Feeding the world one step at a time
Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
November 15, 2017
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Start-Up (first few activities have happened)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
Our changemaker team of five attends Tesla STEM High School, an active learning community that emphasizes the Grand Challenges of Engineering and encourages their students to become involved in making a difference in our community at an early age. We are extremely fortunate to have the privilege of attending such a prestigious high school, with numerous opportunities to excel before we enter college. However, our team also realizes that a significant portion of the world we live in contains people who do not have the simple things we take for granted today, such as clean drinking water, a reliable source of nutrition, and sanitary living conditions. As a team that’s cognizant of these problems, we were determined to make our changemaker project on alleviating one of these global challenges.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
There is a problem with food scarcity in our local communities. We are fortunate to have food that we want to eat available to us but we recognize that not everyone in our community is as fortunate. There is a problem with hunger in the United States in that 48 million people run short of nutritious food annually but when we think of hunger we often think of far off underdeveloped countries but the fact is, it exists in our communities.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We are trying to tackle two problems - the problem of food scarcity in our local communities and the difficulty of donating food in our society today. With the development of Riceometer, we tackle these two problems simultaneously. When our customers begin using Riceometer, they will be passively donating food while they are doing their exercise or workout routine, which implies that there will be more support for the people living in poverty with additional donations via Riceometer. Furthermore, we live in a community where the majority of the citizens have a strong sense of community awareness and have a fervent desire to donate. However, these kind-hearted citizens are not able to because donating food in our community today can be very confusing and difficult. With our project, Riceometer automatically donates food to your local food bank, enabling the donation of food to become simple and intuitive.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Our changemaker project, Riceometer, will rely largely on our partnerships with local gyms, as they are our source of revenue. Therefore, the group that will get involved with Riceometer is the people that are active gym members. Gym members will download our Riceometer mobile application and link their account to the gym they attend. Each time a user enters the gym, he/she will access a QR Code from the Riceometer app and scan it to the local gym for Riceometer to start recording the user’s workout statistics and accumulate RicePoints which you can use to donate food to a local food bank. Additionally, users can gain RicePoints by going for a walk or a jog, and the Riceometer app will automatically track how many steps you take using the built-in pedometer of the Riceometer app.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Most food bank or donation services require participants to actively buy and actively visit a donation station at a local grocery store, library, or another public place. When conducting interviews and feedback on these traditional charity systems, we found that a majority of people said that this was tedious. Through this feedback, we determined that we would want to develop a passive approach for people to donate food through our trustworthy service. We thought that fitness would be a good way because the benefits are twofold; the user becomes healthier and donates food to local communities.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We are still in the development phase of the application so we have not been able to gather any data on how our product has made an impact. However, in the future, we predict that our changemaker project will make a tremendous impact in our society. A significant benefit from using Riceometer is that using this app kills two birds one stone - users will become more motivated to exercise because of the incentive to donate food, meaning that the Riceometer users will become more physically healthy and that people living in poverty will receive more food donations.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
In our near future, we are planning to campaign and advertise to gyms in the greater Seattle area to implement Riceometer at several locations. This will allow us to add an estimated 500 customers if we extend our service to 5 additional gyms. Furthermore, we are currently scripting a video which will serve as an advertising/pitching resource, which we will send out to a number of gyms and athletic centers. We strongly believe that visuals in form of videos are an effective way to recruit investors and customers. Additionally, we have vowed to conduct a multitude of interviews with gyms as potential customers, investors to validate our business model, and potential users who will support us on creating an effective app and system.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
We need two resources to make our dream a reality. The first resource we need is mentorship for programming our app, we are currently getting this from our peers and parents. The second resource that we need is funding, we need this funding in able to support our website and by the electronics we need to make the back end of our app work. The funding will also allow us to make Riceometer check in stands that we can put in gyms to allow Riceometer users to check in with our app.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
We are currently planning to partner with local food banks to ensure that all the rice that is donated through our app goes to making an impact in our community. The community we are surrounded by is extremely conscious of poverty worldwide and is passionate about developing additional food banks and supporting the poor. By combining our changemaker idea of donating food through exercise with the active local food banks in our community, we our fostering change in our society to another level. We are also planning on partnering with local gyms. Gyms are an excellent source of change in our society as it promulgates exercise in a society that is extremely busy and often forgets about the importance of keeping our bodies in good physical shape. As Riceometer starts to grow and spread, Riceometer plans on starting individual chapters across the nation and enabling young leaders to become in charge of each chapter. The process of delegating young people to become leaders across the nation in our changemaker project significantly helps to get young people transition into leaders of our community, and eventually, our world.
How did you hear about this challenge?
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?
Team Riceometer discovered the T-Mobile Challenge through our Engineering 3/STEM Startups teacher, Mrs. Melanie Kong.