2024 Global Learning Challenge


Curious Girls, Women of the Future - Empowering the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Team Leader


Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Força Meninas ( Go Girls)

What is the name of your solution?

Curious Girls, Women of the Future - Empowering the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

"Interactive and immersive STEM exhibition to inspire and equip girls with skills for future careers through storytelling and technology

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Guarulhos, SP, Brasil

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Brazil

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

What specific problem are you solving?

Our initiative is dedicated to tackling the profound gender imbalance within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines, pinpointing and overcoming the nuanced obstacles that hinder girls from engaging in and excelling within these fields. This discrepancy not only affects individual career trajectories but also impedes global innovation by restricting the diversity of viewpoints within STEM arenas. Through comprehensive research by Força Meninas in eleven Brazilian states involving 1,200 students from both public and private educational settings, alongside focus groups with 382 girls from 19 schools, we've gained valuable insights into the specific challenges and motivations that deter female participation in STEM.

Scope of the Challenge: Worldwide, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM professions, occupying only 28% of roles in science and engineering. This issue is particularly pronounced in Brazil, where, despite over 22 million girls aged 10 to 15, merely 1 in 20 express interest in STEM careers—a stark contrast to the 1 in 5 ratio observed among boys, according to PISA 2019 data. Our findings further detail the local landscape, showcasing the motivational divide between girls who excel in STEM and those who do not, signaling a widespread trend of gender-based exclusion from STEM that impacts millions globally.

Identified Barriers:

  • Stereotypes and Societal Expectations: Entrenched stereotypes regarding gender roles significantly deter girls' interest and confidence in STEM fields.
  • Absence of Role Models and Mentorship: A glaring lack of female role models in STEM diminishes girls' aspirations and perceived attainability of such careers.
  • Educational Discrepancies and Biases: Gender biases in educational content and pedagogy alienate girls from STEM, necessitating varied engagement strategies to cater to both high achievers and those facing difficulties.
  • Limited Hands-on Experience: Inequities in access to quality STEM education and resources between educational institutions exacerbate the gender divide.

Our Strategic Response: Leveraging the extensive insights from Força Meninas' research, our strategy is to craft a targeted response that mitigates these barriers through:

  • Revolutionizing Curriculum Design: Merging real-world STEM applications with arts (STEAM) to render learning more tangible and stimulating for girls.
  • Promoting Role Modeling: Establishing connections between girls and local female STEM achievers for inspiration, mentorship, and to expand their realm of possibility.
  • Implementing Tailored Engagement: Crafting distinct programs that address the specific needs and motivations of both high achievers and those struggling in STEM, ensuring comprehensive support and enabling success across the board.
  • Advancing Access and Equity: Striving to equalize the playing field by enhancing access to STEAM education and opportunities, especially for students in public schools.

By confronting the barriers to female engagement in STEM as identified through our research, this project aims to substantially narrow the gender gap in Brazilian STEM fields starting from elementary school, presenting a scalable and adaptable model for globally cultivating a more inclusive and diversified scientific community.

What is your solution?

The "Curious Girls, Women of the Future" expedition is a dynamic, traveling exhibition designed to inspire and educate children and adolescents about the possibilities within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, with a special focus on increasing female representation. This initiative transforms a caravan into an open lab that travels across Brazil, delivering an engaging, hands-on STEAM learning experience directly to young learners.

How It Works:

  • Traveling Exhibition: The caravan, equipped with interactive stations and a thematic theater piece, visits various cities, providing free access to STEAM education. The setup is designed to be an immersive and collaborative museum-like space where learning is facilitated through exploration and interaction.

  • Interactive Stations: These stations use advanced technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) to create engaging learning experiences. They allow participants to dive into the principles of the creative process, innovation, and the application of STEM in everyday life through hands-on activities.

  • Thematic Theater Piece: A key component of the expedition is the play "A Window to the World," which narrates the stories of two girls from different times who use a time machine to explore the realms of science and technology. This theatrical presentation, in conjunction with the interactive stations, promotes socio-emotional learning and the development of critical thinking skills.

