Impact Highlights from Team4Tech’s Fundacion Paraguaya 2019 Project

 In 2019, Project Summary

Poverty affects every family differently. For over 35 years, the Poverty Stoplight was created as both a metric and a methodology to enable families to assess their levels of poverty, restore their dignity, and carry out personalized strategies to overcome their specific deprivations. With this tool, Fundacion Paraguaya (FP) has reached over 80,000 families in 23 countries and hopes to reach 1 million families by 2021. To implement this, FP additionally works with Penguin Academy to create a program meant to grow technology skills in the organization and community, and drive employment for skilled workers in Paraguay.

Last Spring, Twilio Team4Tech Fellows (employee volunteers) went to Paraguay to improve the quality of the education and expand course offerings provided by the Penguin bootcamps. One year later, the FP and Penguin staff have built upon this foundation to further scale and create more opportunities. They have:

  • Shifted their mindset using the Agile framework and analyzed internal team processes, addressed issues, and tackled challenges with more efficiency. The team no longer wastes time taking care of processes that lead to little impact and are able to focus on their projects that matter most.
  • Expanded their bootcamp offerings to more advanced workshops reaching over 420 additional participants.
  • Leveraged the knowledge gained about Twilio’s technology to include it into their learning platform (peer-based learning management system) tribe.penguin.academy. where they have developed automations to streamline bootcamp visits and make them more accessible.
  • Finalized development of Poverty Spotlight’s WhatsApp functionality and now, have shared it with 20 organizations worldwide. This means that any family who takes a Stoplight survey and has access to a smartphone now has the opportunity to receive their results through Whatsapp. This development gives FP more interaction with their families and the chance to scale even further.

As a result of Twilio‘s sponsorship of the Team4Tech 2019 project and the work of the Twilio Team4Tech Fellows, more Paraguayans are accessing quality technology education and more families are working to overcome their own specific hardships.

One incredible example of this impact is Caring Children. For the annual Cerrito Forum 2019, Twilio volunteers had trained bootcamp participants to pitch their innovative solutions in front of 50-100 international conference attendees. Many participants decided to continue being involved in the tech world. However, the winning group decided to move their innovation even further: Caring Children developed an interactive website game designed for children and youth to discover different types of abuse by identifying incorrect behaviors through an interactive questionnaire. The founders of the Caring Children project continued to pitch their idea at several international tech challenges, winning first place at the Tigo Campus Part 2019 and second place at Kuña Mbaretech 2020. Currently, Caring Children are continuously developing more features to the web demo and their main focus is to incorporate the platform into both private and public educational organizations devoted to fighting child abuse across Paraguay. Kamila Da Ponte, a founding member of Caring Children, shares:

  • “If it wasn’t for the Penguin bootcamp and the training workshops we had with the Twilio T4T volunteers, I don’t know if I was going to be motivated to carry out my projects and to discover my true passion, which is technology. The impact was amazing! It encouraged me to change my career from Economics to Programming. And my team and I are happy that we have this incredible chance to help our society and Paraguay’s educational system. The opportunity we had to work with Twilio and the pitch workshop was and still is an essential tool for our presentations and we still use it every time we want to present Caring Children for big audiences such as in the tech competitions. If it weren’t for these organizations, we might not be doing what we are so proud of.”

Moreover, 2020 has really given FP a tremendous shift: the COVID-19 situation in Paraguay shed a light on the different and multiple realities that unfavored Paraguayan families suffer. Nonetheless, the harsh realities inspired FP to ideate new solutions. One of the solutions FP came up with was inspired by their first Whatsapp product with Twilio. The question was raised: “What if we took it to the next level and tried to reach our micro-finance clients without field visits?” With the implementation of the Twilio Whatsapp Bot, FP was capable of reaching thousands of their clients without needing to physically visit them, decreasing the risk of transmitting disease, and reaching even more clients at a faster pace. As of May, more than 300 clients have taken the Stoplight survey, locally referred to as “Semaforito”  or Little Stoplight. By the end of June 2020, FP anticipates easily reaching over 70,000 micro-finance clients and their families.

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