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Building peace and prosperity through skateboarding, education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Increasing access to and use of ICT for disadvantaged children worldwide, to better equip them for the 21st century global labor economy.

Photo of Chris Lowe
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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

Based upon feedback received from potential beneficiaries in the communities we serve, there are two broad issues preventing socio-economically disadvantaged children from engaging in an information based society and eventually its respective workforce: (1) unequal access to information technology (IT) with proper infrastructure; and (2) not having the required skills to actively participate in the digital community. By providing IT infrastructure and training to local educators and students within Skateistan’s Skate Schools, we aim to broadly disseminate ICT skills and raise the standard of those skills in the local communities. This includes for the local youth themselves, which in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa, make up a significant proportion of the population, and also for educators, who as key community assets will continue to teach students beyond the scope of this project.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

A number of themes link Skateistan’s diverse beneficiaries. This includes that disadvantaged youth have unequal access to education, and ICT education specifically. Whilst contexts vary - for eg. in Afghanistan access to IT is a barrier to digital literacy but in Cambodia or South Africa, ICT skills being professionally useful is more pressing - the root problem is the same. Namely disadvantaged youth left out of the information-based community risk becoming further disadvantaged and isolated.

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

Connecting our sites via a safe social network and e-learning platform will increase the sense of community in otherwise isolated regions and deepen the pool of educational material available to all, equally. After the ICT training is completed at the Skate Schools, we will scale out via Skateistan’s GoodPush Skateboarding Alliance to partners which could include in Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, and then to other Sport for Development organizations worldwide via a free to access web portal.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

The project, initially spanning Skate Schools attended by 2,300 students, will enhance technology-related skills and increase students’ chances of employment in the digital economy. During the scale-out phase via the GoodPush Alliance in months 12-18, many more beneficiaries will have free access to technology-based learning throughout a new GoodPush online portal due to launch Fall 2018. Providing cost-free access to online training will ensure the ICT education can be scaled-out and sustained

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

During this phase we undertook a needs assessment for our pilot project idea with our beneficiaries in Afghanistan (Kabul and Mazar), Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and South Africa (Johannesburg), which we then integrated along with the expert feedback in the ‘improve phase’. For example the feedback received helped confirm the importance Skateistan students put on ICT training, as well as highlighting how important knowledge sharing between sites is perceived. As such, additional focus was added into the global knowledge sharing aspect of our solution.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

The project will be overseen by Skateistan’s International Program Director, who is responsible for strategic management of the ICT education programs. IT oversight will be provided by Skateistan’s International IT Manager, ensuring education modules are of a high standard and fit students' needs in terms of enhancing their digital literacy. Daily management and implementation oversight would be led by the General Managers of all of the Skate Schools globally. Staff bios are attached below.

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

The financial support provided by potential BridgeBuilder funds would be utilised in three main ways: (1) IT infrastructure at each site, specifically the mini-server as a node in the federated network, the ICT resources for the students (computers or tablets) and the expansion of the internet connection (where required); (2) the provision and scale-out of training including the initial curriculum and localisation of such; and (3) the ICT support for the infrastructure and federated network.

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

- What detail do you think is missing in our proposal that could make it more engaging? - Do you have any suggestions on how to localize educational materials in diverse settings within different geographic regions? - What are the best ways of making online training accessible and engaging?

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

As part of our beneficiary feedback matrix (see attached) we learnt students in our Skate Schools would really value more cross-border interaction: sharing experiences, inspirations and solutions to common problems. Based on this, via video conferencing, we will now share and develop lessons plans across Skate Schools so the best elements of each curriculum can be used globally. These curricula will be adapted to local contexts as per UNESCO's curriculum localization guidance (following Expert feedback)- balancing local needs in a participatory manner. We recently attended an ICT conference in Washington DC hosted by USAID's Global Development Lab, aimed at reducing the digital gender divide. At this event, and again relating to Expert feedback, we contacted an organization using online educational games to enhance children's digital literacy. We will continue to develop this relationship and similar ones so in future, we could build learning through online games into our curricula.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

This document summarizes the feedback we received from potential beneficiaries across Skateistan’s Skate Schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. The interviews of students were undertaken by Skateistan Program Officers Tin, Kelly, Noorzai, and Sulaiman.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

The attached key staff bios have been included as per advice during the expert feedback phase.