  • Educational Content: The program is underpinned by an interdisciplinary STEAM approach, integrating knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. This method is designed to foster collaboration, creativity, and the application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.

  • Mentorship and Role Models: By presenting inspiring stories of women in various areas of science and providing booklets that narrate the lives of prominent women in STEM, the initiative offers powerful role models for participants. This component is crucial for encouraging girls to envision themselves in STEM careers and understand the impact they can make in these fields.

  • Mobile Learning Platforms: Beyond the visit, students and educators can continue learning and creating through our online platform, which offers resources, project ideas, and a community space for collaboration and mentorship.

The "Curious Girls, Women of the Future" expedition is more than just an educational program; it's a movement towards creating a more inclusive and equitable future in STEM professions. By combining interactive technology with creative storytelling and hands-on learning, this initiative aims to spark curiosity, foster engagement, and build a sense of belonging among young learners, especially girls, in the fascinating world of STEM. Through this innovative approach, we aim to empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists, equipping them with the skills and inspiration they need to thrive in the professions of the future.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The "Curious Girls Expedition," is dedicated to serving young learners aged 10 to 15, with a particular emphasis on girls and boys from low income and underserved communities across Brazil. This demographic is crucially underserved in several ways, particularly in access to quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and opportunities to engage with STEAM subjects in an interactive, real life projects and hands-on manner.

The target population:

  • Low income Girls in Middle to High School: Who are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields due to systemic barriers, cultural stereotypes, and a lack of visible female role models in these areas.
  • Students from Underserved Communities: Including those in rural or low-income urban areas where schools may lack the resources, infrastructure, and trained educators necessary to provide a robust STEM education.
  • Learners Without Access to Technology: Many students in Brazil do not have regular access to the internet or modern technology at home or in theirs schools.
  •  Teachers in public schools encounter significant challenges in classroom management and navigating the practical limitations inherent in STEM education. The issue of teachers' qualifications in STEM subjects can adversely affect the quality and outcomes of the learning experience, manifesting in lower grades and a diminished educational journey for students.

Current Challenges:

  • Limited Access to Quality STEM Education: Many schools, particularly in underserved areas, do not have the resources to offer engaging and comprehensive STEM programs, leaving students without the foundational knowledge and skills needed to pursue these fields.
  • Cultural and Gender Stereotypes: Persistent stereotypes discourage girls from engaging in STEM, affecting their confidence and interest in these subjects from a young age.
  • Lack of Exposure and Hands on experience:  Without exposure to STEM professionals and real-world applications of STEM, students have limited understanding of the potential careers and impacts these fields offer.
  • Teachers’ pedagogy and professional development in STEAM education are discussed concerning underdeveloped countries’ contexts.

Solution Impact:

  • Bridging the Educational Gap: By providing mobile, interactive, and engaging STEAM learning experiences, the Curious Girls Expedition directly addresses the lack of access to quality STEM education. It brings state-of-the-art resources and innovative teaching methods directly to students, irrespective of their geographical or socioeconomic status.
  • Challenging Stereotypes: Through the inclusion of Arts in the STEM curriculum and the showcasing of female role models in STEM careers, our program challenges cultural and gender stereotypes, encouraging all students, especially girls, to envision themselves in STEM roles.
  • Inspiring Through Exposure: By offering hands-on experiences with real-world applications of STEAM and connecting students with mentors and role models from diverse backgrounds, the expedition inspires students to pursue STEM education and careers. It opens their eyes to the possibilities and impacts they can have in these fields.
  • Mobile Learning Platforms: Beyond the visit, students can continue learning and creating through our online platform, which offers resources, project ideas, and a community space for collaboration and mentorship.
  • For teachers the open access to the platform allow a regular exchange of experience is of significant help to teaching.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

As the Team Lead of Força Meninas, I bring a deep understanding of the challenges facing girls in accessing STEM education, rooted in my own experiences growing up in Brazil. Our team is comprised of individuals who share similar backgrounds and have strong connections to the communities we serve.

