OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Rural Meets Rural - Shared Challenges: Shared Solutions

Creating a place to unlock the creative capacity in every person to believe that they can change their world.

Photo of Sue Weber

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Exposing youth coming from rural America to rural communities from around the world in order to buid strong relationships with those who understand, struggle, and strive to grow and flourish without giving up or compromising all the values and gifts that come from living, "rural". Our four pillars are: Self-reliance; Acknowledging that every community has the right to determine its own needs and empowering the community to take action. Working and Learning Together: Working together can achieve more than working alone. Making sure that all voices are heard by listening, sharing, and having respect for one another's journey. Susatainablity: Making sure that we are empowering and supporting individuals and groups to continue their work for the long term. Empathy: The foundation for building bridges between individual, understanding each others' complex emotins, gaining a diverse perspective, and leveraging relationships for collaboration and progress. A community would choose an area of interests with the focus being shared struggles and common resources and return yearly to said community working to empower youth for a chance to obtain an education, exchanging ideas on how to create a strong workforce in their communities by developing out or partnering with businesses..

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries will be youth ages 13-18 and their familes who live in rural and remote areas whose picture of the world is only within the confines of their communities. To begin to bring into their consciousness the diversity of a globalized world and all its beauty as well as discovering how they can create new ways of prospering within the commuity in which they want to live. ( Search Uganda. "The trip of a lifetime lays the ground work for more."

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

What is unique about our initiative is allowing rural America to see "over the mountains and across the plains" to a broader world recognizing that in other rural areas throughout the globe youth are struggling with the same challenges. Our organization is in its third year of partnering with two communities in rural Uganda that share the same agricultural challenges as well as discovering ways to prosper without leaving the areas they have come to love. Partnering to build off of the already small, local businesses in each community and replicating those businesses with the core motto being, "We don't need aid, we need trade".

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Majority Adoption: I have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base.

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

Build life long relationships from across the world with those who share the same geography, challenges, shared dreams, and a desire to make their space and place one that is thriving.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.
  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

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

This has been a student driven initiative from middle/high shcool students who attend Plumas Charter School/Indian Valley Academy. They continually pushed for the opportunities to experience the world outside of the confines of their rural and remote communities. Coupled with a woman who spent 16 years spanning the globe who had a passion for her students to understand that the rehtoric they hear regarding types of people and places are false.

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

Peace is influenced by direct experiences human to human. Experience has such a profound impact on what we hold to be true. Prosperity is helping families who live in deep poverty find an avenue (entrepreneurship) to create opportuities that allow. their children to obtain a great educaton which in turn allows them to become stewards of their communities, their countries, and their world.

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

All of Plumas County (Portola, Chester, Quincy, and Indian Valley) are engaged and supportive in making sure the students have the opportunity to continue the work in Uganda. We also partner with KIDmob as well as Genesee Valley Ranch. ( and Small local businesses work with us to see if we can replicate some of what we do here in the valley to rural Uganda. Riley's Jerky ( and Indian Valley Lumber Co ( are two businesses we are currently working with to extend possible projects. Our first project was teaching students how to breed rabbits to introduce more protein in their diets. ( under Impact) Our strongest partner in Uganda is the Bishop of Uganda and South Sudan - Hamlet Mbabazi and his son, Gerald. Ian Abigaba is our lead for organizing our trips who will be spending this year with us in the US to teach our students the language and take the lead for further African hubs.

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

Uganda's youth are yearning for the opportunity for education that leads to work while rural America's youth are starving to experience a world outside of the confines of their small communities. There is a saying, "What you can do, I cannot do; What I can do you cannot do, but together we can make something beautiful". This is what we believe happens when rural meets rural.

Geographic Focus

Plumas County in Rural Northern California and Kanungu and Bwindi, Uganda. Want to expand this.

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

We would be able to implement this project January/February and March/April of 2019. Holding two one month trips to Uganda with youth working side by side continuing to build out small businesses at the high school as well as begin to push the boundaries of direct education. Helping teachers and administrators use the design process to innovate an educational model that would benefit them the most. Understanding that most teachers in rural Uganda have never even seen a puzzle!

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

  • No
View more

Team (6)

Rajinder's profile
Rajinder Gill

Role added on team:

"I have worked extensively with Rajinder and piloted the New World of Work at our school. Identifying ten critical 21st century skills that employers seek in new hires and plan to develop in exisiting workers."

Tyler's profile
Tyler Pew

Role added on team:

"Tyler is one of my past students who founded LMNOP-Design. With a strong desire to give back to his rural community of Greenville he founded KIDmob (Kid Integrated Design Firm) and has piloted many projects with our small school. KIDmob continues to be a strong asset when working with youth on pushing the boundaries of what is possible."

Kate's profile
Kate Ganim

Role added on team:

"Kate has partnered with our school for the past five years bringing her expertise as a designer of space and place. She is an invaluable asset to our team as we continue to create learning landscapes in rural communities. A strong player in our year long process of writing a proposal for the XQ Super School Grant KIDmob has created an international team of designers who we access often."

Amy's profile
Amy Schulz

Role added on team:

"Amy's daughter was the driving force behind creating Rural to Rural after visiting Uganda with her mom and the Enactus team from Feather River College five years ago. Amy is currently the Dean of Business and Technology at Sierra College in CA. Her continual expertise is invaluable as we continue to move forward."

Gerald's profile
Gerald Mbabazi

Role added on team:

"Gerald is our partner working with us to help redefine education in rural Uganda. Specific emphasis on design thinking and how to prepare young men and women for the workforce."

Sue's profile


Join the conversation:

Photo of Adriana Santamaría

Hi Sue!

I am so happy to find you here! Rural to Rural has been a great inspiration for me in my own process of working in design for social impact.

I was wondering Sue, how does the team decide on which countries to connect with?
I am thinking, What If students search and learn from other geographies in order to collectively define a route of different countries you might visit? The impact of expanding the world for this kids is huge and I can only imagine the impact the community as a whole could have if every cohort of students could be a new node with another remote location around the world.

I am happy to connect and chat about how rural Latin America looks like!

After my time in San Francisco I came back to Colombia and continued to explore rural education. I would love for you to check out our project!

Photo of Sue Weber

Adriana!!! How wonderful to be reconnecting. I would LOVE to connect and see how we could make Rural to Rural a part of Latin America. Let's connect via email.
Really looking forward to reconnecting and hopefully working together.

Photo of Adriana Santamaría

I am going to think about ways to make this happen! + I will email you!

View all comments