Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Hello World

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One-line solution summary:

We partner with communities to build solar powered, Wi-Fi enabled education Hubs.

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Pitch your solution.

As low-income youth race toward a future of increased social stratification, access to education has never been more critically important to breaking the cycle of poverty. With the rise of the internet, access to educational resources has become possible for those who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity, yet 40% of the world’s population still doesn’t have regular access to it.

Hello World partners with underserved communities training them to build Wi-Fi enabled, solar powered computer kiosks; Hello Hubs. These are loaded with state-of-the-art learning software and provide access to the world’s body of knowledge through a reliable, 24/7 internet connection. Education goes well beyond literacy and numeracy. We have watched as people have used their hub to start businesses, learn new languages and acquire valuable skills. The internet provides the potential for self improvement and connects people to innumerable new opportunities.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Access to the internet was recognized as a Human Right in 2016 by the UN General assembly. The resolution however was non binding and sought only to prevent the removal of internet services by a government. While the availability of connectivity is increasing, in reality access is made impossible by expensive tariffs, device poverty and a lack of understanding. These structural factors throw a paywall around the internet that is simply impossible to cross for many of the worlds marginalized and underserved populations, stealing them of potential education, access to remote services such as health care and denying them the opportunity to compete for jobs and productive endeavor. Hello World seeks to empower communities with a reliable, free internet connection providing unlimited access and devices needed to get online for use by the whole community.

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What is your solution?

Hello Hubs are solar powered, Wi-Fi enabled computer kiosks. Each fitted with 8 tablet screens and offering Wi-Fi connectivity to anyone with their own device. 6 large solar panels charge a 24 volt battery bank, providing lighting and all the power needed to run the hub, with enough left over to offer community charging. The community can come to access the internet via the devices in the hub or through any device capable of accessing a wifi signal. Hubs are built in full partnership with the community and are designed to be durable, affordable and easily repairable. By teaching the community to build, maintain and repair the hub during its installation, the hub becomes community property. The hub is constructed from locally available ‘off the shelf’ parts making repairs easy and affordable. The hub is designed to be modular, meaning that should any part malfunction the rest of the system is unaffected.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution serves marginalised and underserved communities in Nepal and Uganda. We hold extensive dialogues with communities to establish need and we work with them closely to bring our solution to them in a way that ensures full participation. Each community we work with is different. The issues facing refugees are different to those facing remote populations of Nepal. By getting to know each community we can tailor our solution to their needs. 

One thing that connects the communities we work with is a lack of opportunity. Often populations do not have access to education and jobs are scarce. In many of our Nepal communities for example, a lack of infrastructure makes commercial farming impossible, where communities lack the altitude to benefit from the country's tourism industry, leaving them with a choice of seeking employment abroad or subsistence farming. Similarly in Nakivale Refugee settlement in Uganda, where refugees live on a remittance of 20p per day, opportunities for work simply do not exist, leaving refugees waiting to be resettled, a process that can take years, sometimes decades. 

The internet connects these communities with opportunities to learn new skills that can help them raise income, improve agricultural yields and learn an unlimited number of new, productive lessons. We see refugees learning new languages, or teaching themselves to draw using tips from online tutorials. Children learn math, reading and writing. Local people start businesses, from traditional baking to manufacturing, all using information made available through a connection to the internet. 

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide low-income, remote, and refugee communities access to digital infrastructure and safe, affordable internet.
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

In many cases the only price that is ‘affordable’ for unconnected people is free. We work in underserved and remote communities, often with refugee populations who are left disconnected by device poverty and expensive tariffs. We partner with Internet Service Providers who donate Wi-Fi pro-bono, allowing us to provide a service free at the point of use, open to unlimited connections. We equip users with required digital skills, engaging with the community during the building stage. We run additional, community projects teaching tech skills to women and girls. We encourage the community to share their knowledge, meaning others benefit.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

