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Ribbon HUNDRED 2021
How can you build a community culture of self learning?

Project DEFY: Design Education for Yourself

location_on Bangalore, India
At Project DEFY: Design Education for Yourself, the mission is to change the way people think and ignite individual passions so students can believe in their abilities to educate themselves, others and their communities. With a computer at hand, the community customizes a makerspace that fits their own requirements, called a Nook. At the Nook, all ideas and information are shared and can be further developed by the community, which in turn can find ways to boost their economy. There are no set roles or hierarchy. As such, this creates a pure democracy system, where each learner designs his/her own education, while within a community context and influence.
Abhijit Sinha, Founder & Director of Project DEFY
We do not want education to be merely a transfer of instruction. Education is a much more interesting process of self-discovery and understanding of local and global surroundings.

Abhijit Sinha, Founder & Director of Project DEFY

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

Key figures

Innovation Overview

7 - 62
Age Group
6 434
Children/Users
5
Countries
2014
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
5 296
Views
Updated on November 24th, 2020
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about the innovation

What is Project DEFY?

 

India and other developing nations struggle with high rates of teacher absence and student dropouts in rural schools. Addressing this means finding ways to educate young people without the aid of government officials and teachers.

We also need to explore different learning systems that allow people to learn for themselves - with the internet at our fingertips, it's time to see what we can master.

This becomes all the more important in communities that experience marginalization. Marginalization, in effect, reduces not only the opportunities we may access, but also the confidence in doing so. Choices and the capacity to make choices are both attacked, and hence we see looping cycles of social problems, from child labour to women being denied access to education and work.

Simply presenting more opportunities seems to have a limited effect, when work is not put in to allowing the individuals to build their capacity to understand what they like and the life they’d like to build. These opportunities currently provided become further cycles of limited options, which tend to deplete after a point.

For a community to escape its marginalisation, it needs space and time. It needs some resources to play with and explore. It needs sources for information and people around to support, in an attempt to build their lives together.

At Project DEFY: Design Education for Yourself, the mission is to change the way people think and ignite individual passions so students can believe in their abilities to educate themselves, others and their communities.

With a computer at hand, the community customizes a makerspace that fits their own requirements, and develops its own learning space, called a Nook. Projects can be anything - artistic, technical, or other - to fit each student's own learning interests and experience.

Learners use the internet as their guide book for learning. At the Nook, all ideas and information are shared and can be further developed by the community, which in turn can find ways to boost their economy.

Everyone can learn and contribute, meaning all community members can adopt both the role of the teacher and the learner. There are no set roles or hierarchy. As such, this creates a pure democracy system, where each learner designs his/her own education, while within a community context and influence.

Nooks are not the final educational destination. They play the role of providing the space and time, and some resources to help people to try and understand what interests them and what their needs are. Students build skills they are most passionate about, and pursue knowledge that most interests them. Students try and fail and try again, without fear of judgement. Finally, students develop the confidence they need to make and pursue their choices. In essence, they learn “How to Learn”, and are supported by others doing the same thing.

  

Project DEFY is hacking the system from outside as well as within by partnering with organisations to build self learning spaces within schools and universities too.

Impact 

We are currently impacting more than 6434 learners.

Scalability

So far there are 10 Nooks, 1 Nook Hub and 6 learning spaces inside universities across two continents. Project DEFY already is building new hubs in 1 more country and Nooks with 2 countries in the current fiscal year along with open requests from more countries. Given the cost effectiveness of the Nooks and its extremely low-cost operations at $1000/month, (cheaper than Indian Government Schools), it has the opportunity to scale. On a theoretical cost comparison, there can be about 8-10 times as many Nooks as there are government schools in India, at the same cost and accessing the same number of people.


 

Research

HundrED Academy Review

This project is completely driven by learners curiosity and imagination. The community-focus also strengthens networks. It provides a safe space to explore new, meaningful concepts and projects to truly transform individual learning.

- HundrED Academy Member

Wonderful mission to change the way people think and ignite individual passions so students can believe in their abilities to educate themselves, others and their communities.

- HundrED Academy Member
IMPACT & SCALABILITY
Project DEFY is sparking creativity in underserved communities by creating NOOKS to improve education. A NOOK is a physical space (500-1000 sq ft) with working electricity and water is required. Equipment needed includes: Laptops, Internet and building tools (hammers, arduinos, etc.). With an ideal budget of $500 in the hands of the community of users, this initiative can scale.
Academy review results
Scalability
Impact
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process
Milestones

Achievements & Awards

March 2020
Megha became the Founding member of the Indian Women Social Entreprenuers Founders Network launched by the US State Department
November 2019
Rex Global Karmaveer Chakra Award
June 2019
Transcendence Award-Global Youth Summit
May 2019
2000 views
November 2018
Pre Incubatee- Social Incubator at IIM Bangalore, India
November 2018
HundrED 2019
July 2017
HundrED 2018
June 2017
Innovation added to the HundrED
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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Building partnerships: Prework
Nooks are created when people or organisations belonging to a community reach out to us, interested in creating a Nook in their community.
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02
Community Mapping and Preparation: Month 1
The Host connects Project DEFY with one or two people from the community who are interested in establishing the Nook.
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03
Induction Program: Month 2
In this phase, a DEFY core-member spends an entire month in the community, with the Nook.
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04
Support: Months 3-8
After the Induction, the Project DEFY staff member returns. For the next 6 months, they continuously interact with the Nook virtually, and help its users deal with all the problems that arise.
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05
Advisory and Beyond
Project DEFY commit seven months supporting the community to completely manage the Nook and then take a step back.
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