Solution Overview

Solution Name

ELENA - Empowering Sustainability Makers

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One-line solution summary.

ELENA 

It is a web project of storytelling and Maker culture that motivates children and young people to get involved in the development of technological projects with a sustainable focus.

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Elevator pitch

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What is your solution?

It is a training program for girls and boys that seeks to provide them with knowledge related to renewable energy, care for natural resources and sustainability through animations and through the stories of a climate heroine called ELENA.

In addition, we organize specialized mentoring sessions and workshops in three modalities: virtual, in maker spaces and school clubs to enhance children's skills as creators and inventors of technological projects on subjects related to internet of things, artificial intelligence, data visualization and the use of sensors associated with caring for the environment. These projects include: smart trash cans, dashboards to track waste, drones for tree care, etc.

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What specific problem are you trying to solve?

One of the biggest difficulties that future generations are facing is that a great part of the children who entered primary school as of 2017 (65%) will have jobs that don’t yet exist and for which their education will not prepare them, because they will demand knowing how to develop technology and learn by oneself, according to the World Economic Forum. 

Therefore, they must prepare themselves so that, in the future, they can solve complex problems and create new and innovative solutions, using science and technology as an instrument of development.

Unfortunately, according to the research coordinated by Graciela Rojas Montemayor, in Mexico, less than 1% of students achieve proficiency levels of excellence in subjects related to science and mathematics. This doesn’t mean that they have no interest in these subjects, since approximately 45% of boys and 36% of girls expect to have science-related occupations when they are adults. So, the real problem is that most of them don’t have the resources and opportunities to approach adequate educational training that allows them to acquire the necessary skills to develop in the areas of science and technology.

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Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Through our solution, we seek to impact Mexican girls and boys between 12 and 16 years of age, so that through the tools they obtain, they can create a  sustainable lifestyle through the application of technological solutions. We seek to achieve this goal using video games as a tool for transmitting stories related to the importance of sustainability, as well as giving them the opportunity to access remote workshops that will bring them closer to the use of technology for problem-solving; this for them to have access to a quality education related to STEM and the Maker culture.

Currently, in Mexico the development of technological skills in young people has been affected by both economic and sociocultural issues, being that, in addition to the fact that not all the population have access to tools and resources that allow them to develop these skills, there are also stereotypes related to the difficulty of the topics included in STEM education. Likewise, one of the greatest barriers that must be faced to achieve this development is the gender gap, since, in Mexico, less than 10% of girls end up opting for careers related to science and technology.

Therefore, it is important that both boys and girls have the opportunities to interact with the uses and applications of technology, so that, in the future, they will be able to develop within the STEM areas and have the necessary knowledge to develop fundamental skills such as critical thinking, data analysis, and creativity.

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What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

Some of the activities that we have carried out to understand our users are pilot workshops, particularly, two pilot workshops that have been implemented in two different instances within the community.  

The first instance was the Tecnológico de Monterrey and the second was the CESCOM León, which is a social training center that cares for children in conditions of poverty or exclusion through educational workshops.

Thus, after these first workshops, interviews were carried out both with teachers from the social training center and with the girls who participated in the workshops, where these girls exposed their experiences and advice for future workshops through drawings. 

Through their drawings, they answered questions regarding what the workshop meant for them and proposals for improvement, where they highlighted aspects such as workshops being held at least once a month, adding short conferences with outstanding people in areas of science, technology, and maker culture, and, finally, establishing badges that could be added to their diploma of completion.

On the other hand, in terms of volunteering, some team members have volunteered with Technovation, both by giving conferences for the empowerment of girls in the technology field and through workshops in which we were able to give some advice to the participants regarding mobile programming.

