“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
When we initiated the global mobilization around “Digital Education” with MakeSense in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent Foundation and UNESCO, I never imagined that the word ‘education’ could be so powerful.
The manifesto that we published for the occasion showed, with staggering figures, that 115 million young people still do not have access to education around the world. 2/3 of those 115 million are young women. We also noted that the internet, Smartphones, tablets and other digital tools are becoming more and more accessible and in particular more and more present in our daily lives. Whether we’re working at Wall Street or on a farm in the Atlas Mountains almost everyone can have access to the digital world. For example, if we look at refugees arriving in a host country, most of them will have a Smartphone to stay connected with their loved ones.
So what if we used this world of connectivity to our advantage- as an opportunity to bring the tools necessary to increase skills, learning, personal and professional development: in short education? And what if ‘Digital’ and ‘Education’ were united to allow the same opportunities, an equal chance of success to any individual?
Of course other solutions exist, and they must continue to exist, but they have their limits:
Build new schools?
Sometimes takes too long
Go to school?
Sometimes too far
Go into further study?
Sometimes too expensive
Learn in a way that’s adapted to you as an individual?
Sometimes not possible
Read books at home?
Sometimes too boring
What if we restructured the way education is distributed? What if each and every one of us could have the right to think about and attain our dream job?
It’s been 2 months since we launched the mobilisation around ‘Digital Education’, the aim: highlight the entrepreneurs who have created solutions using technology to make education accessible to anybody who has an adapted device: from old mobile phones that can only receive text messages (e.g. Chalkboard Education) to a computer connected to the web (e.g. Samaskull).
However, it’s not enough to just credit and talk about the projects; we want to help them increase their impact: by adapting their projects to new users, by proposing an even more enriching educational experience, or by uploading quality content. All of these challenges have been solved for around 40 different entrepreneurs thanks to 1300 people wanting to get involved in the cause. A special thanks to all the SenseMakers, in particular Sabine and Saiid Barry in Senegal, Mayra and Karina in Madrid, Melanie in Berlin, Helene, Soraya and Mathieu in Paris, Elsa in Beyrouth and Lorena in Mexico.
I have already mentioned that when we launched the mobilisation I didn’t imagine the power of Education. Let me explain. I work at SenseSchool, the educational branch of MakeSense. We organise innovation programmes where the aim is to teach students and professionals how to find concrete innovative solutions to a social or environmental issue i.e. learn how to have an impact on the causes that we are interested in. I therefore work with people who are already relatively well educated. But what do we do with the rest? What about those who drop out of school or those who are too far from any institution to be able to have an education? This is how I realised that the solutions created by social entrepreneurs have a huge impact. They are finding solutions which allow anyone, anywhere to shape their own future and to choose the career they wish.
I live in Paris and in the last few weeks lots of striking events have happened (terrorist attacks, the rise of an extremist political party, protests against the COP21). What if education is the most powerful weapon to change the world? Not my words but those of a certain Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela, I am convinced that if our 115 million young people around the world could have access to enough information to be able to form their own opinion and build upon their own culture, lots of other evils would be resolved. That is how education is powerful- a massive weapon of construction (not destruction)!
So let’s continue this mobilisation, so that together we can bring education to more people! Let’s act in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Senegal, Kenya, Lebanon, India, Cambodia — everywhere in the world to help social entrepreneurs increase their impact.
And if you act by recommending and organising a MakeSense workshop for your favourite projects before the end of January, we will select the 2 best projects identified across the world to help them scale their project with a dedicated team implementing the best ideas for 3 months!
With SenseSchool we are already planning on how to go the extra mile in 2016. We are organising 2 programmes in the first semester to support 2 projects with the biggest potential: one in France and one in Mexico. The programme called ‘SenseAcademy’ is aimed at students and graduates who are willing to solve the challenge of a social entrepreneur using our practical workshops. Inspiring meet-ups and our creative methods have already proven a success (e.g. What the Food was founded during a SenseAcademy programme!) At the end of the programme, the entrepreneur is offered a prototype — after that they just need to put into practice! So if you want to continue your impact and even go a step further by proposing a concrete solution for a high potential entrepreneur — follow MakeSense and SenseSchool to keep updated! You can already register by clicking on this link.
And for all of you who want to be trained on the big issues in education and developing your own career and on how to create a ‘Digital Education’ network, SenseSchool will hold a an exciting and intense training session in Paris the 21/22/23 of January. More information will be published on the Facebook page and you can already register here.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
to organize Hold-Ups for you favorite entrepreneurs
and recommend projects you like