Deberde- : Deberde Schools –Corporate Social and Environmental Comprehensive projects

Bogota, ColombiaBogota, Colombia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Deberde schools: is a comprehensive model of Corporate Social Responsibility project that faces issues of schools in vulnerable areas in Colombia in terms of nutrition, renewable energy, water and waste management and promotes learning in the areas of leadership, environment, science and technology

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

What if every school in the world would be totally sustainable, were places where children can produce their own food, they have energy and water supply from sustainable sources and at the same time they learn how to reply it in their own houses
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In addition to the environmental issues that are affecting the planet, in several schools in the most vulnerable communities of Latin-American and in the whole world can be found issues in term of funding, nutrition, energy and water supply, and waste management. Furthermore there are problems in the academic programs for example the lack of practical activities focused in the environmental care, leadership, science and new technologies.

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

A comprehensive project of Corporate Social Responsibility that through corporate volunteering aims multidimensional improvement plans in schools of vulnerable communities in Colombia through: 1) the implementation of urban gardens 2) the creation of alternative energy systems such as solar trees and handmade Aeolian turbines and 3) water harvesting systems all based on recycled elements. This is managed by students and articulated with their regular academic processes in order to boost learning in environmental care, leadership, science and technology. In this way it is promoted to the students’ new and efficient forms of eating, the use of sustainable energies and the conscious use of natural resources in schools, and in their communities


Due of the relative short term with the initiative, we have not been awarded until now
Impact: How does it Work

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

In a school of a vulnerable community in Bogotá a corporate volunteers group and students guided by Deberde built urban gardens, besides a solar energy system in form of a tree (“solar trees”) and handmade Aeolian turbines in form of flowers (“mills of life”). Both were decorated by the students with recycled material. Further with PET recycled bottles made water harvesting systems to collect rain water (“wall waters”) for gardens irrigation, toilets and cleaning at school. We integrate those activities to the regular academic programs through training on nutrition, urban agriculture, proper use of water and waste. Also practical activities in terms of renewable energies for learning promotion in science, technology and environmental care.

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

In 2 years we have realized 9 “Deberde schools” projects which involved 7 companies and more than 400 corporate volunteers, beneficiating over 2250 students and their families. In each school installed at least one urban garden producing until 700 units of vegetables and fruits every 3 month. With the installations of Aeolian and solar energy systems and LED Light Bulbs, the energy consumption was reduced more than 60%, reflected in the electric bills. Through the water harvesting systems it was possible to collect, depending of the season, until 2000 liters every month. Because for the construction of everything it was used recycled materials, and for gardens it was used organic waste to produce compost, the waste in the schools decreases drastically. Moreover the academic contents for the students have improved their knowledge in environmental care, agriculture, science and technology.

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

We want to expand the project to other regions in Colombia involving more companies, so this model can be replied in more schools, not only in those of vulnerable communities, but also in every institution that wants to adopt this initiatives for the promotions of healthy eating habits, the responsible use of natural resources, the environmental care; moreover the practical knowledge in science and technology. With every project we continuously improve the model in order to have bigger impact in the schools and making it more attractive for companies, institutions and local governments.

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

Deberde as a social business offers the “Deberde schools” projects as Corporate Social responsibility activities, then the corporations offer financial and human resources to do it. Although this model has revenue generation, it is enough for the sustainability of the organization, but it is not for its expansion. For this reasons we are continuously looking for new services and markets and founding possibilities through grants and sponsorship.

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

Deberde is an enterprise with a business model that promotes projects of high environmental and social impact, for corporate social responsibility initiatives of companies in several market sectors, focused in the environmental and social marketing. Our services aim to sensitize companies in environmental and social issues through “comprehensive volunteering” initiatives. These activities are special due to the form how are addressed to the solution of the problems through an environmental, financial, educational focus and the people whom is addressed, for example the children in the schools.

Founding Story

In 2010 Bayer AG opened the contest “Bayer young environmental envoy” to choose the 10 best environmental and social projects in Colombia in order to select two persons to represent Colombia in a global congress in Germany. There, me and the other two co-founders of “Deberde” were selected due to the environmental and social projects in which we were working separately, in this way we have met. In the contest any of us has won. Nevertheless we realized that we were three persons of different professional areas with great potential and a common objective, work for the better world and society. Then we decided to create something that could aim that objective, for this we founded Deberde.


