CORD

CORD: Edutaining Robot Building Kits

EgyptEgypt
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

We develop kits and build games to solve the problem of impractical and ineffective science communication, leading to less creativity, shying away from technical studies, and insufficient problem solving skills based on pure consumption, through simplified & edutaining building experience

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

What if people have suffecient understanding of their surroundings and technologies that will guide them to effective living and better perspective of resources
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Low appreciation of science & scientific research leading to less social support encouraging children to pursue a scientific dream. Gap between users & makers of science & technology leading to a consumerism attitude without real understanding & analysis. Lack of Physics’ basics awareness leading to low ability of estimation & efficient problem solving. Lack of home based activities & inexpensive tools to stimulate creativity and crafting skills

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

Science communication company that mixes current social interests with science, through simplifying scientific concepts and providing experiments, products and competitions to engage the society in entertaining activities that help to discover a new way of learning and benefiting from knowledge. we focus on the trainings being embedded in a building or a production experience, that can induce the senses and help learn through subconscious practice rather than studying. Our kits and workshops induce creativity through a making experience for better understanding of scientific phenomena of life resulting a shift of mentalities towards effective living.

Awards

Finalist at the 100 Top Educational Innovations by Telefonica Fundcion,
Impact: How does it Work

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

We aim to be the gate towards understanding science, by providing entertaining and fun solutions for different background and ages. Through our workshops of Robot building and our games for interaction, we show how someone who understands the basics of physics is more capable of better decision making and problem solving. Also, our products promote the usage of widely available products in building robots, hence induce the sense of resourcefulness and creativity as well. With all the handy work required for building a robot, User starts to appreciate the idea of teamwork, and it's even more beneficial when it's done in a family activity manner. It was never hard to convince someone to build a toy, just make the build as entertaining as play

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

Project is divided into 4 practical impact phases; Phase 1 was done from 2007 till 2011, An annual robot building competition for technical students, organized in several Engineering campuses in Egypt. Main aim was to provide an inexpensive way to express practical science and induce creativity through building a simple non-electronic upcycled robot. through these years, more than 2000 beneficiary joined the competition, some joined from non technical backgrounds & high school students Phase 2 started 2013 till now, New program for kids ages 4 to 16. In this phase we focused on widening the variety of toys and focus on delivery. more than 4000 kids joined our workshops building more than 2500 technical toy Phase 3 is about harvesting the data to provide sufficient technical support to aid the user use the kits out of workshop and bring back the contests Phase 4 international scaling

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

At phase 1, one prototype started in one engineering campus, humble marketing was done for it, and the enthusiastic changemakers started approaching us to duplicate the experience in other campuses. I started to mobilize the essential technical data and started communicating them to whomever interested while coaching them a step by step process. Now, we work so that the kits are self sufficient to deliver the knowledge and as well started a simple guide for anyone to organize a robot building contest. After that, we collaborate to conduct upcycling robot contest on an international scale
Sustainability

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

Phase 1 was donations' based, while phase 2 was business based, we focused on the technical social impact while we had to sacrifice the accessibility however; we were sustainable enough. Now, it's going to be a hybrid model, between selling the high end kits and offering special workshops while organizing a sponsored competition with high quality technical support accessible to whomever interested, and work with NGOs to spread technical knowledge

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

Science Communication is a rising topic, due to the decreased interest in technical studies leading to losing potential calipers. LEGO kits in one of the main business players addressing the problem, however; we try to be less expensive, more expandable out of the idealized bricks and with more motor skills through working with whichever materials and innovate ways to combine them. Our main difference in tackling the problem is that our products is expandable and not bound to one design or limited to one environment. it's how we ensure inducing creativity, upcycling mindset and motor skills
Team

Founding Story

2007, I was in Engineering school, just absorbing the idea of student activities, and making a change instead of waiting for it. There's only one robotics contest in Egypt at that time. It's very bureaucratic to join it, with no capacity building offered to the contestants. Being in a community engineering school in Egypt added extra challenge of funding. Few Robots participated, most of which with graduation projects & didn't have to work properly to get grades. I was motivated to find practical engineering as most of my studies were theoretical due to lack of funds. I decided to start a competition based on upcycling and inexpensive practicing of physics fundamentals with aiding sessions

Team

The team is made of 6 full-timers, most of which are working on the operations of the kids project (Science Crafts). 2 Part time Business and marketing people and 20+ part time trainers for the conduction of current workshops in Cairo, Egypt. Three of the full-timers are technical oriented, responsible for the development of new building scenarios to different ages through building. One of them is an Ashoka fellow working in the field of education (Myself), another used to work as a science teacher and finally one who is a mechatronics engineer. One of the full timers studied child psychology and works closely with another full time colleague in training the trainers and studying the feedback on the workshops. finally, a full timer specialized in running the operations and sales. The current team has been working together for almost 3 years now, sharing the current success of the kids program (Science Crafts)
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka Network

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

Founder

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]

Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Currently, I am an Ashoka fellow in the field of education enhancement, been working in the science communication field since 2007. While my main specialization is trying to create the simplest games and activities to deliver science by sensing and relating rather than dry studying, I as well helped in the conduction of several ideation camps in Egypt as part of an entrepreneurial training. Now, I am the founder and partner in CORD, a company for productive Science communication. Also, Co-founder of Science Crafts (a specialized company in kids Science communication). I was featured as a public speaker and science communicator in several events in Egypt and abroad through an international network that was formed over the years. My work as a social entrepreneur, was featured in many international events and networks in different countries in Europe and the Gulf region. I also became an MIT Pan Arab Alumni, a Synergos Fellow and a finalist in Forbs 30 under 30.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

To be frank, this is much more than being mentioned here in one field, however; I confidently can say that I was blessed with an amazing network of mentors, advisors and partners. In Egypt, I have participated in many social entrepreneurship programs, leading to the introduction of an elite and respectful community of investors and entrepreneurship mentors. And through the network of Ashoka and MIT Pan Arab enterprise competition, I was introduced to more of a global perspective. Also, there is CORD Alumni, consisted of the people who once worked or volunteered in CORD since 2007, most of which are now in either technical or business positions now in Egypt and Gulf region.