an open knowledge and technologies platform Ecowiki

Training in environmental knowledge and skills, which are in demand on the labor market and will help find work and create green startups

Photo of Tatyana Chestina
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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Tatiana Chestina

Initiative's representative date of birth

08.03.1983

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Russia

Where are you making a difference?

all the regions of Russia

Website or social media url(s)

https://ecowiki.ru/, https://vk.com/ecowiki, https://www.facebook.com/ecowiki.ru/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs6H9LokUrtEFNyRwZYXosw/videos

When was your organisation founded?

2018

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Hybrid
  • social enterpreneurs

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Our team created the project because we saw a growing demand for environmental knowledge, skills, and specialists due to growing environmental problems. People have many questions in the environmental field, but there is no single entry point where you can find answers. Also, more and more companies address our organization to find employees with environmental skills (e.g., sustainability managers, specialists in the recycling industry and other growing environmental sectors). We work as a social enterprise, and we also need qualified people with environmental skills. In Russia, the higher education system does not provide the growing demand of the market and society for people and specialists with such knowledge

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

The environmental situation in Russia is deteriorating, the number and scale of environmental problems are growing. Therefore, there is an increasing need for specialists who are ready to solve these problems in the labor market. Often, such specialists grow out of environmental activists. The problem is that they often lack knowledge, skills, and tools to find jobs for systemic work and the launch of their own startups.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Ecowiki solves the problem of the lack of knowledge and skills for employment in the environmental field using an integrated approach and allowing everyone to gain knowledge, experience, providing tools as well as expert support. Ecowiki is an open knowledge and technologies platform that combines education and practical experience of environmental communities, offers tools to solve environmental problems, as well as a range of services to support project activities. Platform users acquire basic environmental knowledge by participating in flashmobs, webinars with experts and studying articles. Those who are already prepared to involve other people in solving environmental problems gain the experience of activism, implementing projects, using step-by-step instructions and materials. For those who are ready for systemic changes in their communities, Ecowiki offers teaching guides and training. For social entrepreneurs, the portal will provide a range of services for project development. Everyone can get additional knowledge at free MOOCs (on waste management, circular economy, disaster risk management will be launched).

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Ecowiki uniqueness lies in an integrated approach to the development of skills for future employment. The user acquires both theoretical knowledge and practical skills, implementing projects and introducing systemic changes in his communities, receives working tools, becomes a part of the community and has the opportunity to exchange experiences, as well as receives consultations and expert support in the development of his or her own environmental startups.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Ecowiki users gain knowledge through participating in webinars, MOOCs, studying articles, but mostly they gain practical skills through participating in online flash mobs, conducting events, working at systemic changes through interacting with stakeholders, and passing incubating for social entrepreneurs. Also, all skills are developed on a "simple-to-complex" basis - from basic theoretical knowledge to practical planning, management and fundraising skills.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Environmental culture development (indicator - the number of people who participated in flash mobs, webinars, used trainng guides, and completed MOOCs) Implementation of environmental initiatives and projects by platform users (indicator - number of implemented initiatives) The number of environmental startups launched thanks to the virtual business incubator.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

Among the basic meta-skills in different fields, experts note the environmental way of thinking. The Atlas of Emerging Jobs (http://atlas100.ru/en/), created with the support of SKOLKOVO (one of Russian leading think tank institute), describes 100 new professions that will appear and will be in demand after 2020. 15 of them are impossible without the skill of environmental thinking. Now in Russia, there are more and more vacancies in the field of sustainable development, waste management, etc. (both working specialties and middle and senior managers). However, there is no training of specialists. Those who have completed training and practice at the Ecowiki portal (including those who have the experience of successfully implemented projects and certificates for courses) receive priority in employment.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

There are successful cases when Ecowiki participants found jobs in good positions in the field of sustainable development, thanks to the experience of environmental activities in the portfolio, or launched their environmental startups. Such success had even young professionals who had the experience of holding environmental activities during the student years. We receive and analyze user feedback to evaluate such successful cases.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Hint: Consider browsing other innovations on network.changemakers.com as one resource for understanding the marketplace for this project. Today in the world, there are many projects dedicated to environmental education, career, and soft skills. Typically, these projects: ● are narrow-profile (e.g., Capacity Development for Rural Marginalized Community) ● have career guidance like Building Skills for the Global Economy, FUTOPICO ● are paid, e.g., Deloitte ● have area-bounded access. The uniqueness of Ecowiki is that the portal combines all 4 functions: environmental education, career coun

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

In total, 14,709 people are registered at the portal. 10,468 people took part in flashmobs. 7,750 people have watched the webinars. The projects were implemented by 777 people.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The project is being developed in B2B and B2C models. Our team as social entrepreneurs attracts a large number of business partners who order and pay for various educational products (as part of their environmental responsibility, to prepare future specialists in their field, etc.). For example, they are planning to launch the MOOC on waste management and circular economy (funded by Coca-Cola), a course on disaster risk management in various professions. There will be a training course in the field of waste management funded by Danone. A number of paid distance courses and end-user training are also planned.

10. Team

At the moment, the project team has 12 people (4 people full time, 8 people part time): Project coordinators - 3 people PR managers - 2 people SMM specialists - 2 people Online course coordinator - 1 person IT technician - 1 person Designer - 2 people Community manager - 1 person

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact

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Photo of Florence Devouard
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I participated in the past to a rather similar project, called Imagination for people. Just as yours, it was innovative, it was potentially impactful. The weak point was sustainability.
The plateform was mostly fed by hand at first, by the staff, to make sure there were enough entries to make it convincing (info was collected from existing initiatives). But from then on, once people started adding entries... it was often of poor quality and resulted in a lot of hand-work from staff to "filter", "improve", "censor if needed". So staff needed to be significantly numerous and when the plateform would be more famous, it would obviously get more costly.
When it came from finding funds, several approaches were tested and none really successful. I recognise similar potential targets as you mention. But when those types of partners get involved... volunteers are no more willing to help... hence more staff time required. Hence more funding needed. This is an odd cycle.
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