On May 27 & 28, Winfred and I went to Africa Gathering, an event in Paris. I believe that this meeting was an important turning point for the project. Africa Gathering is an initiative by Mariéme Jamme, promoting social entrepreneurship in Africa. Africa Gathering brings people from multiple disciplines together to talk about positive change in sustainable development, technology, social networking, health, education, environment and good governance in Africa.
The entrepreneurial aspect opened our eyes to the need for local autonomy, for running this project as a business opportunity rather than a charity. In order for this to succeed, we identified 4 key steps to autonomy:
- Drinking water
- Basic education
These steps are not necessarily sequential, but they represent an order of priority.
In Paris, we also met with Samia Lounis and Walter De Brouwer, CEO of the One Laptop Per Child initiative for Europe. OLPC is very active in Rwanda, where they have a support center for the region, and they are interested in expanding into Uganda. We will have further meetings in the weeks to come, to discuss possible collaboration with OLPC.