The 'Apps for Good' programme, of CDI Portugal - an NGO for social and digital inclusion and innovation - was the winner of the sixth edition of REN's AGIR prize, this year dedicated to promoting academic success and combating school leaving. The programme challenges students to create technological applications for smartphones and tablets, as well as IoT (Internet of Things) products that make a difference and transform the communities in which they live.
In just five years, the initiative, recognised by the Portuguese Directorate General of Education, has already reached 323 schools in Portugal, more than 800 teachers and 9,500 students, with over 1,000 technological solutions developed. According to data from the programme itself, the impact on the involved students' motivation and confidence is clear: 96% show greater motivation to learn, 79% increased confidence levels, and 77% feel more creative.
In 'Apps for Good', students are challenged to use the full potential of new technologies. They work as a team to find social problems linked to their common interests or areas, experiencing the entire product development cycle: from the creation of the idea to the choice of business model and marketing. As an educational and technological programme, the initiative presents as main factors of innovation the introduction in schools of an innovative teaching-learning model, with an innovative way of teaching technology and creating a bridge between schools and the labour market.
'It is a privilege to receive REN's Agir Prize, not only for its relevance in the Social sector in Portugal, but also for representing the recognition of a persistent and innovative work that we do every day in Apps for Good. This prize will not only enable us to continue innovating content and the platform, but also contribute to the improvement and consolidation of impact assessments, which have enabled us to provide relevant data for the evolution of the educational model in our country', said João Baracho, executive director of CDI Portugal.
For Rodrigo Costa, REN's CEO, 'education is crucial to building an inclusive, responsible and sustainable society. This is why promoting success and fighting early school leaving was the theme of this edition. The winners are good examples of projects that create a future, a premise that is the basis of the creation of the AGIR Prize'.
'Escolas de Superpoderes' (Schools of Superpowers) from Porto and 'Pescador de Sonhos' (Fisherman of Dreams) from Albufeira also awarded
The 'Escolas de Superpoderes' programme, promoted by Associação Juvenil Transformers, from Porto, was awarded the second place in this edition, the sixth, of REN's AGIR Prize. The programme incentivises the involvement of people in their communities through their favourite activities. Mentors, on a voluntary basis, give classes of different talents to apprentices who, throughout the year, must identify a social problem and solve it using the activity they received. The initiative has already mobilised more than 3,000 apprentices and 300 volunteer mentors, and is currently implemented in 22 cities in Portugal, showing a 43% reduction in academic underachievement of the students involved.
For Inês Alexandre, CEO of this Association, 'today, after nine years and with an impact assessment that tells us that we have reduced academic underachievement by 44.3%, the will is exactly the same, to rescue these young people using the community's talents. REN's Agir Prize will enable us to reach more young people with the certainty that we will also transform their communities', he added.
The third place in the sixth edition of the AGIR Prize went to the 'Pescador de Sonhos' programme, developed by Associação APEXA, from Ferreiras, Albufeira. This programme, through study support activities and awareness-raising actions, seeks to promote school success, reduce early school leaving and combat risk behaviours.
According to Nuno Neto, APEXA's chairman, 'it is a concern of APEXA that the support of REN's AGIR Prize will enable training and educating society to deal with and view these young people as a part of it, in an assumed Manifesto for Inclusion'.
The Agir Prize award ceremony took place on 11 February 2020, at the REN auditorium, in Ermesinde. The next edition of the Agir Prize will be devoted to the topic of Professional Integration of Vulnerable People.
About the Agir Prize:
The AGIR Prize is part of REN's policy of Community Involvement and Social Innovation. Every year, the AGIR Prize chooses an area of social intervention and awards three projects. The most recent editions were dedicated to the topics of 'Natural Heritage Preservation' (2018), 'Labour Inclusion of People with Disabilities' (2017), 'Fighting Poverty and Social Exclusion' (2016), 'Active Aging' (2015), and 'Job Creation' (2014).
The selection of the three best projects is the responsibility of REN, in partnership with STONE SOUP, which accompanies and monitors the use of the funds donated to each supported project, also evaluating the actual social impact of the awarded support. The winner of the first prize is granted a monetary sum of thirty thousand euros, the second, fifteen thousand euros, and the third, five thousand euros.
Additional information at: https://www.ren.pt/pt-PT/sustentabilidade/premio_agir/