I started with Camara back in November, and I’ve had all the intentions in the world of blogging before this- yet for some reason it hasn’t happened. I think the main reason is that my job might come across as being about as interesting as a book of philosophy written by Sarah Palin. Actually, scratch that- that book would be brilliant. Sarah if you’re reading this (which is unlikely for several reasons) we’re right behind your embarkment on the road to literary greatness. But I digress…. yes…. blog…

The bulk of what I’m doing is Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). This is probably best described as looking at what we’re doing in Africa, and then assessing what kind of an impact its having. Using computers in education’s been proven to make a massive difference if it’s done right- from improved curricular performance to better employment opportunities, as well as closing the performance gap for groups that are often marginalised, like girls, ethnic minorities, and children in institutions.

What I’d ultimately like to get to is the point where we’re measuring these kinds of effects, and able to show exactly what impacts the work we do is having on peoples’ lives. Unfortunately, that’s about as far off as Sarah Palin re-entering the political arena (2012 to be precise). What we’re trying to do at the moment is create a database of which schools get what computers. That way, whenever you donate a computer to Camara we’ll be able to tell you exactly who benefited from it. We also need to get more information on things like how satisfied people are with the computers we use, and how well our hubs maintain them.

So what I should really be coming out with by the end of the year is exactly where each computer is, how satisfied the kids and teachers using them are, what we need to improve, feedback on the training we give teachers, data on our maintenance, and feedback on what software people want. This is across four countries…. 5,200 computers last year…. a projected 7,500 this year….

Please keep checking my progress on this blog. Ciaran