Mongolia's President, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, announced today his commitment to provide every child in his nation with a laptop connected to the internet by the end of 2010.
As a first step towards this accomplishment, Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the non-profit organization, OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and Mongolia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, agreed to start the program until January 2008 and they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of President Enkhbayar.
20,000 units of the XO laptops will be provided in January, to children from 6 to 12 years of age in the most inaccessible parts of the country, and also in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital.
OLPC's aim is improving children's skills by giving them access to learning indoors and outdoors. For the nomadic populations, Internet access and digital learning almost didn't exist. Things will change, thanks to this project.
Nicholas Negroponte said: "Designed for harsh remote and rural environments, the XO laptop is perfectly suited to the dispersed and nomadic population of Mongolia. We look forward to working with Mongolia as the country takes important steps to empower future generations through education."
Mongolia's President, Nambaryn Enkhbayar added: "We are delighted to be working with One Laptop per Child to enable children's access to education throughout Mongolia. We believe that providing children with such an innovative tool for learning and self-expression will ultimately have a significant impact on the future progress of the country."
The project was supported in Mongolia by John L. Thornton and two MIT students, Enkhumunkh Zurgaanjin and Jan Jungclaus who promoted the concept and spread the word throughout the country, this summer.
From November 12, Negroponte's OLPC will start the "Give One Get One" program across the United States and Canada, when people can buy two XO laptops for $399, one for them and one for a child from a developing country, such as Mongolia.