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

Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts (Sustainability)

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Our solution's stage of development:

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

What have we accomplished to date? First of all, we have to say that despite our solution is still in a development phase, it's ready to be launched as a Pilot project. Nevertheless, it's important to highlight that our proposal was exposed in a Hackathon called “Niñas con Energía”, in which from more than 30 teams “Elena” was selected as the more innovative and creative solution, receiving a great response from the audience.  This last fact is really significant for us as feedback for the project, more than 100 girls from 11-19 years old were interested and inspired by the solution and expect to participate as soon as possible.

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

León, Gto., México
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Team Lead:

Fátima Romero

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new use of an existing technology (e.g. application to a new problem or in a new location)
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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our initiative is based on the use of software to reach our end users, where, on the one hand, we use video games as a way of telling and transmitting the stories of our heroine "ELENA", which emphasis is placed on concepts related to sustainability, such as the use of renewable energies, while, on the other hand, the teaching of our courses and the conformation of our community happens on platforms such as Zoom and Discord.

Finally, the use of technologies, highlighting artificial intelligence and hardware that includes microcontrollers such as Arduino and Circuit Playground Express, constitute the main bases of the proposed projects for the boys and girls who are mentored and who participate in our specialized workshops, since through these means it is possible to combine theoretical knowledge about sustainability with real-world practices that enhance their abilities as inventors, including creativity, systemic thinking and problem-solving.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things
  • Robotics and Drones
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Mexico
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How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

With our initiative we plan to carry out an impact on boys and girls from 12 to 16 years of age through specialized workshops in three modalities: virtual, in makerspaces and school clubs with animations and the storytelling of a climate hero called ELENA.

We plan to hold two virtual workshops per month, with an expected audience of 60 people per workshop in the first year, which is equivalent to 1,440 girls and boys in a year through the online modality.

On the other hand, we consider holding 5 important workshops in our city during the year in makerspaces with an expected audience of 30 people per workshop, which is equivalent to 150 people in a year in face-to-face mode.

For school clubs we will have downloadable activities available on the website, so we will be contacting the schools in our city so that the workshops are implemented in their study plans according to the school grade, so we'll be approaching 30 schools with approximately 100 students per school, which is a total of 3,000 students.

With an estimated 4,600 boys and girls in a year.

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What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

The main objectives that we take into account to generate immediate results are to reach the greatest number of girls and boys who change their lifestyle to generate actions related to climate change through technology by participating in the activities and reaching to become interested in STEAM areas and thus break the existing gender gap.

To achieve this, we will use planning and results measures such as KPIs as they are useful to measure performance about our specific objectives with a focus on the sustainable development objectives, which are quality of education, climate action, and gender equality.

In addition, considering our objectives, which is to reach the estimated possible number of boys and girls through organizations, we will be focused on contacting them through calls, visits, emails, LinkedIn, and in this way closing deals.

Finally, commit to carrying out the activities of the workshops in a learning format through storytelling that inspires them to create their solutions.

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How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?

With our initiative, we seek to guarantee and promote learning opportunities by innovatively expanding access to education by implementing distance workshops by taking advantage of technology and thus promoting quality education related to the use of resources such as renewable energy and climate change and satisfy the goal of sustainable development of quality education.

Likewise, when using indicators of learning results in the workshops that we carry out when analyzing the participation and promotion before, during, and after the event. In addition to examining the performance of students, with results and proportion of public and private investment, student support and expenses in schools.

In addition, relate and measure results based on the sustainable development goal of gender equality by promoting attitudes and practices of boys and especially  girls in the field of ICT.

Finally, our workshops are going to be based on ActNow impact measurements, the United Nations global call to individual action on climate change.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

The first and most important barrier that could limit our impact in the next year is not accomplishing the partnerships with the organizations we have in mind, this would affect instantly the operation of our site, inasmuch as without their collaboration there wouldn’t be enough courses to satisfy our users. In financial terms, the biggest barrier that our project faces right now is not having a concrete business plan, we are still working to find the best strategy that could fit our work schedule.

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About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time staff: 4 and part-time staff: 2

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How long have you been working on your solution?

