Seniors in English Teacher Lynn Mittler’s Global Action Project course convened for a symposium of ideas on Monday. Groups of three to four students tackled a variety of issues by reading non-fiction books and collaborating to find creative solutions to effect meaningful change. Each team worked to research issues and find resources to learn more before building a business plan. Teams of four students also submitted a documentary that outlined the issue and contained interviews with resources. They presented their solutions to a panel that included Ms. Mittler, MICDS Head of School Lisa Lyle, John Sedgwick ’05 of Parkland Group and Charles Mullenger ’06 of Ethos Evacuation Strategies.
The first presentation was by a team called Farmline, which spoke to the lack of connectivity in Africa’s farming system. Their idea was to address food shortage and severe food insecurity in Kenya by connecting farmers digitally to allow for the exchange of food, goods and services with other communities. Then, IDO (Independence, Dignity, Opportunity) took the stage and shared their idea of creating an entrepreneurial system within refugee camps in the Horn of Africa. Their organization would link lenders around the world to refugees while also providing tools and resources for the refugees, promoting a permanent economic opportunity in the midst of instability. The team called APT tackled an issue closer to home: lack of education and underemployment in local communities. Their business would create community centers that provide daycare services, a tutoring system and a training program for companies. Finally, WEGen looked at the issues facing first-generation college students (FGCSs). Their goal is to create a network of resources and buddies that provide support for FGCSs as they face challenges from the application process through transition into college.
Each team carefully lined out the issue before diving into creative solutions. After each presentation, the panel responded with questions that stimulated further conversation. The panel then graded the presentations based on the feasibility of the business plan. Teams were given three measures of feedback:
- Derisk it: The concept is good but not developed enough that funds could be awarded.
- Limited buy-in: The pieces of the enterprise are there, but some still need articulation and clarity.
- Full support: The enterprise is clearly articulated and the impact investing organization has confidence in the entrepreneurs’ ability to execute the plan as described.
Congratulations to the teams for their successful presentations, and thank you to our guest panelists for their time and feedback.
Click here to view each group’s business plan, slide show and film.
Want to read more about global issues? Check out some of these texts:
The Last Hunger Season by Roger Thurow
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Infinite Vision by Pavithra K. Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy
Seam by Tarfia Faizullah