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Skateistan’s project will increase access to and use of ICT for disadvantaged children, with a special focus on girls. The project will better equip youth growing up in places of long-term conflict and poverty, preparing them for the 21st century global labor economy, as well as forging global connections through knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning. The 18 month project will initially provide access to, and education in the safe use of, ICT for Skateistan’s students at Skate Schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Skateistan’s award-winning Skate Schools provide education to over 2,000 students through the innovative hook of skateboarding. The beneficiaries will be at-risk youth from low socio-economic backgrounds and female students who comprise over 50% of Skateistan’s students. Given that “women in developing countries are nearly 25% less likely to be online than men, inhibiting their ability to fully connect to their world and communities”, Skateistan is committed to reducing this digital gender divide by providing equal opportunity for all. The project will then scale out the ICT education modules through Skateistan’s pilot project, the GoodPush Skateboarding Alliance. The Alliance comprises a network of emerging Skateboarding for Development organizations in Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine. The ICT education module will be delivered by Skateistan’s educators and youth leaders trained during the start-up phase of the project. The underlying project hypothesis is that ICT provides increasing opportunities to educate and connect citizens around the world in real-time at low cost. By deploying a Learning Management System (LMS) alongside a Social Network, Skateistan will enable online learning and create a community that spans all project sites. Skateistan would deploy this on a federated decentralized network enabling connectivity in remote areas with unreliable internet and bypassing issues of privacy and data security.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Skateistan targets children aged 5-17, focussing on youth from low socio-economic backgrounds including street-working children, migrants or the internally displaced. Additionally Skateistan targets children at risk of neglect, psychosocial distress, gender-based violence, economic exploitation, and other forms of harm. Despite gender equality making headlines and the gender gap being addressed worldwide, it is still far from being closed. Skateistan has managed to find a way for girls living in places of long-term conflict and poverty to break this cycle and access education by aiming to include a minimum of 50% girls into its programs. This is achieved by creating a ‘female-first environment’ by actively employing female teachers and running weekly girls-only sessions. Due to skateboarding’s non-competitive nature, Skateistan also promotes the inclusion of children with physical or developmental disabilities, working with approximately 140 children living with a disability

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Educational and recreational services are often compromised in places of conflict and poverty. Skateboarding celebrates diversity and encourages creativity in a way that many sports do not. It is often a new sport in places where Skateistan operates, providing the opportunity to target beneficiaries in an innovative way. This maximizes program success because once children latch onto skateboarding, much more is possible: education, community, leadership. Youth come for skateboarding and stay for education. The opportunity for children to develop ICT skills will be a novel dimension to Skateistan’s programs, enhancing beneficiaries’ ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks. Skateistan will also harness the potential of ICT, moving from common cloud-based technology and utilizing a federated network hosted onsite, avoiding issues around internet privacy by managing the network and its content, and mitigating problems surrounding unreliable internet.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Skateistan is an award-winning international non-profit organisation that uses skateboarding and education for youth empowerment through four programs - Skate and Create; Youth Leadership; Back to School and Outreach - which provide access to free sport and educational opportunities to over 2,000 children worldwide. Website URL:

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Skateistan started on the streets of Kabul in 2007 when Founder, Oliver Percovich, saw the potential skateboarding had to provide an innovative route into education for marginalized children. Skateistan has since set up Skate Schools worldwide. The next phase is to ensure students are best equipped to enter the modern, 21st century labor economy. This will be achieved by integrating ICT education into existing programs that help educate and connect students, building virtual bridges worldwide.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Working with large youth demographics, who become positive role models, is essential to countering division, extremism and xenophobia long-term. Skateistan programs build trust between children and youth of different backgrounds, a much-needed first step towards overcoming ethnic divisions in communities. In Afghanistan for example, ethnic groups represented among Skateistan’s students include Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkman, Pashai, and the nomadic Jogi community. Long-term engagement leads to peaceful co-existence, breaking barriers of ethnic divides, gender inequality and discrimination. The nature of the ICT training modules would be subject to local needs assessments but could include computer literacy, using the internet safely, and media literacy. Video-conferencing would also be used to share knowledge and lessons learned across the Skate Schools, including through Skateistan’s expanding Goodpush Skateboarding Alliance.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Skateistan works with partners including national governments, Olympic Committees, schools, and other local NGOs. Building upon over 10 years of experience combining skateboarding and education for vulnerable children, in 2018 Skateistan launched the GoodPush Skateboarding Alliance. The innovative project will leverage the enthusiasm and skills of emerging Skateboarding for Development projects and collaborate with their leadership to scale out Skateistan’s impact to other countries including Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine. A key element of this Alliance is advising on the greater inclusion of girls and women in the program design of partner organizations. The Alliance will also release open-source resources online for the entire Skateboarding for Development community consisting of over 100 initiatives worldwide. Through this knowledge-sharing model, Skateistan can remotely replicate transferable elements of the ICT education to beneficiaries globally.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Strengths include creativity and innovation, in terms of how skateboarding is welcomed as a unique hook into education; collaboration, regarding local and global community partnerships through which programs are delivered; continued learning, aided by exchanges of best practice across Skateistan’s global community; and local ownership, in terms of programs designed by local staff working with local families and beneficiaries to ensure interventions meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Geographic Focus

Afghanistan: Mazar & Kabul Cambodia: Phnom Penh & Sihanoukville South Africa: Johannesburg

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

18 months as follows: Phase 1 (0-3 months) - provision of enhanced access to ICT infrastructure for children across Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Phase 2 (3-6 months) - training for Skateistan staff to deliver ICT training in the above three countries. Phase 3 (6-12 months) - education and training provided by Skateistan staff to youth at Skate Schools. Phase 4 (12-18 months) - remotely rolling out the ICT training module through the Goodpush Skateboarding Alliance.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)

Skateistan’s Learning Management system.pdf

The diagram illustrates Skateistan’s Learning Management System (LMS) as explained below in the project idea.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Patricia

Hello Chris Lowe ,

This is awesome! I love it. In Iraq where we operate, we've seen a number of really popular skate parks open. I think using skating to attract young people is a great idea.

How easy has it been for you to attract young women as well as men to your programs? Also, one challenge of ICT programs is often the cost of upkeep of the computers is quite high over time. How do you plan to ensure this program can maintain sustainability?

Let us know if you ever plan to expand to Iraq! We'd love to help.

Photo of Innocent N. Tshilombo

Hello Chris, this is a great idea indeed that fill the gap in some education systems that don't adequately address the question of helping kids to stay longer in school. Thank you for the innovation to combine this approach with ICT. Considering the need for this project, I would be interested to learn how you would sustain this idea to beyond the project period?

Photo of Chris Lowe

Dear Innocent, thank you very much for your comment and your interest in the ICT aspect of the proposal. There are a number of ways in which we ensure that our idea would be sustained beyond the project period. Firstly, by training Skateistan educators to deliver the ICT education training module, the project builds the capacity of internal staff to continue to deliver training a grant period ends. The fact that around 70% of Skateistan’s educators are former students also helps ensure ICT skills learned are replicated within the organization over time.

Secondly, by making the ICT training available remotely online, the training can continue to be accessed by other Skateboarding and Sport for Development organizations cost free over an unlimited period. This will be achieved via Skateistan’s new online platform - - which will go live by the Fall of 2018. Do feel free to look out for it!