5 months

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

Our team can implement the solution, because we are the ones who lived with the problem, talking about the lack of learning opportunities in our region that were affordable, gender-sensitive, and focused on sustainability that, motivated us to become creators of technology to safeguard the environment.

However, we become part of the STEM area, so we want to transmit this to future generations, with an emphasis on girls, so that they become active agents in the fight against climate change from the technology field.

Among the experiences, we participated in the Technovation Challenge, and become the winning team in Latin America after learning to make an artificial intelligence application to identify insects displaced by climate change. After this experience, we participated in a Hackathon organized by Siemens Energy and Epic Queen, in which our initiative become a finalist.

Along with us, we saw girls that just needed someone to help them by taking the first step of learning about technology so they can live incredible experiences and help their community. 

Our team

  • Claudia: Biotechnology Engineering student, she is an excellent video editor and knows about video games.

  • Edna: She is an international Business and Logistics student. She has very good management of social networks and knowledge related to technological entrepreneurship.

  • Zuki: She is a Biotechnology Engineering student who has knowledge about biology, chemistry, and video games.

  • Giovanna: She is a Mechatronics Engineering student, Technovation student ambassador and she has knowledge related to electronics and web programming.

  • Fátima: She is a secondary student who knows about video games and design. 

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Due to the stage of the project, our solution doesn’t count with current partnerships, however we already have a brief list of the companies and projects which we seek to work with in the near future. Our main and first ally is a social startup in Mexico called “Epic Queen”, this project seeks to challenge and eradicate gender stereotypes while using and promoting STEM areas in girls and young women. We choose this strategy partner due to the experience it has managing and developing courses online. 

Another partnership that we are interested in is LEGO Education, this project is well known to provide several STEM courses through a practical, intuitive, and inclusive learning with Legos. This would make our site more attractive not only for children but for parents as well.

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Your Business Model & Resources

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

Yes
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If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Girls Save the World Prize to advance your solution?

We consider that we qualify for the prize as we are a group of compromised girls who once lived with the problem, talking about the lack of learning opportunities in our region that were affordable, gender-sensitive, and focused on sustainability that, since an early age, motivated us to become creators of technology to safeguard the environment.

However, thanks to our curiosity, dedication, and teamwork, we created our ELENA project, a youth-led initiative for girls and boys so, with that said, we would take advantage of the resources to generate immediate results according to our initiative, which is to lead a positive impact on girls and boys with respect to acquiring a sustainable lifestyle and generating action for climate change through technological instruments and activities such as renewable energy and, in this way, they can begin to create this lifestyle in an independent way.

That is why we would use the resources to carry out activities with organizations that are experts in technological solutions and create workshops that allow children to implement them in their daily lives.

In addition, we would use it to be able to invest it in the materials that are used for each of the workshops by customizing them according to the activities agreed upon and studied in the organizations with which we will be collaborating.

Finally, to have more people involved in creating solutions that are related to climate change together with technology and that they can apply it immediately to their homes and thus be able to share their knowledge and become small activists who spread the word and generate either short and long-term results.

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

Yes
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If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Pozen Social Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

We considered qualified for the prize as we would take advantage of the resources to generate immediate results according to our initiative, which is to generate a positive impact on girls and boys with respect to leading a sustainable lifestyle and generating action for climate change through technological instruments and activities such as renewable energy and in this way they can begin to create this lifestyle in an independent way.

That is why we would use the resources to carry out activities with organizations that are experts in technological solutions and in this way create workshops that allow children to implement them in their daily lives.

In addition, we would use it to be able to invest it in the materials that are used for each of the workshops by customizing them according to the activities agreed upon and studied in the organizations with which we will be collaborating.

Finally, to have more people involved in creating solutions that are related to climate change together with technology and that they can apply it immediately to their homes and thus be able to share their knowledge and become small activists who spread the word and thus generate short-term results.

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Solution Team

 
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