Our approach to designing solutions is guided by extensive engagement with these communities. We prioritize listening to their input, ideas, and agendas to ensure our programs are relevant and impactful. By collaborating closely with local stakeholders, including educators and community leaders, we co-create initiatives that address the specific needs and aspirations of the community.

Our team's diversity enriches our understanding of the challenges faced by girls in STEM, allowing us to design inclusive and culturally sensitive solutions. We are well-positioned to deliver impactful initiatives that empower girls and drive positive change in society.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide the skills that people need to thrive in both their community and a complex world, including social-emotional competencies, problem-solving, and literacy around new technologies such as AI.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities

What is your solution’s stage of development?


Please share details about why you selected the stage above.

The Curious Girls Expedition has undertaken a pivotal journey, successfully delivering STEAM education to more than 37,000 public school students across Brazil in 2022. Set to launch in April 2024, we aim to extend our reach, impacting an additional 40,000 students in 18 cities across 11 states. This initiative is distinguished by its commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion within the domains of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), with a special emphasis on empowering girls and reaching students from underserved communities

Achievements to Date:

  • Mobile STEAM Open Lab Creation: We've designed, equipped, and deployed a mobile lab that transforms conventional learning spaces into interactive STEAM exploration zones. This initiative leverages state-of-the-art technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to create immersive learning experiences.

  • Interactive Learning Sessions: Through our nationwide expedition, we've conducted numerous sessions that engage students in hands-on, creative problem-solving activities, effectively bridging theoretical knowledge with practical applications.

  • Thematic Theater Productions: Our signature theater piece, "A Window to the World," performed in conjunction with the STEAM activities, has been instrumental in illustrating the vibrant history and future possibilities of women in STEM, serving as both educational content and inspiration.

  • Complimentary Lectures and Workshops: A series of free educational events featuring professionals from various STEM fields has provided students with real-world insights into STEM careers, highlighting the critical importance of inclusivity and diversity in these areas.

  • Educational Resource Distribution: Participants have received specially curated booklets and resources, enriching  learning experience beyond the immediate expedition. These materials celebrate achievements of pioneering women in STEM, aiming to inspire continued exploration and curiosity.

  • Mobile Learning Platforms: Beyond the visit, students and can continue learning and creating through our online community, which offers resources, project ideas, and a community space for collaboration and mentorship. 

Impact and Outreach: The Curious Girls Expedition’s approach to inclusivity in STEM education has not only directly benefited thousands of young learners but has also initiated a broader conversation about the necessity of diversity in STEM fields. The positive reception from students, educators, and the wider community has underscored the effectiveness of our initiative in sparking interest in STEM among those who might otherwise have been overlooked by traditional educational systems.

This initiative represents a significant step forward in dismantling barriers to STEM education for girls and underserved populations, laying the groundwork for a more equitable and diverse future in these critical fields. Our accomplishments thus far affirm the potential of innovative educational models like the Curious Girls Expedition and research addressing impact to catalyze lasting change and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.

Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying to MIT Solve because we believe in the power of collaboration to address global challenges. While we have made significant strides with the Curious Girls Expedition, we recognize that there are still barriers preventing us from maximizing our impact as Força Meninas. By joining Solve, we hope to overcome specific challenges we face:

  1. Financial Barriers: While we have received support from corporate sponsors and government incentives, we require additional funding to expand our expedition to more cities and communities.

  2. Technical Challenges: Scaling our expedition involves complex logistics and technical considerations. We seek expertise in areas such as immersive educational experiences and community engagement strategies.

  3. Legal Hurdles: Navigating legal frameworks, regulations, and compliance requirements across multiple cities and states presents challenges. We need support to ensure we operate within the bounds of the law.

  4. Cultural and Market Barriers: Each community we aim to reach has unique cultural dynamics and market conditions. We require assistance in understanding these nuances to tailor our approach effectively.

