Arka: A territory of equality

Arka: A territory of equality

Bogotá, ColombiaBogotá, Colombia
Year Founded:
2001
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

ARKA’S main goal is to ensure that children and youth have the same opportunities in order for them to enroll in high level education institutions and overcome the poverty trap. To achieve this goal, the beneficiaries and their families are provided with psychological, pedagogical and nutritional aid.

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

What if our idea of justice and meritocracy implied that all children and youth had the same opportunities to construct a successful life project?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The lack of opportunities that lead people from the community of Bosa to fall into a cycle of poverty that is impossible to break. As the inhabitants of Bosa face daily issues such as poverty and exclusion, they rarely develop the crucial skills to compete in the world of education and labor market. The most affected by this situation are children and youth who tend to feel that dreaming in constructing a positive life project is a privilege reserved for those who belong to richer families.

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

ARKA´s mission is to eradicate the poverty trap in the area where it operates. The approach used by the organization is hollistic and multidimensional, working with children and youth in each of their development stages (0-18 years old). Our activities are multidimensional, as they seek to tackle several issues that come with each child development stage. Therefore, our main objectives are: to reduce child malnutrition; to promote healthy lifestyles in the family environment; to actively linking parents in the upbringing and education of their children. Simultaneously, activities also pretend to encourage children and youth to construct a positive life project, using sports and music as main working tools.
Impact: How does it Work

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

* On a monthly basis ARKA works with around 425 people, where mother and kinds between 0 and 18 years are involved. * Arka covers 85% of the nutritional requirements of its beneficiaries * 50% of participants will have a better perception of their environment and community * 30% of participants have a more positive outlook on their future. * 30% of project participants will report feeling better about living in Cazucá. * 70% of participants will express a strong interest in at least one of the project’s activities. * 50% of participants express improved self-esteem

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

- Upscale our coverage in order to benefit 800 people per month - Increase the number of activities that are being offered per week. We would also like to offer a " citizenship and community civil rights" for youth from 15-18 years old. This activity will be focused on training participants in community management processes such as identifying community´s needs, access to justice, restitution of their rights, amongst other educational topics.
Sustainability

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

- To creat a "Support a child" donation program. With this program, people from all around the world will be able to support (per month) a child from our organization. The person will be able to stay in touch with the child and he/she will receive frequent reports of the child´s development. - To open up volunteer programs that will allow us to continue executing our activities without expenses. - To establish partnerships with the private sector.

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

Fundación Unidos is a Mexican organization which main goal is to eradicate poverty in different social and geographical areas (including indigenous communities). On the other side, Red Unidos and Families in Action are 2 Colombia´s national programs which seek to help families that leave under the poverty line. Arka differs from these programs due to the fact that it seeks to work hollisticaly with children and youth in each of their developing stages. Therefore, a beneficiary can start attending Arka´s activities being 0 years old and finish at 18 years old.
Team

Founding Story

When I finished studying, i decided to come back to my home country and work in the social development sphere. I identified the community of Bosa as one with the highest levels of multidimensional poverty and social segregation. Me and my sister, we decided it was time to act. We therefore started to get in touch with the community leaders, explaining them our idea. Initially, we wanted to create a kinder garden in order for; 1) mothers to be able to work and create their own projects 2) assure the children nutritional requirements. As the years passed by, we decided to open up more activities that will increase children and youth capacities to enter higher education. That is why wecreated 10 different activities focused in the children and youth various needs.

Team

Our projects are directed by Maria Eugenia, a perseverant woman that has worked with Arka since its foundation.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Email from Candela

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder and General Director

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We have established the following working partnerships:

- Bakongo organization, which will be giving leadership workshops to some of our beneficiaries.
- Fundación Tiempo de Juego, which is executing the sporting activities in Arka. Life skills and social competences are promoted through these sporting trainings.
- Fundación Exito: Supports our programs related to pregnant women and newborn children. They help Arka with all that has to do with guaranteeing children nutritional requirements
-Universidad Minuto de Dios: students that belong to the Social Work and Pedagogy Courses work as volunteers inside the organization.
- Oriéntame: Gives sexual education workshops to our participants