Planeta Oceano

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Planeta Oceano: Hands-on Marine Education

PeruLima, Peru
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Oceans are our planet’s life-support system, yet they’re exposed to multiple threats influenced by limited environmental awareness. We’re consolidating marine education in Peru through an innovative platform that promotes hands-on and dynamic learning by children, youth and teachers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if game and role play could empower children and youth as marine conservation champions, leading sustainable development in coastal communi
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Oceans are our planet’s life-support system, supplying oxygen, regulating climate, supporting food security and livelihoods globally. However, they’re exposed to pollution, overexploitation and climate change, all influenced by limited environmental awareness. Peru has the world’s most productive marine systems, yet scarcely available marine education threatens sustainable development of its population, in particular >56 000 artisanal fishermen.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We’re consolidating marine education in coastal Peru through an innovative platform that promotes hands-on learning by children, youth and teachers: 1) Our ‘Ocean Explorers’ program teaches children ocean literacy through fun games, dynamics and practical experiments. 2) Our ‘Young Leader’ program fosters role play, empowering youth to develop projects tackling marine conservation challenges in their community. Both are transversally incorporated in classrooms through school commitment, and support regular subject delivery. Both include outdoor experiences, connect schools, and promote knowledge and positive societal values. 3)Teachers are offered training, networking and guidebooks to support implementation and program self-sustainability.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Mrs. Vitalia is a marine educator since 2010. As one of her assignments, her students developed a campaign to reduce endangered sea turtle ornamental use. She shares her experiences in meetings with other marine educators. Here, Mrs. Dios, also shares her ‘Ocean Explorers’ activities: students learn concepts such as ‘extinction’ through ‘musical chairs’, or ‘the food web’ through ‘tag’. They’re now more engaged, are understanding, and refer to this as ‘the best class ever’! After playing at classes, Daniel has implemented recycling at home and Josué is promoting his fishermen father to release bycatch! Similarly, dozens of teachers are currently implementing marine education, guiding active learning and positive change in their communities.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We’ve reached >50 schools, >3,000 students and >300 teachers, effectively strengthening marine education in northern Peru. Surveys reveal teacher and student’s increase in knowledge regarding ocean literacy. ‘Ocean Explorers’ (OE) games have spread awareness to hundreds of children, while facilitating understanding on school subjects. Games have been replicated by others, including Peru’s Ministry of Environment, and >15 companies have hired OE workshops. We’ve empowered >800 youth in >20 youth-lead projects (e.g mangrove reforestation, citizen science, awareness campaigns). These have reinforced school assignments, critical thinking and leadership, indirectly benefitting >10,000 people and resource management. E.g, >400 students have assessed local fisheries, while applying concepts of statistics, social studies and biology. We’re now scaling this success to 3 new coastal communities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 10 years, we expect to scale across coastal Peru through consolidation of new partnerships and growth of our corporate portfolio. Together, we’ll train more teachers, integrate more schools, disseminate OE games and promote more youth projects. Additionally, we’ll incorporate marine topics in the national curricula, and are currently working to introduce a Marine Education Guidebook for teachers and students of all coastal schools, with Peru’s Ministries of Environment and Education. We later hope to replicate our model internationally by sharing our methodology with international partners.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Initially funded through grants, we’re now developing a revenue-generating model to sustain our project and continue benefitting low-income public schools. This includes selling our same environmental education programs as services to medium/high-income private schools, businesses wishing to implement CSR initiatives, and local governments. In addition, sustainability is supported through teacher and student’s voluntary action.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Although Environmental Education programs are increasing worldwide, most are ‘land-based’, frequently overlooking marine education. Marine non-profits develop specific awareness initiatives, but generally don’t ‘institutionalize’ marine education as we do. Our project is unique as it combines active learning with a comprehensive strategy (structuring ocean literacy within all school subjects), multiple stakeholders (students, teachers, fishermen…) and a focus that enables students to learn while IMPACTING communities. We’re also introducing these programs as new services for the market.

Founding Story

As a conservation biologist, Kerstin’s undergraduate research project (2007) revealed a worrying mortality of sea turtles in northern Peru, and instantly engaged >100 young local volunteers. With this experience, she founded Planeta Océano, non-profit empowering communities in marine conservation. While tackling threats to marine environments, Kerstin approached local schools at fishing communities. Surprisingly, teachers admitted that marine education was scarce! She immediately brought them together to develop a plan, founding the ’Marine Educators Network of Peru’ and designing creative programs for children and youth, tailored to the needs of fishing communities.


We have dozens of volunteers, 3 board members and 6 full-time staff: an Educator (coordinates with beneficiaries, implements activities and develops materials), Sustainable Development Coordinator (manages partnerships), Researcher (leads M&E and provides marine science input), Business Manager (implements sustainability plan), Field Assistant and General Manager. As we grow, we expect to hire personnel within each of these areas.
About You
Planeta Océano
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Planeta Océano

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, LI, Lima

Country where this project is creating social impact

, TU

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, Businesses, Customers.


