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Intel Corporation

In April 2009, Intel Corporation named Catholic Relief Services' Great Lakes Cassava Initiative as one of four winners of its INSPIRE*EMPOWER Challenge, each of whom received a grant of $100,000. The Intel challenge had sought innovative ideas for applying technology to address some of the world's most pressing problems.

Josephine Lubondi takes the 2go PC for a test run

Project partner Josephine Lubondi takes the 2go PC for a test run in a cassava field in Busia, Kenya. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

CRS' winning project started when, in August 2008, CRS met with Intel and NetHope (a collaboration of the world's leading international humanitarian organizations) to consider a basic design for a rugged laptop computer to support humanitarian field staff involved with our Great Lakes Cassava Initiative to work more efficiently in remote villages across six countries and thousands of miles.

Working in collaboration with NetHope and Intel, CRS designed a GLCI ICT solution to:

  • Streamline the monitoring and evaluation process by enabling faster and more accurate data reporting from the field.
  • Facilitate information exchange between farmers, field agents, partner staff and CRS country program managers.
  • Improve knowledge and capacity of field agents through a distance learning system to enable them to better facilitate farmer training.
  • Record and track cassava diseases and link back to online mapping processes.

The platform architecture integrates connected, semi-connected and fully off-line modes for data collection and distance learning on a rugged Intel "Aid Station" laptop. The Aid Station uses the Intel Atom low energy processor, which supports long battery life and onboard energy saving systems.

Upon receipt of the $100,000 INSPIRE*EMPOWER Challenge grant, CRS used the funds to expand the pilot project. To date, more than 200 mini-laptops are in use and 300 CRS and partner staff members have been trained. Data generation using the laptops is gathering momentum.

Learn more about the Inspire*Empower Challenge Grant.

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