Launched in: 2018
Application Timing: Jan. - March
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to four Enactus student are selected to receive a $5,000 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2019 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
Milenium Technological University: Guadalupe
In parts of Mexico, water does not reach urban households. This is not from a lack of infrastructure, but because there are not enough water resources to meet the needs of people. To help solve this problem, Enactus Tec Milenio Guadalupe created Bawí - a social enterprise that seeks to optimize the use of water by creating different ecological and durable devices. The team investigated which household activities use the most water. By interviewing staff from the State Water Commission, they learned the largest amount of water used in homes comes from showers. An adult uses about 100 liters of water for every five minutes of bathing. This led the team to create the Water Box device, which is installed in the bathroom and optimizes water by saving it for use in other household tasks. While similar products exist, the advantage of Water Box is that the materials are biodegradable, practical, and is moveable to various bathrooms once installed. Water Box was designed for self-repair, that is, that the customer can repair most of the components themselves if needed. The team is committed to the care of water and the environment, as well as the vulnerable population. Therefore, they have created a business plan in which part of the profits helps install the device in homes that cannot afford it.
Milenium Technological University: Puebla
Enactus Tec Milenio Puebla analyzed the needs of their community and found a deep problem - a lack of roads. They found a solution by giving the community the tools to create quality roads while reducing pollution. Using plastic waste as the base, the Enactus team developed a machine that can create eco-friendly blocks of cobblestone. This machine is a viable option for communities because the process isn't complicated and doesn’t require many workers. It’s easy to use and the supplies are easy to obtain. One of the principal characteristics of the semi-automatic machine is that it can produce 192 blocks per eight hours of labor. When optimal production is achieved, it will produce 720 blocks per eight hours. Currently, the Enactus team is making improvements to the prototype, so they can achieve higher production and compete in the marketplace. More than 50% of Mexico’s roads are in poor condition, which attributes to the isolation of communities. Brickster will improve the condition of roads, streets, and avenues, which will result in easier movement between communities. Additionally, the project reduces the amount of plastic in landfills and the environment.
Praiseworthy Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP): Puebla
Knowledge Revolution from the Mill generates social initiative actions aimed at enhancing technological knowledge. Junta Auxiliar Ignacio Romero Vargas is a red-light district for crime and drug use by young people and children, as well as the drug dealers that travel in the area. Enactus BUAP had the idea of creating a space, or Maker Zone, based on the initiative and curiosity of the community members in prototyping, robotics and digital manufacturing. The project seeks to reduce social marginalization and bring technology closer to the people of the community through digital manufacturing workshops. Thanks to the support of the Ford College Community Challenge grant, the Maker Zone leads to innovation, creativity and ingenuity of children, youth, adults and seniors who acquire knowledge and skills through the courses and workshops on the use and management of technological tools. The project has the support of the municipal government, authorities of the Auxiliary Board, the Praiseworthy Autonomous University of Puebla's Innovation and Transmission of Knowledge Director, Enactus BUAP and companies that support social projects.
Technological University of the Mixteca (UTM): Huajuapan de León
In Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, the main source of water for more than 70,000 people was being polluted by the mismanagement of solid waste. Additionally, garbage pickers suffered from social discrimination, worked in unhealthy conditions and suffered exploitation from recycling companies. Thanks to Enactus UTM, in collaboration with the municipal government, their university and the Kanda Solidarity International Organization, the Kuili project created the Integral Solid Waste Treatment Center and brought dignity to the work of garbage pickers by making them recyclers. This year, the project impacted 53 recyclers, who were empowered through trainings on several topics such as micro finances, legal aspects, marketing and human development. These trainings allowed the recyclers to become formal micro-entrepreneurs. As a result of the Ford C3 grant and Enactus UTM's strategic alliances, the personal income of the recyclers increased by 50% in the last year. The project also impacted Huajuapan society. Their empowerment is evident in the way they are taking care of the environment, and how they now see recycling as an option to solve social issues.