Thank you again for your thought provoking questions and best of luck to you and your wonderful idea about empowering locals at Kakuma Refugee Camp

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Chris Lowe looks like the GoodPush link isn't working do you mind re-sharing their info?

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hi Ashley

Unfortunately the general Goodpush site won't go live until November. Apologies for sending a link which is still a work-in-progress, but this is where the online knowledge-sharing platform would be hosted from.

In the meantime if it would help, we could send you the latest version of the Goodpush Project Cycle which we've been working on in the last few weeks. I can send that to you by email as it is an image. I hope this helps, but of course do let me know if any further information would assist and we'll be very happy to send it on!
Best wishes,

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Chris Lowe great to have you in the Challenge!

I'm curious to learn more about your hopes and dreams for your ICT curriculum and programing? If you are successfully what does this look like for individual students, and what might it look like with regards to creating a more peaceful and prosperous world? Who are some of the organizations or models you are currently looking to for inspiration and why?

Last in the sharing about your team part, can you link to folks bios or profiles, help us get to know the team that's going to take this project to the next level!

Can't wait to learn more!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for your thought provoking questions!

By providing our students with access to ICT equipment and training that they otherwise have no exposure to, our aim is to empower the individuals with a much greater level of technical skill in an information based world. By empowering the individual, we hope to increase their ability to engage in a broader information based global society, and increase the technical exposure to their respective communities at large.

From a gender inequality and discrimination perspective, Skateistan provides opportunities for female empowerment at all levels. Female staff members and youth leaders are valuable and influential mentors that help to address gender inequality and shift perspectives in their wider communities. The unique combination of skateboarding and education, coupled with enhanced digital literacy, creates a positive impact with female students and their wider communities to counter gender inequality and discrimination.

We have looked at many organisations for inspiration, with two primary examples. Firstly the social focus of Women Win ( ) where sport for development is coupled with a women first approach to education, and also Global Nomads Group ( with their innovative use of emerging technologies. We were particularly inspired by the youth voices curriculum (initiated by Global Nomads Group), a civic engagement program for young people which focus on integrating technology into the classroom, one example being facilitation of live video conferences between students worldwide. Video conferencing brings young people together across cultural and national boundaries, giving them opportunities to reflect upon their differences and similarities and to discuss the global issues that affect them.

We have had success in South Africa with the Career & Education Planning program, using these topics as a forum to teach basic computer literacy. Youth learn basic word processing, how to search the internet for work and education opportunities, and how to use email, among other ICT skills. They become connected with professional networks, internships, scholarships and post secondary study opportunities. For the youth who take part, these skills open up new horizons for their futures.

Bios of the Skateistan team members will be linked in the project idea in due course, however, here is a summary of the team members involved:

The project idea will be overseen by Skateistan’s International Program Director, Talia Kaufman, who would be responsible for strategic management of the ICT education programming globally. Monitoring, evaluation and learning would be managed by MEL Manager, Lauren della Marta who would oversee the collection of MEL data from the relevant country sites and ensure lessons learned are captured, shared, and implemented throughout the project. IT direction and support would be provided by IT Manager, Lee White​, ensuring that the education modules are of a high standard and fit with the needs of students in terms of enhancing their digital literacy. Day to day management and implementation oversight of the project would be led by the General Managers of the Skate Schools in Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul, Johannesburg, and Phnom Penh respectively.

I hope this answers your questions but do let me know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes, Chris

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Chris Lowe thanks for the information very helpful!