London, UK
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

We have currently built 25 Hello Hubs, 14 in Uganda and 11 in Nepal, connecting approximately 25,000 people to the internet. We understand the impact of these Hubs through our impact assessment in partnership with 60 Decibels. We are currently seeking the funding required to scale within the regions we currently work in and into new territories.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Angharad Jones

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution puts the community at the very centre. We employ locally ensuring that we understand local and national contexts more completely and we respect our users. We do not limit usage unlike solutions from large tech companies (other than to block connection to potentially harmful content). We trust the capabilities of communities to determine their own benefit and to use connectivity to improve their lives, based on their own lived experience. Startlingly, this approach is still rare. We recruit a Community Support Officer (CSO) from within each community who understands the local population and can encourage them to the hubs. This approach allows us to let community members ‘win themselves around’. Many in the community are initially sceptical about what connectivity can offer them, thinking mistakenly that it is just for young people for example, or not relevant to them. By inviting them to the hub, and talking to them CSOs have seen transformations. Local women have learned new skills, started businesses, people have manufactured soaps for use in the community - the list is huge, and grows by the day. There is no one size fits all model - by trusting people to identify their own needs and letting them direct their own experience online, our work has been truly catalytic in our communities. 

Our work demonstrates the impact connectivity can have on education, livelihoods and quality of life for beneficiaries. We would anticipate an inclusion of a connectivity facility by other organisations working in development at a community level.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Elderly
  • Rural
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
  • Persons with Disabilities
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  • 10. Reduced Inequality
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Nepal
  • Uganda
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Nepal
  • Uganda
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Current 25,000, 

One Year 50,000, 

Five Years 431,000

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We measure our impact and impact goals in a number of ways. We partner with industry leaders 60 Decibels who use their Lean Data approach to survey user populations. Individuals are contacted and encouraged to reflect on their own lived experience and provide long form answers to pre planned questions. This approach allows us to generate robust quantitative data and gain more nuanced qualitative insights as well. In keeping with this approach to open communication, we stay in close contact with each hub through our network of Community Support Officers who help us establish that all our hubs are functional. 

In our surveys we ask participants to consider to what extent the hub has improved their lives, if they have access to a reasonable alternative of a similar quality and if they have used the hub to learn a new skill. 

We also measure usage data from our Wi-Fi signal and from the tablets we provide. This anonymous data gives us insight into how the hubs are being used. 

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

UK, 2 FTE 1x 0.8FTE

USA 1 FTE

Uganda 4 FTE

Nepal 3 x FTE (plus one volunteer at executive level) 

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How long have you been working on your solution?

9 years

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

We have been working on this project since 2012. Hello World started out as Projects For All, with Hello Hubs being one part of many projects. Our current team started to form in 2018 after our Founder took a break to help her husband through cancer treatment. Our Ugandan team includes people connected to original Hub builds. Two of our team first encountered Hello World for the first time during local builds. Their life in the communities that they now serve provides unrivaled insight into our beneficiaries’ experiences. 

Our Nepali team is led by serial entrepreneur Chehen Lama. Chehen was the first man to instal Wifi signal at Everest and his knowledge of the country and the logistical challenges from a tech sector point of view are potentially unmatched by anyone. 

Above all is our team’s commitment to listening to our beneficiaries. All of our team is passionate about our work and the impact it can have

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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

We value diversity and ensure our team is representative of our communities. We recruit in country teams, employing Uganda and Nepali nationals as team leaders, we rely on their expertise and understanding. Hello World would be a shadow of itself if we only employed from within the UK. Our Executive leadership is all women, putting us in a significant majority within the tech sector. We also seek to nurture diversity in local leadership as well. We recruit CSOs from our partner communities, we look for diverse candidates who value inclusion and acceptance and promote value in alternative voices. One of our CSOs has used her platform to successfully run for office, defeating the incumbent (man). 

