May 2

Week 13: Specific Funding Sources and Strategic Partnerships for Save Tuba

Two SPECIFIC funding sources for the design phase of our project.

  1. (National Science foundation) – The Environmental Convergence Opportunities fund promotes effective solutions to our most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges. “Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century: Addressing Grand Challenges,” identified five critical challenges we must address as a society,  “Design a future without pollution and waste” being one of them. This fund is relevant to our design phase of the project and they award around 1,500,000-1,700,000 over 4 years.
  2. (UNICEF Innovation Fund) – The UNICEF Innovation (Venture) Fund (‘Fund’) is a pooled funding vehicle that makes up to $100K equity-free investments, providing early stage (seed) finance to for-profit technology start-ups that benefit humanity. This funding source is extremely relevant for the design phase of our project.

Two SPECIFIC funding sources for the dissemination (implementation/distribution/commercialization) phase of our project.

  1. (US Environmental Protection Agency)- “EPA seeks grant applications from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment” ; intended specifically for ventures that are in the dissemination phase. Extremely accessible, in that they give out thousands of grants each year. 
  2. grant disbursed by a non-profit organization that seeks to increase environmental education, awareness, and responsibility across the globe. One particular aim of this grant, “to train students as informed decision makers through the emphasis and application of basic ecological principles,” overlaps particularly well with our venture. 

We don’t have costs attributed to specific aspects of our project, so these grants would generally help us with marketing expenses, as well as providing salaries to the management team. 

Five specific partnerships that you need to forge to advance your project forward with the ultimate goal of positively impacting at least one million people.

The following five partnerships, if secured, will assist the Save Tuba team positively impact at least one million people.

  1. Access via Kazakhstan Ministry of Education.  There are over 5,214,000 students in Kazakhstan under the age of 15.  The target age for our app is for middle school students in the 10-15 age group.  The Ministry of Education is one of our essential partnerships in order to have access to teachers and students in schools throughout Almaty.  A successful partnership with the Ministry of Education with schools in Almaty will open up the door to access to teachers and students throughout their country.  The Ministry is the gatekeeper that we need to enlist in order to be able to positively impact over 1 million people in Kazakhstan.  The Save Tuba app will provide the Ministry of Education a tool they can leverage to assist with their country’s priority to address high pollution rates and low sustainable behaviors by their citizens.  The app will also help teachers deliver sustainable lessons in a more engaging way.
  2. Access via the US Department of Education (DOE).  Similar to the Ministry of Education in Kazakhstan, a partnership with the US Department of Education could provide access to 35.5 million K-8 grade students and/or the 15.3 million 9-12 grade students.  A future strategy for the rollout of the app may include creating the Save Tuba app that is customized for other countries.  Currently, the design/aesthetics and characters of the app is targeted to the people, culture, and needs in Kazakhstan.  Therefore, expanding the implementation in other countries will require redesigning some of the aspects of the app.  The sustainability lessons, however, will be very similar if not identical.  Most importantly to note is that the partnership with US DOE will help us reach well over the goal of having a positive impact on 1 million people.  For the US DOE, they will have another tool to offer teachers all over the US focused on sustainable education.  For teachers, the Save Tuba app will add to their “tool box” of teaching strategies.  For students, the use of technology to learn via a gamified app will be a welcomed change to how they currently learn. 
  3. Ministry of Energy and Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary.  The Save Tuba team needs to work quickly to gain credibility in order to aid with recruiting schools, teachers, and students to not only implement the use of the app in classrooms but also motivate the change in behaviors in the community and their homes.  The ultimate goal of a less polluted Almaty environment is dependent on bringing the lessons learned to life.  The Ministry of Energy and Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary are responsible for monitoring waste disposal sites with satellites to prevent spontaneous dumping in the areas.  A partnership with the two national entities would raise Save Tuba’s credibility and simultaneously aid the organizations deliver on their national policy regarding waste management and transitioning the country to a green economy plans to increase the recycling share to at least 40 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.
  4. Quality user experience via continuous app improvements managed by the PC Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  In order to maintain and grow our customers, the Save Tuba team must ensure a high quality and well maintained product.  Lehigh’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is among the top engineering programs in the US.  They believe that experiential learning helps students apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world, discover their passions through hands-on projects, and make an impact on the world around us.  Lehigh’s new model for engineering parallels Save Tuba’s drive to create an impact – making the partnership a win-win endeavor filled with hands-on learning that yields solutions for real-life challenges.
  5. Staffing via Peace Corps.  The ability to grow the number of people positively impacted by the Save Tuba app is connected to a few critical partnerships that impact access to customers, quality of app design and function, and (equally important) staffing to implement the use of the app throughout large geographic areas to serve over a million people with diverse needs.  The funds needed to cover operational expenses that go above the projected revenue collected via subscription fees creates the need for a strategic partnership that will mitigate the ballooning staffing costs.  Although there are no costs of goods sold related to creating the app, to successfully implement the venture at a scale that aims to positively impact over 1 million people will require significant financial resources.  Recruiting, training and on-going support for teachers using the app requires committed staff (or volunteers).  “The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.”  The Save Tuba venture can offer the Peace Corps members an opportunity to be “changemakers”.  Peace Corps has already demonstrated their interest and ability to “teach teachers to amplify impact” as was done in a project in Liberia where a Peace Corps member trained science teachers on a range of skills from writing lab manuals to helping schools improve their labs, but it all focused on one thing: making science classes more interactive.  The volunteer is quoted in saying that working with the teachers taught him that training teachers can amplify impact.  Save Tuba can offer a similar opportunity for a volunteer to start an echo that resonates over and over again as they help grow Save Tuba throughout communities in Kazakhstan.

Posted May 2, 2021 by Yamil Sanchez in category Weekly Blog

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