Contact innovator

Martin Burt
Ribbon HUNDRED 2022
An educational model based on "learning by doing, selling and earning", giving underprivileged young students access to quality education.

Self-sustaining School Model

location_on Paraguay
Fundación Paraguaya's Self-sustaining school model, connects underprivileged young people with quality education. Through this learning experience, students thrive personally and professionally, and open an array of opportunities. The "learning by doing" model allows them to break the circle of poverty by guiding them to become employable, pursue higher education, or start their own business.
Martin Burt, CEO Fundacion Paraguaya
The concept of education that pays for itself means converting high schools into engines of learning and income generation, transforming vulnerable youth into entrepreneurs.

Martin Burt, CEO Fundacion Paraguaya

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
3 000
4 125
Updated on July 15th, 2022
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

In Paraguay, 6 out of 10 children do not finish high school because access to quality education is limited and expensive. The Self-sustaining school model addresses this problem by offering affordable and high-quality secondary school education to low-income, mainly rural communities in Latin America and Africa, serving youth who have few educational opportunities.

How does your innovation work in practice?

The Self-sustaining school model ensures the quality and relevance of the program by giving students the opportunity to learn practical and entrepreneurial skills as they help run the school’s commercially viable, on-campus enterprises. The school curriculum is a hybrid between two official government curriculum programs (Agriculture & Livestock Studies and Rural Tourism & Lodging Studies) and the entrepreneurship education curriculum from Junior Achievement. Students learn to run competitive enterprises—from production to marketing to record keeping—acquiring useful, marketable skills. At the same time, the school ensures that this education is affordable for the students by generating income to cover the costs. The competencies developed empower students to broaden their perception of possibility and improve their quality of life. The model offers a paradigm shift; it’s about changing the approach to alleviating rural poverty by providing innovative educational opportunities.

How has it been spreading?

The Self-Sustaining School model has been promoted in the past through partnerships with businesses, governments and other non-profits. It has been implemented in 18 countries. The Self-Sustaining School Model has been recognized and awarded in several occasions by: Novia Salcedo Award (2016), International Labour Organization and MTV Award for Best Practices in Youth Work (2014), Nestlé Award for Creation of Shared Value for the Self-Sufficient School Program (2012), Ashoka Changemakers Challenge “Driving Economic Opportunities”, Oikocredit Award (2010), Japan Most Innovative Development Project Award (2009), WISE Education Awards of the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) (2009), Templeton Award in the Social Entrepreneurship category (2009), UNESCO and IDB (2009).

If I want to try it, what should I do?

If you want to adopt the model you may contact the innovators or via our website ( We will exchange experiences, develop a business and sustainability plan, and upon a cooperative agreement, we will help you search for grants and provide technical assistance to adapt the model to your own context.


HundrED Academy Review

This innovation is indeed ingenious. I am personally inspired by this innovation. The beauty in it is that it aligns with real life needs of millions of people across the globe, as it allows learners; to break the circle of poverty by guiding them to dream bigger.

- HundrED Academy Member

The impact on these agricultural communities must be tremendous and their children learn real-world skills to improve their families and communities. I notice that Mexico is one of the countries already involved in this program and I definitely see how well that would work here.

- HundrED Academy Member
Self-sustaining Agriculture School Model is providing students with tools and knowledge to succeed in their lives. This hands on and real life experience empowers students. Additionally, this business unit contributes to train the youth and their school to become financially self-sustainable.
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Achievements & Awards

November 2021
HundrED 2022
June 2021
21st Century Skills in Latin America and the Caribbean
May 2020
UNESCO-UNEVOC Global OER Grant Programme
April 2016
Novia Salcedo Prize 2016
September 2015
OIT "Buenas practicas de Empleabilidad juvenil" Award
November 2012
Nestle "Share value award 2012"
September 2011
Ashoka "Change Makers"
January 2010
GDN - Most innovative Development Project 2009
June 2009
Templeton Freedom Award 2009
June 2009
World Innovation summit for Education 2009
September 2008
“World Challenge 2008" Finalist

Spread of the innovation

loading map...