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EDS Launches “Computers for African Learners”

Laptops and Educational Software Will Enable Students to Receive a Better Education and Enhance Their Lifestyle

ATLANTA — Emerald Data Solutions™, the eGovernance pioneer and developer of BoardDocs® paperless meeting solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of Computers for African Learners with a donation of laptops and educational software to Kenya’s Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT). Computers for African Learners, founded by Emerald Data Solutions’ President Ari Ioannides, was created to improve student education in Africa and increase student opportunities for achieving an enhanced lifestyle.

The program idea was born when Ioannides visited Campi ya Kanzi, an ecologically responsible complex in East Africa. There, Ioannides developed a relationship with Campi ya Kanzi owners and MWCT founders, Luca and Antonella Belpietro, who told him of the strong need for computer technology at local schools. Upon return to the US, Ioannides made a commitment to work with schools in Kenya to provide technology equipment, software and other capabilities for their students to access more advanced educational resources.

The son of a life-long hunter and a former hunter himself, Luca Belpietro walked away from a successful career in finance to live and work in the wilderness of East Africa that his father had introduced him to as a child. With a degree in conservation and a focus on wildlife as a sustainable resource, he and his wife moved to Kenya to pursue his notion that the key to preserving the legendary ecosystems of Africa is making wilderness and wildlife an asset for the people who actually live among them. The Maasai were the dominating tribe in Kenya at beginning of 20th Century, and they are one of the very few tribes who have retained most of their traditions, lifestyle and lore.

“The goal of our partnership with Emerald Data Solutions is to provide Maasai students with advanced knowledge, precisely to enable them to protect their wilderness, wildlife and cultural heritages,” said Luca Belpietro. “While we aim to improve education in the MWCT villages, we also recognize that we are working with an iconic tribe, extremely proud of its heritage and adamant not to lose it. The students are looking forward to the computers' arrival, and the teachers are working hard on their computer training.”

“Luca is one of the few people I have met that really understands what conversation is all about. I was impressed by how Campi ya Kanzi provides people a way to comfortably visit Africa, while conserving the environment and the culture of the iconic Maasai people,” said Ioannides. “When Luca took us to visit the students in the various Maasai schools and we saw firsthand the excitement and passion for learning exhibited by the children, I decided we had to do something, and providing computers to enhance the work being done for the Maasai children seemed like the answer.”

The laptops will be pre-loaded with education software, including the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Reference Suite – Student and Home Edition; and Reading Assistant™. The 2009 Ultimate Reference Suite includes three encyclopedias with interactive tutorials in math, science, social studies, and other subjects; homework help; and other essential learning tools that make it the most complete reference source available. Donated by Scientific Learning®, Reading Assistant uses research-validated speech recognition technology to “listen” to each child as he or she reads aloud. Readers are helped with interactive resources, immediate feedback on errors and private playback. The software also maintains performance records and the corresponding audio of each reading session for review by the student and teacher.

MWCT has raised over $1,000,000 to support the programs in conservation, education and healthcare in the Maasai community. MWCT also recently opened the new Chyulu Conservation and Research Center, a base for research and collaborative regional conservation efforts.

To learn more about MWCT, visit www.maasai.com.

About Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
After creating Campi ya Kanzi as a community eco-lodge, in 2000 Antonella and Luca Belpietro founded Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) to preserve the Maasai wilderness, wildlife and cultural heritages through community-based conservation projects, providing an economic stake in conservation to the Maasai landowners of the greater Mt. Kilimanjaro ecosystem. In just one decade, MWCT has grown from a small group employing 10 local Maasai - to a significant organization, currently employing 200 local people.

About Emerald Data Solutions
Emerald Data Solutions is a technology company that has been providing solutions to public and private organizations since 1989. Our past clients have included the State of Georgia, BellSouth and Turner Broadcasting. Currently, Emerald Data Solutions is exclusively dedicated to the development and delivery of BoardDocs eGovernance solutions. BoardDocs was initially developed in 2000 for Marietta City Schools, and since its national introduction in June of 2002, more than 400 organizations have chosen BoardDocs for their paperless governance solution. BoardDocs’ unique, state-of-the-art solutions also save taxpayers money, reduce staff time, improve board effectiveness, increase transparency in governance and have a positive effect on the environment. For more information, visit www.boarddocs.com or call (800) 407-0141.

About Encyclopaedia Britannica
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a leader in educational publishing. The company’s encyclopedias and other products can be found in many media, from the Internet to cell phones to books (http://info.eb.com). A pioneer in electronic publishing since the early 1980s, the company also still publishes the 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with educational online services such as Britannica SmartMath and Britannica Online School Edition and new printed products such as Britannica Illustrated Science Library. Britannica’s editorial operation is overseen by some of the world’s most distinguished scholars. The company makes its headquarters in Chicago.

About Scientific Learning Corp.
Scientific Learning creates educational software that accelerates learning by improving the processing efficiency of the brain. Based on more than 30 years of neuroscience and cognitive research, the Fast ForWord® family of products provides struggling readers with computer-delivered exercises that build the cognitive skills required to read and learn effectively. Scientific Learning Reading Assistant combines advanced speech recognition technology with scientifically-based courseware to help students strengthen fluency, vocabulary and comprehension to become proficient, life-long readers. The efficacy of the products has been established by more than 550 research studies and publications. For more information, visit http://www.scientificlearning.com/ or call toll-free 888-358-0212.