Derek Newberry

Inveneo is not OLPC, But It’s Wiring Rural Africa One Village At a Time

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project gets a lot of hype, which I have no problem with- the more attention the media devotes to development issues the better, in my opinion. But it always bothers me a bit that this MIT creation gets all the press when it hasn?t even reached the implementation stage yet, and other NGOs are already on the ground wiring thousands of villages ala FirstMile Solutions.

In the spirit of spreading the ICT-for-BOP love, take a minute to check out WorldChanging’s recent interview with, a mostly women-led group (cheers for gendered approaches to poverty issues!) that has worked to create a growing network of wired villages in Africa. The computers are different from OLPC because they have no moving parts and are powered externally and the internet connection hardware differs from FirstMile in that it relies on wifi relay towers.Inveneo has assisted small scale entrepreneurship and is hoping to help generate enough income through these efforts that project beneficiaries will be able to pay for maintenance of the Inveneo model themselves. More details about this non-profit are available on their website. Feel free to post if you know of any other NGOs or businesses doing similar rural ICT work.