Rwanda. I think providing an answer to this question will make all of our communtiy intiatives much easier to plan and much more effective.

Barbara, the OLPC Director of Learning for the Middle East, recently mentioned to me that for the deployments they are working with, parent support is a MUST or, they were told, the program would never work. After thinking about this for some time, I realized that we have not done much out to reach out to parents in Rwanda.

The need for parent outreach became a MUST for us, at least in my opinion, after a recent Times article on OLPC-Rwanda, in which the Headmistress from Nonko Primary School says:

“These are still young children and they are excited, they love laptops very much, beyond anything else, so the parents find it is becoming an obsession.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1997940,00.html#ixzz0t6XXdZJP

I met further with Barbara and her team and brought up this idea of greater parental involvement/support, and have learned that parents are, in fact, included in trainings in the Middle East. I think this is fantastic. I am now excitedly drawing up plans of ways we can incorporate teachers into our work in Rwanda. With parents supporting the project and seeing how the laptop can help their lives and the greater lives of their family, they will be less likely to want to sell or damage the laptop. If they begin to see the importance of the laptop in their child’s education they will put pressure of the schools to use the laptop more, etc. (therefore we can begin to reduce our role)..the benefits are really endless!

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