Site Visits on Days 02 at Centers of Digital Inclusion (CDI) and Sapana

On the 2nd Day we visited the organization Centers of Digital Inclusion (CDI)

CDI’s mission is to mobilize individuals, transform communities and improve quality of life through technology. This is achieved through one of their projects, Apps for Good, where students and teachers work together in creating ideas of apps, i.e. small software programs that change the world and challenge the status quo.

CDI is the Portuguese chapter of the international organization Apps for Good.  Apps for Good is an open-source technology education movement that partners with educators in schools and learning centers to deliver our course to young people 10-18 years of age. They provide the course content, training and connections to our Expert volunteers, and then let teachers do what they are best at – inspiring and guiding young people. In the course, students work together as teams to find real issues they care about and learn to build a mobile, web or social app to solve them. Like professional entrepreneurs, students go through all key aspects of new product development, from idea generation, technical feasibility and programming to product design, deciding on business models and marketing. In Apps for Good, they train teachers and other educators to work locally with young people but also match them with professional designers, developers and entrepreneurs who volunteer their time and skills through our Expert Community to advise young people in their app ideas.

João Baracho (Director Executivo) gave us an insight in CDI and its projects. We had the opportunity to listen to a group of 16 year old students who developed an App that makes suggestion on meals made on what is left in your cupboard or fridge. Therefore they collected some recipes, created a database of ingredients. They even included a shopping list function if you have to buy missing ingredients for a meal. The App provides two ways of using it. One is based on what is based in cupboard, fridge or freezer, f.e. you have milk, 2 eggs, flour and bacon. The search result is omelette or pancakes. The reason why develop the app, was that they discovered that it is easy for their parents to buy groceries, but if the kids ask ” What’s for dinner, mum?” Their parents sometimes did not know what to cook.

Esther had the opportunity to visit the organization Sapana. SAPANA, meaning dream in Nepali language, was created following the field work that the founder –Ms. Carolina Almeida Cruz– did in in Nepal, Tibet and India. That experience made her to dream of enabling people in her own country to discover and taking advantage of their talent, and it inspired and motivated her to use her entrepreneurial spirit for social purposes. In order to realise her dream, Carolina set up the Non Governmental Organisation for Development (NGOD) SAPANA, which was considered to be a model of Social Business by Grameen Bank (Muhammad Yunus’s Foundation).

Sapana’s mission is to empower individuals dealing with them one-to-one, with the intention of impact on a specific group and consequently on society. As per its vision, Sapana envisages to make their beneficiaries autonomous so that they will not need to depend on it anymore and the organisation can “disappear”. For this purpose, Carolina and the other members of Sapana’s team explained to us that their organisation runs programs related to 3 action axes, namely:

  1. Social Responsibility, axe that regards the non-profit sector and includes the following projects:
    1. Talentos em Livre Trânsito, which focuses on the reintegration of unemployed people into the job market through the involvement of companies that facilitate their self-discovery and the identification of their aptitudes;
    2. Breaking Bars tackles the reclusion issue in prison, by rehabilitating detainees and ex-convicts socially and professionally, i.e. engaging inmates in the production of aromatic herbs vases.
    3. Power2You promotes cultural inclusion related to social housing in order to fight spatial segregation and poverty in multiethnic neighbourhoods, foster employability and active citizenship of their residents.
  2. CORE–corporate with purpose axe concerns the profit sector and aims at providing companies with services to establish and implement their CSR department and at offering their employees transformational experiences, which allow them to develop their skills or gain new ones, and boost team cohesion, identification, “talent exponentiation” and conflict management within the company.
  3. Super Solutions axe concentrates on the profit sector as well, and it serves as incubator for social starts up.

Sapana’s staff admitted the key of success of their organisation relies on the fact that the axes 2 and 3 are able to support and guarantee the sustainability of the first one, by committing to spreading best practices and contributing to handle the challenges that the recipients of the first axis’s activities face. Finally, they clarified their modus operandi: they work from passion to action in the first axis, from problem to solution in the second and third axes.

We found this site visit so interesting that we are planning in launching a partnership with SAPANA.

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  • Thank you for this wonderful report of a wonderful time in Lisbon in march 2017, where Tanja and Esther, among other activities, visited ‘organizations for the good’. Having read this report, I am personally interested to know whether the app that is presented here, providing ideas for Western ‘mums’ (dads cook too, by the way), could not be adapted (or localized) to fit the need of those in developing countries who have a lot less in their fridge (or even no fridge at all), allowing them to use what they have to cook a meal that is as healthy and nutritious as the family-budget and local market allows for. Just a thought 🙂

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