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Desafío 12: Brave, curious and determined girls.

Afro-descendant girls become protagonists in the fight for their rights through exploration of STEM tools and socio-emotional skills.

Photo of Socialab Colombia
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

In many countries, girls between the age of 10 to 12 are often already linked by society to a purely reproductive, domestic, and private role. This situation will usually diminish their options to decide on their own future, deepening the violation of their basic human rights. It also hinders their personal and community development, perpetuating poverty and increasing their exposure to health risks, economic problems, social stigmatization, school dropouts, violence, and unwanted pregnancies, just to name a few. Specifically, Afro-descendant girls suffer from structural discrimination from birth due to their ethnicity and gender. In order to address this reality, Socialab designed the program 'Desafio 12' to help mitigate the risks faced by Afro-descendant adolescents (12-18 years). This Project focuses on two aspects: 1. Providing them with tools and knowledge to strengthen their emotional development and 2. Access to basic knowledge in the STEM field thus preparing them for a career in the STEM disciplines Combining these two aspects is expected to promote these young women’s development and to strengthen their resilience, encourage them to take risks and eventually achieve their autonomy as women. Once these girls participate in ‘Desafío 12’, they are responsible for transmitting the knowledge and learned lessons to other adolescents in their own community. At this point, the girls also have access to Belouga platform (our ally), that allows them to connect with other girls like them in different Colombian regions or even around the world. With this tool, they can share their experiences, help them, and learn about other realities. These interaction processes result in the construction of spaces of solidarity and support among them, creating safety environments for their full personal and community development.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are Afro-Colombian girls (between 12 and 18 years old), who are in vulnerable areas and in situation of high or extreme multidimensional poverty. They are young women whose daily life is permeated by discrimination, violence, constant rights violation. This condition significantly affects their decision-making process about their lives. During Desafío 12, they will explore different STEM tools applied to the development of socio-emotional skills. This will allow them to broaden their horizon of opportunities, because they will have the possibility of awakening their curiosity about simple and complex world issues, identifying individual and collective problems, proposing distinct alternatives to achieve common objectives, working as a team, just to name a few. All of this improves their self-confidence and strengthens their bases to interact with people around the world, sharing their experiences and learnings, and weaving solidarity and support networks among them.

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

As technology advances and the world increasingly depends on it, training in the fields of STEM is becoming a necessity. However, the advantages this entails transcend the boundaries of the workplace. This type of teaching promotes the structural reasoning of mind and the ordering of ideas, identification of alternatives for solving and managing problems, and it allows learning through experience, collaborative work and stimulates creativity. DESAFÍO 12 incorporates a gender and ethnic perspective, which gives Afro-Colombian girls the opportunity to broaden their horizon of opportunities to decide on their personal development and life projects. It is a program that strengthens self-confidence, allowing an improvement of their quality of life and that of their communities, as well as giving them visibility and a basis for the recognition of their rights. Finally, Desafío 12 is complemented by the connection with other girls around the world through Belouga platform.

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)

Socialab is a social innovation center that solve social problems through Entrepreneurship initiatives.

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.

Our experience working with vulnerable people in poverty situation has shown us that girls and teenagers are crucial in breaking poverty cycles. When girls have access to different tools and knowledge, they can make better life decisions. We have identified that a girl, just for being a woman, has the capacity and rise the probabilities to impact at least six other people, like her close friends or her present and future family.

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

Afro-Colombian girls belong to an ethnic group that has suffered from structural for centuries. Their gender, age group and ethnicity place them in a situation of extreme vulnerability, deepening their poverty condition and the violation of their fundamental rights. This gets worse with the fact that Afro-descendant peoples have historically inhabited geostrategic territories, becoming in targets of interests and disputes among illegal armed groups, the private sector and the public sector. In 2016, the Colombian State signed a peace agreement to end a 50-year war with one of the actors in the conflict, which means the great challenge to rebuild a country, within a framework of inclusion, opportunities, and peace. Desafío 12 is a scenery where Afro-Colombian girls can find life alternatives, strengthen their resilience, and have enough tools to work for their personal and community development, rebounding directly in the prosperity of their peoples and the country.

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

We work alongside Epic Queen, El Negro Está de Moda (ENEM) and Belouga. The first one is a Mexican social venture that creates educational programs in STEM field to reduce the gender gap in those disciplines, inspiring, including and educating girls and young women as leaders and creators. The other one is a communication and social transformation platform that inform, make visible, sensitize, and mobilize people around gender issues, equity, and diversity. Finally, Belouga is an educational platform that connects children around the world, learning and sharing experiences among them. Epic Queen and ENEM help us safeguard the gender and ethnic approach of the project. Together we design a methodology that allows the girls not only explore STEM tools but use them in the identification of problems and the creation of innovative solutions. For its part, Belouga is our ally in the connection of the girls with other people like them, so they can build solidarity networks around the world.

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

We plan Desafío 12 to be implemented in towns with majority of Afro-Colombian population, where there are lots of girls willing to learn while having fun, to share and help other girls and to work for the benefit of their community. The people there, also have social leaders and social organizations that are our best local allies to achieve our goals and to expand the project social impact.

Geographic Focus

Desafío 12 is planned to be implemented in towns of Pacific coast in Cauca Department.

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

Desafío 12 is design to be implemented in 36 months, with a budget of US$497.000. This will allow us to impact 400 girls every year in two towns. The first year will take place an ethnographic study, the adaptation of methodologies and the firs STEM camp. The second and the third years, there will be two STEM camps more and the activity of closure. Also, there will be a continuity plan, so that the community could take advantage of the project experiences to work for its peace and prosperity.

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

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andrea A

Qué buena iniciativa, lo mejor es cortar con la inequidad y la falta de oportunidades de las mujeres precisamente desde donde inicia. Seguiré atenta de este proyecto que espero verlo hacerse realidad muy pronto.

Photo of Socialab Colombia

Gracias por tus buenos deseos, Andrea.

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