Founder of the US$10-m Global Soap Project in Atlanta and a CNN Hero, Derreck Kayongo, has committed to investing in local social enterprise company EducaTours, as the organisation prepares to launch its crowdfunding programme.
The Global Soap Project recycles partially used and discarded bars of soap from thousands of hotels and redistributes them to disadvantaged populations in 90 countries, where close to two million people die each year due to the lack of proper hygiene.
Kayongo, who is a refugee of Uganda but now resides in the USA, made the announcement during his call for Jamaicans to support the social sector.
He was the keynote speaker at the recent Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) 2nd National Summit held over two days at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Five hundred representatives of Government, social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, private sector, and academia attended.
Kadeem Pet-Grave, co-founder and CEO of EducaTours, explained that the social enterprise is an innovative educational tour company which combines gamification with exploration through field trips to bring classroom lessons to life and engage the students.
EducaTours, which was launched two years ago, works in collaboration with teachers at the various primary and secondary schools to take students on guided field trips. However, Pet-Grave said his company needs capital to develop its own mobile app and create content. Therefore, he will be using Jamaica National Foundation’s iSupport platform to launch a crowdfunding campaign to capitalise the company.
“The funds raised will also allow us to take up pending partnerships with the various heritage sites in Jamaica and enable us to sign on more schools. Our revenue stream and user base would also increase,” he said.
Pet-Grave noted that specially created games are loaded onto tablets which students use to execute activities while travelling to the site. The games also tell stories relevant to the classroom lessons, which bring the subject to life. The stories are written by a team of creative writers relevant to each site visited. In under two years, EducaTours has taken more than 1,200 students on such field trips.
“Statistics show that about 5 to 15 per cent of students will retain lessons taught from a chalkboard, but those who learn by doing usually have a retention of 85 per cent,” the CEO said.
He said the vision of the company is to be the world leader in educational tours using technology and innovation.