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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.

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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.

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