Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Jara Unit | Emergency Education
Explain your project in details:
Jaras objective is to empower children and provide quality education through technology. The Jara unit is the first low-cost educational device that uses basic technology and does not require pre-existing infrastructure. It is wireless, waterproof, dustproof, and secure. It contains geographically customized pre-loaded content displayed through a digital flashcard teaching method. We partner with local digital content creators to design the content following official curriculums. For example, our first target location is Nepal. We have plans to collaborate with the Department of Education to design and include traditional curriculum such as Math, Science, and English, practical and coping curriculum. We plan on sourcing our flashcards from Nepali and international educators, open-source resources, and existing educational databases. We hire locals to distribute the devices and support community use. Jara Ambassadors will be in charge of product distribution. They are a person of influence in the local community, such as a teacher or a community leader. Their role consists of introducing the device into schools by training both teachers and students on how to use the device and are in charge of updating the content. Below is a summary of our approach: The Jara Unit content is custom to each locations unique culture. We do this through partnerships with digital content creators that design the educational content to fit national curriculums. We are designing the Jara Unit with the people we cater to. By conducting ethnographic research, our team learned consistent access to electrical grids and generators is limited in our target regions. Children want access to information regardless of their schools resources. We included solar and crank power charging on the device to enable mobility and consistent use. The Jara Unit is both low-cost and durable. Using reverse innovation techniques, we are able to reach a low-cost manufacturing and assembly cost.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
The Jara Unit is an IoT (Internet of Things) device that allows to track user progress. We are able to pull individual student data and track their academic progress. We plan on continuously tracking our students progress on a bi-monthly basis and update our content accordingly. Education technology of this capacity is non-existent, making the Jara Unit the first of its kind. Additionally, the Jara Unit includes community development education and Jara Ambassadors will be required to send us photos and written updates on how community development projects are going. Our team will consistently share updates on Jaras website and monthly newsletter. To date, we built V.1, V.2, and V.3 of the Jara Unit prototype. The most recent V.3 prototype was tested out in post-disaster Nepal. During the trip, we also conducted ethnographic research and published a research paper Education and Learning in Nepals Under-Resourced and Remote Communities. Further accomplishments include securing key partnerships with an IoT (Internet of Things) provider, OpenIDEOs Education in Emergency Alliance, and the Gorkha Foundation as a local community partner. Our latest accomplishment was Jaras participation in the CISCOs Global Problem Solver Challenge and being awarded the 1st runner up prize.
Sustainability and future plans
Business model: The Jara Unit is a supplement to under resourced classrooms. Jaras business model follows a hardware sales and software subscription model. We sell our hardware at four times the cost of manufacturing and assembly to governments, NGOs, and corporations, in addition to maintenance costs. This model ensures that we get recurring revenue. Since we are in the prototyping phase, we are also considering an alternative model that involves selling the hardware at a cost and upselling the services and advances content at a higher cost. To date, fifteen countries have expressed a strong interest in becoming our customers and buying Jara Units. Financing Source: We have generated $75,000 USD in an unrestricted grant and are looking to raise a total of $1,000,000 in the next twelve months. Implementation plan: We have built three versions of the Jara Unit prototype, which we tested during our first research trip to Nepal in 2017. Next steps include completing product development, conducting a pre-pilot, pilot and launching in Gorkha, Nepal the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake. Our initial target market are children between the ages 10-13 years old living in Gorkha, Nepal and surroundings. Eventually, we are planning on scaling to all age groups.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Soraya is 24 years old and has designed the past 7 years so that she could gain the skills to make Jara a reality. After attending the United Nations school to gain a global education, she went to university for electrical engineering to understand how to build what is now the Jara Unit. She designed and manufactured products from prosthetics to wearables. She gained experience in designing and implementing systems and programs through writing curriculum from K-12 robotics, directing the largest technology education camp of 500 campers and 60 staff members at Stanford, creating a fundraiser for disaster relief called Jamming-for-Relief, and designing and implementing effective systems as Supervisor for an electrical engineering innovation laboratory. Soraya also was a business management consultant for a government technology commercialization organization that had 72 portfolio companies. Soraya received several awards and participated in various international conferences including the Skoll World Forum (Delegate 2018), AMENDS (Delegate 2018), Womens Economic Empowerment Global Summit (Delegate 2017), Full Circle Fund Rising Leader, the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, and the White Key Award. Her technical capabilities, along with her leadership and management experience, paired with her commitment to Jaras mission, ensures that Soraya and her team will see Jara to its maximum impact.