Christian Camilo Verdugo Quevedo: Co-Founder of Deberde. Environmental Corporation in Colombia and current Executive Manager. Industrial Engineer of the Engineer School in Colombia. He is responsible of the develop the growth plan of Deberde, with his expertise in improvement process and systems; he looks for innovative initiatives to carry out in the projects and also the use of new technologies in order to have a better impact in our activities, for example with more efficient renewable energy systems for the installation in the schools. Furthermore Geographic Information Systems, monitoring and analysis in order to take care the trees planted during our projects in vulnerable ecosystems. *----------Linda Marcia Katherine Correa Martinez: Co-Founder of Deberde Environmental Corporation in Colombia and project manager in Deberde. She economist of the Military University of Colombia. She is expert in economic theory, economic systems and sustainable development model. Moreover she manages topics related to the Corporate Responsibilities Projects and the praxis of the Corporate volunteering. She coordinates the activities and the projects when we have “Deberde school projects” or planting days, among others. *----------Daniel Uriel Ventura Cáceres: Co-Founder of Deberde Environmental Corporation in Colombia and corporate communications and marketing manager. Current Business Developer Manager in Deberde. . He is pedagogue and has long experience in the area of the young education, for that reasons he design learning programs and materials with the staff in the schools, in order to articulate with our environmental and volunteering activities to the normal learning program and activities in the classes. With his experience abroad and in the foreign languages he is responsible to find new markets, customers and alliances from others countries, especially in those in which the environmental policies and regulations are most developed. Moreover he is responsible to look for activities and technologies that are used abroad in order to reply in our projects. Also nowadays one his principal tasks is looking for funding in national and international applications and grants We are the co-founders and the board of Deberde. Although we work part-time in the initiative, when it is necessary we work more time in this. Nevertheless there is a group of designers, engineers and others professionals that work full-time in the organization.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Internet brouser and Ashoka website

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

Co-founder, communications and fundraiser

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, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

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

In 2007 I began a social urban agriculture and recycling project in a community of a vulnerable zone of Bogotá. There I was project starter and manager of this social and environmental initiative, which in 2010 was awarded by the Bayer Contest - Bayer Young environmental envoy program – as one of the 10 best environment and green business projects in Colombia with the project “Green roofs based on recycled materials and recycling of water at home as a method to reduce the impact of pollution in big cities”. It was a social and green business project that I carried out with families of vulnerable areas of Bogotá in order to aims urban agriculture and recycling in that communities promoting a solution for basic nutrition needs and a new opportunity channel of social business with a market of organic vegetables and fruits, fostering a sustainable development. With this project I was the representative of the XII international Symposium on Environmental Geotechnology, Energy and Global sustainable technology in Los Angeles C.A.

In 2011 I made part of the selected group of a comprehensive Leadership program. It was an initiative of several companies in Colombia that want to encourage the entrepreneurship in Colombia. There I was sponsored by Bayer.

In the same year 2011 me and other two friends have founded Deberde Environmental and Social Corporation. Project with we are applying for the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards 2015

In 2015 I and other friend from Germany founded A foreign language platform that easies people around the world to access for language classes with high qualified native speaker teachers 24/7 using a own learning method with a program of multiphase of real language immersion, through the use of new technologies.

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

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
We began alone with this initiative and due to our inexperience at the beginning in the topics that we manage in our projects, we have continuously looked for partners, advisors and mentors in order to improve the form how we achieve our activities as a group focused in the objectives that we have. This is because we realize how important is mentorship for the organization of a group and to our maturation as an entrepreneur and our company’s success. For us this kind of guidance and support is priceless.
With each project in which we work, we earn experiences at the early stage almost all through Mistake Proofing we learn in order to improve the things that we do and the impact that our actions have. With the time our strategy was based in alliances with other environmental and social institutions that could help us to strengthen our weakness and improves the topics that we manage.
To find a mentorship is not easy in our case, thus that kind of service in our country is not so developed and a service abroad would not be affordable. In this phase of the projects, the available budged that we have is enough to pay the basic needs and cost of the enterprise. Nevertheless we continuously use the internet, entrepreneurs meeting and start up activities as source guide to improve the ways to reach the objectives of the company.

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