Implementing the Use of Technology Centered Bootcamps in Paraguay

Background: Founded in 1985, Fundación Paraguaya (FP) is a self‐sufficient, nonprofit, social enterprise spearheading microfinance and entrepreneurship in Paraguay. FP develops and implements practical, innovative, and sustainable solutions to eliminate poverty, creating decent conditions for all families. The program, Poverty Stoplight, is a new poverty measurement tool and coaching methodology that assists families to self-diagnose their level of multidimensional poverty and develop customized plans to eliminate poverty. This new metric is now being implemented in 24 countries. To learn more, you can watch a video here.

FP hopes to reach 1 million families with their Poverty Stoplight program by 2021. FP has already reached 80,000 families through 261 organizations in 24 countries. In order to scale, FP must digitalize the survey that families take to participate in the program, a project that requires advanced tech skills among FP staff, tech literacy among program participants, and app development to build out the Poverty Stoplight platform.

To implement this, FP works with Penguin Academy, a nonprofit in Paraguay, to help digitize the Poverty Stoplight survey and also to help create a boot camp to grow technology skills in the organization and community and drive employment for skilled workers in Paraguay. The boot camp received 350 applications for its first cohort of 25 students and plans to offer one boot camp per month going forward. FP is the institutional partner, and Penguin Academy is the operative partner.

Project: In May 2019, Fundacion Paraguay, Penguin Academy, and the Team4Tech Twilio team engaged with FP staff, boot camp instructors, boot camp students, and the Asuncion technology community on technology and design workshops. Specifically, the team:

  • Created a prototype that sends Poverty Stoplight results and follow-up notifications to families via Whatsapp and Twilio’s platform to help reach their beneficiaries more effectively.
  • Provided advanced programming workshops to bootcamp mentors, Asuncion’s technology community, and Fundacion Paraguaya’s development team on React and Twilio Quest to build on technology community in Paraguay.
  • Provided marketing and pitch workshops to bootcamp participants, Asuncion’s technology community, and Fundacion Paraguaya’s Poverty Stoplight team that will be incorporated into future bootcamps.
  • Provided human centered design practices and agile methodologies to Cerrito conference participants and Fundacion Paraguaya staff to improve their processes.
  • Helped pilot and fund the first bootcamp with Fundacion Paraguaya’s students who come from low-income communities, which will be scaled in the near future.

Penguin Academy aims to complete 10 boot camps in 2019 for the general public, each with 25 participants. This will result in 250 people advancing their technical skills and will greatly benefit the current technology ecosystem in Asuncion, providing a pool of talent from which Poverty Stoplight can continue to recruit.

Beneficiary Quote:

“The greatest learning was the group work in an orderly manner, I acquired many skills in the management of people and my way of transmitting knowledge. Having learned to develop different didactics that help the students was very rewarding and will definitely be implemented in future occasions.” – Bootcamp mentor

Twilio Team4Tech Fellows Quote:

“I think it was great to spend my time leading a workshop because public speaking is something I find challenging. So as much as I would get anxiety going into each day, it ended up working out and I felt more relaxed by the end of week speaking in front of a group of strangers.” – Colleen Murphy
“I really appreciated the opportunity to do skills-based volunteering, and to do it abroad. Working across cultures can be tricky, and this project in particular had various challenges working across language that I think was really helpful.” – Ricky Holtz