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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

The opportunity to apply to Solve is simply too good to pass up. Our solution is simple yet radical. The opportunity to meet with incredible minds, thinking creatively to find solutions to such pressing problems is exactly the forum we are looking for. Each advance in technology has great potential but we need to make the most of the extraordinary process that has already been made. Education apps, remote learning courses, virtual curriculum all already exist, as does the technology to distribute them to the world’s poorest, who stand to benefit the most from them. The Solve community is perfectly placed to help us overcome overly conservative pre-conceptions. By challenging overly rigid, culturally informed assumptions about education we can formulate a plan to reach every child through digital inclusion.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)
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Please explain in more detail here.

We would like to share our initiative with others, allowing them to integrate our work into new territories, expanding our base of beneficiaries. To do this we need to make connections, those with an existing presence in a particular territory, and with links to internet service providers are most useful. 

We are newly registered as a 501c3 in America opening up a new dimension of potential partners. Adapting our pitch to this new audience could help revolutionize our funding portfolio.

We are always on the lookout for new apps to distribute. Our preference is for tried and tested solutions that have a body of evidence to support their efficiency

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We are always on the lookout for new partners. We are assessing a potential project in Kenya and Internet Service Providers willing to supply data to a hub there would be a valuable introduction. We would also love to share our work with other organisations who might make use of our solution in their own work. Community organisations, education programmes and so on.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion to advance your solution?

Our solution is an effective solution for ongoing education in Refugee settings. We work in Nakivale refugee settlement, where currently there are only 2 secondary schools for a population of 130,000 people. Multiple languages provide a further challenge to education and we know from some of our beneficiaries that their education was set back because they had to restart in a new language. Hello Hubs provide access to education resources in all languages via the internet. By continuing to learn to read and write, children whose education has been disrupted can get back on track, giving themselves hope of a brighter future. 

Internet connections of course also facilitate communication and refugees who have been separated from their loved ones can communicate with friends and family around the world. We have many moving stories of people speaking to family members for the first time in years. 

The internet connection also allows those seeking resettlement to plan ahead. Hub communities currently run language courses, helping people start to learn a language before they move to their new host country. Similarly, they can research cities and start to make contact with others in the area before they arrive. 

We would use the funds to create new Hello Hubs to benefit new groups. we already have a presence in Nakivale and would like to work in other refugee settlements in Uganda.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity to advance your solution?

Our mission is to expand Digital equity and bridge the digital divide. We provide access to communities where data costs and device poverty make it difficult if not impossible for many to get online. These populations stand to benefit greatly from internet access. We work with each community to help them gain tech skills and digital literacy, helping children access an education and adults participate in the digital economy. Our work in Nepal is supported by the UK government and provides vocational skills for employment within the tech sector, helping people make a living online. Currently, many working in the Nepalese tech sector have been recruited from overseas, imagine the impact it would have on villages currently reliant on subsistence farming if residents could compete for these jobs. 

We would use the money to provide hubs to more remote, disconnected communities who stand to benefit hugely from reliable access to digital resources and the internet. 


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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

Our community approach has equality at its very centre. We work hard to encourage women to the hub and help them learn how to use it. We offer a tech skills curriculum to Women in Uganda to help them get up to speed. The resources publicly available have already helped countless women. Benefits range from assistance in traditional skills like tailoring hairdressing and cookery to political activism and awareness. One of our Community Support Officers has recently been elected to public office on the back of her work with Hello World, advocating for local women. 

It is worth noting also that girls are disproportionately excluded from education due to traditional gender roles. We have encountered many parents who simply feel that paying school fees for their daughters is a waste of money. They are willing however to let them visit their Hello Hub for free. We know of groups of sisters who come to use the hub together, learning literacy and numeracy as well as other subjects that they would otherwise have been unable to access. 

We would use the resources to build new hubs, providing access to the internet and education to women and girls in communities that are underserved, where we seek to overcome unfair assumptions surrounding gender. 

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GSR Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Solution Team

 
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