Photo of Marnie Glazier

This is such a beautiful idea and I love the intergenerational, interdisciplinary, gender non-binary approach you take in this program. Our partner for our Salinas Arts & Innovation Hub project, Urban Arts Collaborative, works primarily with the youth in Salinas, California, and they too have found incredible synergies among skateboarding, arts, and youth leadership and healing. Keep up the amazing work!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Dear Marnie, Thanks very much for your kind words on our project idea and great to hear that your partner organisation has found such synergies amongst skateboarding, arts and youth leadership. On the topic of healing, we were recently introduced to Hull Skateboarding earlier this year, an organisation that does therapy work with marginalized children at Hull Services in Canada. They have observed the connections between skateboarding and neuroscience, and highlight how skateboarding can be used as an activity that can heal the human brain from past trauma. This new lens is fascinating and important because it provides added value to skateparks as safe spaces for children to play and learn and something we will further explore in the near future. Your idea sounds incredibly interesting too- best of luck with helping to cultivate a sustainable arts ecosystem in Salinas.

Photo of Marnie Glazier

Thanks so much for sharing this study. This is fascinating - and also inspiring to hear that more work is being done to legitimize sport and performance as definitive mental and physical health approaches. One of the things that we are struggling with as artists, working in what can largely be defined as "Healing" is the legitimization of non-medical, nontraditional practices - not so much by healthcare professionals but by business, and namely insurance companies. Again, I appreciate the information on this recent study because it is work like that, that will help to push the boundaries in terms of effective health practices. Best to you as well and again I look forward to hearing more!

Photo of Nicole Ballou

Hi Chris,

Congratulations! The combination of skateboarding and ICT education is incredibly innovative and it was great to read about your commitment to addressing discrimination and gender inequality and your focus on long-term empowerment. Given the diversity of your geographic locations, I would love to hear more about what you have learned from each place. Have you found any significant differences in the use or implementation of your programming across the three locations? What does communication between the three locations look like? Are students involved in this communication?

Thank you, and I look forward to learning more about this project! Good luck!


Photo of Chris Lowe

Dear Nicole,

Many thanks for your comments. We are really excited about the potential to be able to add ICT and digital literacy training to our existing programs across our Skate Schools. One of the things which has been reinforced to us during the process of planning and improving this proposal has been the diverse needs of students across our various sites, both with regards to our existing programs which are of course tailored to meet local contexts, but also with regards to ICT. For example with regard to ICT (and based upon feedback we have received from potential beneficiaries as part of our application to this Challenge) the needs in Afghanistan include very fundamental issues like basic access to ICT infrastructure. Whereas in South Africa, making sure ICT training aligns with the digital aspects of the local economy is a bigger concern. At the same time, there are common issues and opportunities facing students across our sites. For example from our experience we know that all children enjoy the creative aspects of our existing education programs, which we hope to expand through using ICT. Currently there are and have been some opportunities for Skate Schools to interact and share best practice, local experiences, and common inspirations, including through in-person visits. Skateistan started organising inter-site exchanges last year across Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. The participant feedback of these exchanges was very positive and the programmes team is looking into methods to formalise the exchange and learning.

We very much hope by integrating ICT into our education programs, these opportunities will become much more widespread through remote interactions, which our feedback shows our students would be incredibly excited about. This remote element is especially important with the security issues prevalent working in places like Afghanistan, which is why it would be so exciting to be able to utilize ICT to build digital bridges between our students around the world.

I hope this sufficiently answers your questions but do not hesitate to get in touch if further explanation is required. Best wishes, Chris

Photo of Gwen Jewiss

Love this project! The scaling looks a bit aggressive, but the reach is wonderful. Please look at an Austin, TX based adult education program called Free Minds. It focuses not only on the educational aspect, but also cultural literacy. That component, along with leadership skills for girls, could really make your project great! Keep going!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Dear Gwen, Thanks very much for your response on our proposal. We have certainly set the bar high on scaling activities, but have a number of contingency plans in place to ensure it is manageable. Regarding the education and literacy point, although we predominantly focus on children aged 5-17 there are still many aspects we can learn from the Free Minds education program - many thanks for the suggestion and best of luck with your idea.

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

Hi Chris as part of the Expert Feedback Phase I want to address three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project below.

- What detail do you think is missing in our proposal that could make it more engaging?

