CAMBRIDGE, MA: Nonprofit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) recently launched "Give 1 Get 1" (G1G1).
The two-week program, starting November 12, will enable individuals in the US and Canada to purchase two laptops - one to "give" to a child in a developing country and one to "get," for $399.
OLPC, which was founded by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte in 2005, is working with its pro-bono PR agency, W2 Racepoint Public Relations.
Since the launch of OLPC, the price of production per laptop has exceeded expectations. Negroponte, though able to garner global partnerships, including support from the UN and NRTA, is hoping to boost awareness and commitment in the US and from governments of developing nations.
Efforts include extensive media outreach to broadcast, print, online, and radio outlets. The agency had an exclusive arrangement with ABC, which featured G1G1 on Good Morning America and World News September 24. It was also featured on 60 Minutes and NPR.
Larry Weber, chairman of W2, said the goal was to push the humanitarian angle and reach out to titles such as The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek.
"If a kid has the power to learn for himself or herself, where there is no power, where there sometimes isn't even a teacher present - that's impactful," he said.
Weber added that philanthropists and countries, including Denmark and Italy, are pledging to purchase mass quantities for specific countries.
Jackie Lustig, SVP at W2, said it has had to tackle criticism that the OLPC's goal overlooked needy children in the US.
"When I explained that the amount spent on education per child in developing countries was $200 per child versus $10,000 per child in the US," she said, "most people understood. We'll see how it goes and consider expanding."
The OLPC aims to provide mass amounts of inexpensive, energy efficient "XO laptops" to children in developing countries.