Our work has been recognized by the following:
- WWF International President’s Award (2013)
- Forbes “30 under 30 Social Entrpreneurs” (2013)
- Univision “Top 10 Social entrepreneurs in Latin America” (2013)
- abc* Foundation Award (2013)
- Global Shapers – World Economic Forum (2012)
- Ashoka Fellow (2011)
- Kinship Conservation Fellow (2011).
- National Environmental Citizenship Award from Peru’s Ministry of Environment (2010).
- YouthActionNet Global Fellow, handed by Nobel Peace Laureate Maarti Ahtisaari (2010)

In addition, the Horacio Zeballos Gamez School, member of our ‘Marine Educators' Network has been awarded with the following:
- National Environmental Citizenship Award from Peru’s Ministry of Environment
- Winner of International School Contest on Prevention, Reutilization, Recycling and Disposal of Marine Waste (Permanent Comission for the South Pacific, CPPS)

Primary Target Age Group

3 - 5, 6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Private (tuition-based).

Intervention Focus

Curricular, Extracurricular, Professional Development, Community, Products or Services.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

One size fits all fits none: Students are disengaged and not being prepared for "real life."


We’re in search of students and professionals interested in contributing voluntary time to our programs, online or at field!


We can offer advice to organizations wanting to implement similar programs in other geographical areas.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

We aim to:
- Increase ocean literacy and marine awareness along Peru, increasing knowledge, positive attitudes and values regarding marine conservation in coastal communities.
- Increase children and youth participation in the positive stewardship of marine environments and resources, thus contributing to reduce marine pollution and over-exploitation, and to sustainable development in the country.
- By engaging students in active learning, we hope to contribute in elevating the quality of Peru’s low-ranking educational system (

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

Along central and northern Peru, we offer >6 yearly training workshops to teachers, sharing ‘OE’ games, which they implement at classrooms. We also deliver 4-week ‘OE’ Summer Workshops to self-generate funds. 2 yearly workshops on marine conservation/project management help teachers/students develop environmental projects. Teachers then meet monthly to share ideas and also coordinate joint activities (cleanups, etc.). Continuous guidance and incentives (diplomas, fieldtrips) are given. We invest 20 hours/week and teachers 2 hours/week, additional to class teaching.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

>80% of global fish stocks are exploited or over-exploited (CBD, 2011) and 60% of nature’s environmental systems are being degraded (UNEP, 2004). The ‘classic’ top-down educational approach hasn’t proved effective to prevent growing environmental threats nor other pressing world challenges (food security, poverty alleviation, etc.). Our direct engagement with local teachers has confirmed eagerness to re-invent present educational models. Furthermore, by presenting our model at multiple international events, we’ve eye-witnessed this increased interest globally as well.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Play is the most fundamental way of learning. Since we’re born, and as we develop through infancy, most things we are learn come through play and trial-and-error (learn to walk/talk, discover the world with others or by ourselves). Play allows a genuine and secure space for children to be imaginative, think out of the box, analyze, interact, feel good about themselves and their surroundings, and take action. As youth and adults develop, recurring back to this space is the most effective and natural process for learning. It should thus be a critical component for any learning program.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Funds come from foundations and environmental education CSR services to self-fund our work. We hope these services’ contributions to go from 5% to 25% in 4 years. Funds are mainly allocated to teacher support (35%) and training (30%), children/youth activities (25%) and educational supplies (10%).

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

We educate and empower coastal communities as active protagonists in the conservation of coastal and marine environments. As a non-profit, we achieve this mission by being able to effectively access and connect citizen, private and governmental sectors; and leverage funds through donations and services. This project is an example of how we contribute to our mission, while engaging multiple sectors and financing our work.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

We’d produce 2000 teacher methodology guides(30%), 1000 student toolkits (25%), an online app to connect teachers and monitor impact(15%), and a national event training teachers along Peru (30%). We’d thus scale as we share our model, integrate teachers nationwide and strengthen impact measurement.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Schools directly help us lead this project. Governmental institutions (e.g. Directions of Education, Ministry of Environment) provide endorsement, help us reach more schools, and offer infrastructure (e.g. auditorium) and technical input. Private companies (e.g. Goodyear, BBDO) provide volunteers, funding and pro-bono consulting. International Foundations fund fieldwork and local press provides exposure.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

I have been in contact with Christian Parsons, from the Puentes project. We’re interested in exploring how his physical/digital artifact can be applied to learn about the ocean’s complex systems. Although this idea is at an initial stage, we look forward to implementing this collaboration.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

We envision a scenario where all children and youth across the Peruvian coast have access to marine education, and are able to demonstrate environmental citizenship in their community. Through active learning, students have also increased their learning skills, improving the performance of Peru’s educational system. Trained teachers are integrated in a Marine Educators Network, providing peer-peer support to reinforce marine education.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

Main indicators, assessed yearly, include (i) % increase of knowledge regarding marine issues (e.g. importance of oceans, threats to oceans) in students and teachers, (ii) % increase in perception regarding how frequent marine issues are taught and (iii) increase of environmental youth-lead projects in each community. Additionally, we’re now interested in (iv) evaluating the contribution of our programs to student grades along the academic year.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

1,001 to 10,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

In progress

Other (please specify)

We are currently planning an assessment with the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Pretence/ Socio-Dramatic Play.

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.