I feel it is a well written project idea but your could make it more engaging by perhaps connecting your target groups, the young people in your 3 pilot countries in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa more. It would be good to hear more about how these kids can help and inspire each other beyond their borders and collectively solve the specific problems in their countries by working together and learning fro each other.

- Do you have any suggestions on how to localize educational materials in diverse settings within different geographic regions?

Perhaps you can contact the national UNESCO Commission of each of your target countries and see how they are localizing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) materials in a very diverse setting with different cultures across varied geographic regions.

- What are the best ways of making online training accessible and engaging?

Perhaps you can look at game developers who are designing games to incorporate online training addressing social, economic and environmental issues to raise the awareness of young people that can be accessible via tablets and smart phones.

Photo of Chris Lowe

Many thanks for your comments, Bremley. We really appreciate your feedback and insights which we are currently working into our updated project design via the Final Updates question in the portal. Very best wishes from all of us at Skateistan and many thanks again!

Photo of Anubha Sharma

using sport to engage and train youth is a great idea, there is an organisation called Magic Bus in India that uses sport to teach life skills, you must look them up, they are doing really well.

Photo of Kurt Davis

There are a lot of benefits to skateparks around the world. And in an environment like this its powerful. Do you do any basic business training in your educational programs?
This is getting a lot of interest from Tony Hawk, Richard Branson and more in urban development and hunger fighting. Have you approached any of them?

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hey Kurt, thank you very much for your comment and suggestions. Even though Skateistan does not directly provide basic business training, Skateistan students do engage in career and education planning for both their academic and personal development, in which they explore career opportunities that align with their interests and goals. It is a great suggestion and something we will explore further in the near future. Concerning the interest from Tony Hawk- he has been on our international advisory board since 2014 and meets with Skateistan's international board members on an annual basis. We are also currently partnering with Make Life Skate Life through our pilot project, The Goodpush skateboarding Alliance were Skateistan shares knowledge and expertise with other Skateboarding for Development organisations around the world including 7 Hills skatepark based in Jordan and SkateQilya in Palestine. Thanks again for your suggestions, we will have a further look into the links you sent through. Best of luck with your idea.

Photo of Katie Messick Maddox

This is a really interesting proposal and innovative way - via sport, tech - to engage youth, really love the idea - would be keen to learn more about how you incorporate tech into the sport aspects, as well as the youth empowerment/engagement focus - is it with the boys or separate? You should check out Comic Relief if seeking funds as they've funded sports projects in past. Congrats!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Thanks very much for your message Katie. We use sport (primarily skateboarding) as a hook into our education programs, into which we now plan to incorporate ICT education. In some sites we do mixed classes, but in Afghanistan for example, genders are very much separated with girls only classes and days. Thanks for the tip about Comic Relief. We actually already get some funding from them and are in the process of seeking more.
Best wishes, Chris

Photo of Dusti Becker

Hi Chris Lowe ! What an inspiring project that creates a community of empowered youth that help each other out to be creative problem solvers. I am curious to what specifically encouraged you to have a special focus on girls? This is powerful!
Good luck,
Carrie (part of Dusti Becker 's team)

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hi Dusti,

Apologies for the delayed response, but thank you for your message! We decided to focus on girls because they often face unique challenges to sport participation, education and especially barriers in attaining ICT skills and competencies. The challenges girls face are particularly harsh in the countries that we operate in namely, Afghanistan, South Africa and Cambodia. Best wishes to you and your idea.

Photo of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)

Hi Chris,
This sounds like an amazing project! What a creative idea to use skateboarding as an entry point for disadvantaged youth to education and opportunity! Our organization began as an opportunity for girls in the Kibera slum to learn and play football, so I can definitely see the potential for great impact of your project. Good luck progressing forward!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hello SHOFCO team,

Thank you for your kind words on our proposal. Girls often face unique challenges when participating in sports so it's great to see there are more like-minded organisations out there. Best wishes to you.

