Dream Networks-Love Plays

Dream Networks-Love Plays: Love plays each and every day

Bristol, United KingdomTanzania
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Cross cultural collaboration between businesses, communities & educational institutions to implement creative play areas that are designed & built by children and youth across a global interactive hub. Specialists provide practical assistance to empower the young to implement sustainable solutions.

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

• the solutions to the worlds sustainability needs were hidden in dreams tucked away in the minds of children across the world and all they needed to materialize their dreams was to be equipped and empowered though an integrated design network
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Long standing deficit in science,engineering & manufacturing technology sectors-shortfall of 80,000 employees in 2014(Semta) Rural communities need to be empowered to own & control enterprises in order to sustain rural development Disadvantaged children unable to achieve the educational standard to complete primary education due to lack of early childhood stimulation, interest &understanding. 42% primary dropout rate-Sub-Saharan Africa(UNESCO)

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

With the support of knowledgeable adults engaged across a global collaborative hub, UK & Tanzanian children and youth are empowered to work together to design and build creative play areas that promote sustainable design in underutilised areas. Stakeholders are able to collaborate while transferring experiences and knowledge with their local and global neighbour. Through practical learning, children gain interest & proficiency in science & maths, develop communication skills & build the confidence required to contribute towards a sustainable society.The play area create a safe & attractive environment where children problem solve & their minds are stimulated & developed as they have fun interact with people & the environment around them.

Awards

None, but the managing director was a finalist for the IET women engineer of the year award 2013.
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 August 2012,I met Esther,a 3 year old girl on a dry,arid empty field in Tanzania,we did not speak the same language but we soon became great friends.Every day she would come to the field & watch as I,a loca English man,young overseas volunteers, teachers & local Maasai, gathered the material around us & constructed. Perhaps curiosity caused her to quickly join us & Esther become my favourite wood sander.After 2 weeks, she began to inspect the now painted colourful structures,trying to determine how they worked, but once she jumped of one short wood stump, she knew their function, they were for play!That’s when I knew creating play areas made a difference to children & communities.That everyone can contribute towards engineering solutions

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

Successfully implemented design, engineering and sustainability workshops for over 30 school children in 2 primary schools.Equipped teachers & children with tools to create 5 workable designs for a Congo themed playground with 7 play areas & a rainwater system. Over 40 professionals & artists volunteered between 4 to over 100 hours each to the community. Play area has been built with mainly locally sourced materials & receives over 40 visitors each day it is opened •Early childhood development through play •Improved retention in science and engineering related subjects •Reduced crime in derelict spaces •Practical & global learning resources to improve learning •Revenue to local material suppliers, equipment providers and manufacturers •Reduced discrimination by breaking down cultural barriers. •Improved wellbeing in workplace •Provision of recreational space for communities

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

Within the 1st 5 years, programme to be adopted across UK schools & at least 3 other countries.To have diversified its play product. To be recognized by institutions as an educational and community development tool. Enable schools to independently foster long-term mutually beneficial partnerships.Within 10 years the programme should be spread across the globe & able to managed autonomously by programme directors in each country.The main function of the core team will be developing the business ethos's and strategy, facilitating the collaboration, marketing & providing guidelines/policies.
Sustainability

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

Running costs financed by: 1) fixed term (minimum 2 years) CSR agreements with businesses &professional networks 2) educational grants allocated to STEM and community development projects. Participating schools will be charged a standard rate, which will be used to create a budget to supplement the running costs budget. Operational costs required to implement the design workshops and built the play areas will be at no direct cost

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

There are 2 visible NGOs creating volunteer led playgrounds. One NGO is not in Tanzania but another one of the 54 African countries and is working with adult volunteers and the local community to build playgrounds.The 2nd NGO mainly provides a wide range of designs and guidelines on a website to support communities across the globe to build play areas.Neither NGO works with children to create innovate play areas showcasing sustainability.Nor do businesses appear to play an active role in the development. I hope interact with NGOs to discuss best practices in building play areas internationally
Team

Founding Story

Three years ago, I decided to co-lead a community development project in Tanzania. My co-lead, asked the poor rural community, what the greatest need they would like to use my engineering skills to address and their answer was to build a playground.During three weeks, we designed and built an adventure playground with members of the local community and overseas volunteers.The response was exceptional, people throughout the community communed at the playground and the children, now had play activities that encouraged creativity and the development of their motor skills, communication and team working skills. Volunteers were also able to engage with the local community & share experiences.

Team

The Managing Director (MD) is a senior chartered engineer with over 7 years experience in high technology industries. She has master in engineering and also an MsC in social responsibility and sustainability. She works part time as an engineer and part time as MD of Dream networks. She has significant experience as volunteer working with people from disadvantaged backgrounds, this includes youth and children. She has worked with numerous primary and secondary schools to deliver interactive and technology based workshops such as the bloodhound project and water for the world. She has worked with the BBC (UK) as a presenter for 2 videos which demonstrate how children can use STEM to create solutions to practical problems. Dream Networks has a collaboration and community based developmental ethos. Consequently it aims to partner with organisations where specific expertise is required such as STEM for school liaison purpose , in order to maximise the potential of the programme.The programme will be locally lead with agreed roles and responsibilities with the schools and communities. I plan to employ a part-time intern next year who will focus on the marketing of dream networks and also partner with a overseas volunteering organisation. As the programme expands the core team will employ 3-4 people who will carry out the following roles; managing director, marketing manager, educational officer, technical lead and placement manager. The core team will provide technical and practical assistance. Dream Networks will operate as a Community Interest Company.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Email

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

Founder and Managing 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, Clean Water and Sanitation, 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.

I founded the Atkins aerospace business the Corporate Social Responsibility business and strategy, that has been implemented across international Aerospace offices. I fulfilled this function while working full time as an engineer. I was responsible for:
-Managing and delegating responsibilities to 7 office coordinators based 5 offices in UK, Europe, India & US.
-Providing tools to enable the coordinators to successfully integrate CSR activities in their offices.
-Organising fundraising events and launching new initiatives with the community and charity sectors.
-Managing CSR business model and CARES business budget.
-Building strong networks and working relationships with external businesses in the private and public sector.
-Managing the marketing and communication such as website and video publications
-Setting yearly business objectives, forecasting spend and presenting progress to board of directors
In my engineering career-I have invented and developed a novel tool to address a fuel systems failure hazard. The tool has been prototyped and tested for use on aircraft. I have a UK and Europe patent pending for the tool

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

Partners:
STEM Net UK- Science, Technology,Engineering, Mathematics Network that support school liaison and volunteers
Graphic Science in developing teaching aids
Tanzanian schools such as Baraa primary school
Bristol and Clevedon based primary and secondary schools
UK businesses and professional networks
Advisors and Mentors:
School of Social Enterprise-Dream Networks is on their start up scheme