Using tools and processes within the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, SIFI provides younger generations with the opportunity to materialize their ideas through a training and innovation system that encourages creativity, participation and development.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent is the world’s largest humanitarian movement; however, its overly hierarchical and bureaucratic structure has led to a notable decrease in both the number of volunteers and the time spent by each volunteer, especially within younger age groups. Furthermore, the vast majority of projects that are implemented in each community are developed by technicians, where the contribution and experience of both the volunteers and the communities are not taken into account.
These concerns, added to adultcentrism at all levels within the National Society, have resulted in a lack of adequate experimentation spaces to generate proposals for innovative community intervention, hence preventing participation of the volunteers.
Technical details & Operations
SIFI is a combination of tools that stimulates humanitarian work within the Ecuadorian Red Cross. This way of operating ensures that all elements of the system work in sync while allowing sufficient autonomy to obtain results within each one of them. It also provides younger age groups with a more conducive environment for the materialization of their ideas. It is composed of:
BOOTCRE is a space for humanitarian innovation bootcamps or hackathons destined to the acceleration of innovative, viable, low-cost, high-impact, easily replicable and scalable projects. Each solution passes through a mentoring and development stage with experts from the Ecuadorian Red Cross as well as other organizations. These acceleration events last between one and three consecutive days of work.
JUVENTIA is the innovation and social entrepreneurship training academy. In this space, volunteers develop the skills and abilities necessary to guide other young people in the development of their projects.
MERAKI is both a mentoring program and coworking space that stimulates cooperation, creativity, and innovation in the development of social innovation initiatives. Derived from this process and with the need of a digital platform that allows remote mentoring, a form of communication with potential cooperators, and expert advice, Meraki I+D was designed. Meraki I+D is an app that brings together social innovators, academics, businessmen and experts to find solutions to local problems, accessible from anywhere in the world on Android and iOS devices.
HIT: Speak – Inspire – Transform
HIT is a platform that compiles short and inspiring talks regarding the newest projects and experiments carried out by volunteers within the Ecuadorian Red Cross or others who would like to share their positive impact on society. Each HIT addresses a general theme which is discussed and analysed by all participants. The platform seeks to motivate, inspire, connect, and call to action.
ATLAS is a virtual Think Tank where volunteers or other members of the innovation ecosystem participate in discussions regarding social needs in order to exchange and promote different ideas. These meetings are held virtually and have a direct connection with MERAKI I + D.
CATARSIS is a dynamic communication platform that hosts successful innovative experiences and topics of interests while promoting the exchange of ideas and online learning. Catharsis is composed of:
- Catharsis Webinar: dissemination of knowledge
- Catharsis Live: sharing successful innovative community experiences
- Catharsis Podcast: approaching innovation in a creative way
SIFI was designed to be implemented in person. However, the Covid-19 pandemic offered the opportunity to begin the implementation of the system virtually, allowing to promote innovation processes in the Ecuadorian Red Cross nationwide and generate new forms of volunteering.
Deployment & Impact
The implementation of this system has allowed the Ecuadorian Red Cross to initiate a process of inclusion within the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of the region. Thus, SIFI has enabled the development of:
- The creation of suitable environments for young people to develop their ideas and promote more meaningful participation within the Ecuadorian Red Cross.
- A more attractive National Society for younger age groups, thus increasing the time they spend volunteering.
- The development of scalable, low-cost, high-impact projects that respond to humanitarian challenges in an innovative and effective way.
- A project joining public and private entities, universities, National Societies and NGOs, allowing the Ecuadorian Red Cross to position itself as a leading operator of social innovation in the country.
Since its implementation in March 2020, a series of results have been obtained that demonstrate the effectiveness of this initiative and how important it is to invest in structures, processes and infrastructure that promote social innovation. At the moment, the results are the following:
- 82 CATARSIS WEBINARS carried out reaching 6,500 people, including topics such as Mental Health, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Video Games, Environmental Care, Finance, Risk Management, Gender Equality, Medical Simulation, and Arts, among others.
- 7 CATARSIS LIVE carried out reaching 20 thousand people, discussing a variety of successful community experiences and initiatives.
- 2 BOOTCRE hackathons carried out
- BOOTCRE Climate: 15 teams, 13 projects, and 60 Volunteers, with the support of the IFRC, Zamorano University and the Climate Change Reference Center.
- BOOTCRE Edición Emprendimiento, 12 teams, 12 projects, 50 volunteers, with the support of the Ecuadorian Corporation for the Development of Research and Academia, Salesian Polytechnic University, EMPRENDEC, CUTE, BioConfy, JCI, Reference Center for Livelihoods, IFRC, Crisfe Foundation, Vivamus Foundation, 21 Innovation Accelerator of the French Red Cross. This BOOTCRE was Funded by the German Red Cross.
HIT- SPEAK, INSPIRE, TRANSFORM
- 3 transmissions took place with a reach of 10,000 people.
- HIT welcomed speakers from different National Societies and international NGOs.
- First application within the Movement dedicated to the development of social innovation projects in a completely virtual way, with the support of mentors and experts
- Global Innovation Challenge 2019: 22 projects from different national societies were presented to the IFRC General Assembly. 7 semi-finalist projects, 2 finalists, 1 winner : SIFI.
- Global Innovation Challenge 2020: 13 projects were presented, 2 finalists, 1 winning project: SHAMUK (product of BOOTCRE spaces). It will be the first e-waste recycling initiative.
I+D (Investigation + Design)
- Development of ODYSSEY 2030, an environmental education video game. It is currently in the testing stage of its BETA version.
- Creation of a low-cost device for early alert and implementation of EWS (Early Warning Systems) in communities. This project is currently in the development phase.