Photo of Jon Hanson

Hi Chris
Looks like a really interesting project! Lovely to see the girls skateboarding in your video. What has your experience been with local community acceptance, particularly in conservative societies? Is there any risk of backlash from the community for girls who take part in the project? Wishing you all the best

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hey Jon,

Thank you for your kind words on our proposal. We have found from experience in countries such as Afghanistan that girls often face additional barriers to accessing sport, but because it is such a new sport, skateboarding is not often subject to existing social restrictions.

We have strong connections with local schools and communities in the regions that we operate in, as well as related government bodies. We work hard to keep strong relations with all of our stakeholders to mitigate risk and ensure the community positively values our programs.

Goodluck to you too Jon. Best wishes, Chris

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy

Hello Chris Lowe !

Congratulations on making it to the shortlist! We have now started the Refinement Phase where @Jaskeerat Bedi  and myself will be helping you refine your idea. It looks like you’re already doing great work in Afghanistan using skateboarding to bring youth from different backgrounds together and promote technology to empower them with skills for the 21st century workplace. We are curious to know more about how you plan to prototype your idea. Please answer the following questions, and use the attached user experience map to refine your idea:
• What will the user experience look like? Please use a story to illustrate your answer.
• How many young people will benefit from your idea? What is the primary location for prototyping?• What are the timelines and key milestones in the implementation phase?
• How will you measure success?
@Jaskeerat Bedi : do you have any additional questions?We look forward to hearing from you, Chris Lowe 
We'll be rooting for you!

Photo of Chris Lowe

Hello Jean-Marc,

Apologies for the delayed response, but thanks for your comments, questions and kind words about our proposal. We are currently refining the idea through which we are answering all of your questions listed above. We look forward to working together with you in the next phase . Best wishes, Chris Lowe

Photo of Christina Schwanke

Hello Chris Lowe ,

Sports is such a valuable resource for child development! My husband is a retired professional mountain bike racer and our family has seen the skills and confidence his lifetime of biking produced translate into every part of our lives. That being said we are using gymnastics to give our daughter the same benefits and we have seen the gymnastics as a catalyst for educational development.

I am curious what kind of challenges you anticipate? I noticed one of your target beneficiaries is 'street working' children. One of the other ideas on this platform was talking about how parents who don't want to lose income can often be a barrier to success? Do you believe you will encounter this challenge?

I also noticed you said “women in developing countries are nearly 25% less likely to be online than men, inhibiting their ability to fully connect to their world and communities” ....this is an interesting fact. What do you believe is the cause?
I sincerely believe reaching out to kids through skateboarding is such a great idea! I look forward to finding out more.

Photo of Chris Lowe

Many thanks for your comment, Christina. Parents’ attitudes to education can indeed sometimes be a barrier, unfortunately, which is why we have an important focus on community engagement to try and counter this challenge should it arise.

This includes with regards to the gender aspect in some particular contexts meaning access to education is often not equal, which in itself can have implications in terms of general access to online technology. A difficult challenge which has big implications for the young generation as technology becomes an increasingly important part of people’s lives.

Many thanks again for your thoughtful comment, and best wishes to your family in their sporting pursuits!

Photo of Christina Schwanke

Thank you for your response! Congratulations on being shortlisted! Best of luck in your program!

Photo of Clarence Chang

Absolutely fantastic work! I taught breakdance to slum youth in Uganda, so I definitely appreciate the use of a hook to create responsible and confident adults. Give them something that can never be taken away. :)

Photo of Chris Lowe

Thank you for your message Clarence. It’s great to see how many exciting hooks into education exist all around the world which is really inspiring to us at Skateistan.

Photo of Haseeb Shaikh

Hey Chris! Haseeb from Pakistan here. Love your work. Purely selfish question: Any plans to expand to Pakistan?

Photo of Chris Lowe

Thanks for your comment Haseeb, we are focusing on scaling out our idea in Palestine, Jordan and Iraq, but will not rule out the possibility of Pakistan in the future.