  5. Impact Measurement: Effectively measuring and evaluating our impact is crucial for refining our strategies and demonstrating the effectiveness of our program. We seek guidance on implementing robust impact measurement frameworks.

By partnering with Solve, we aim to access the resources, expertise, and networks necessary to overcome these barriers and expand the reach and impact of the Curious Girls Expedition and other Força Meninas programs. We look forward to collaborating with Solve and its partners to empower girls and underserved communities through STEAM education around the world.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development)
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Deborah De Mari

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

The Curious Girls Expedition stands out not only for its innovative approach but also for its significant impact on students' short-term engagement in STEM subjects and career choices. Here's how our solution achieves this:

Short-Term Impact on Engagement: Through immersive and interactive experiences, such as VR simulations, hands-on experiments,  and AI tutors in the exhibition students are actively engaged in learning STEM concepts. This active participation leads to higher levels of interest and motivation, resulting in increased engagement both during the expedition and in subsequent classroom activities.

Positive Influence on Career Choices: By showcasing diverse role models and real-world applications of STEM, the expedition broadens students' understanding of STEM careers and their relevance in various industries. This exposure helps students envision themselves pursuing STEM pathways, thus positively influencing their career aspirations and choices.

Addressing Gender Stereotypes: The expedition actively challenges gender stereotypes by highlighting the achievements of women in STEM fields. By showcasing female role models and providing opportunities for girls to engage in STEM activities, the initiative encourages girls to pursue STEM careers, thus breaking down barriers and promoting gender equity in STEM.

Measurable Outcomes: Through pre- and post-visit assessments and follow-up surveys, we track changes in students' attitudes towards STEM and their career aspirations. These data-driven insights enable us to assess the effectiveness of our intervention and make data-informed decisions to continuously improve our program.

Feedback and Iteration: We actively seek feedback from students, educators, and stakeholders to refine and iterate our program. By incorporating feedback and adapting our approach based on observed outcomes, we ensure that the expedition remains relevant, impactful, and responsive to the needs of the target audience.

In summary, the Curious Girls Expedition not only sparks initial interest and engagement in STEM subjects but also influences students' short-term career choices by providing exposure to diverse role models and hands-on learning experiences. The educators with tools to rethink their pedagogy and the governments new ideas to improve the public policies. We want to work with MIT Solve community to make the impact  measurable, data-driven, and instrumental in fostering a more inclusive and equitable future in STEM education and careers in Brazil and around the world.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.


  1. Conduct a traveling exhibition with interactive STEAM learning stations, thematic theater pieces, and free lectures for children aged 10 to 15.
  2. Provide immersive experiences with artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality to engage students in STEM subjects.
  3. Offer hands-on activities and workshops led by female STEM professionals to inspire and empower girls to pursue STEM careers.
  4. Develop a digital platform for continued learning, resource access, and community engagement beyond the exhibition.


  1. Increased participation and engagement of students, especially girls, in STEAM learning activities during the exhibition.
  2. Enhanced understanding and appreciation of STEM subjects through immersive experiences and hands-on activities.
  3. Establishment of a supportive learning community through community learning tools, facilitating knowledge sharing and mentorship.
  4. Empowerment of girls to envision themselves in STEM careers through exposure to female role models and interactive workshops.


  1. Improved confidence and self-efficacy among girls in their ability to excel in STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers.
  2. Increased interest and motivation in STEM education, leading to higher enrollment and retention rates in STEM courses.
  3. Expansion of career aspirations among girls, with a greater willingness to consider and pursue STEM-related career paths.
  4. Reduction of gender disparities in STEM fields, leading to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
  5. Long-term impact on educational attainment, career advancement, and economic empowerment for girls and underserved communities.


  1. Third-party research on the impact of immersive learning experiences on student engagement and learning outcomes.
  2. Process evaluation data indicating increased participation and satisfaction levels among exhibition attendees.
  3. Testimonials and feedback from students, educators, and parents highlighting the positive impact of the expedition on students' attitudes towards STEM.
  4. Longitudinal studies tracking the educational and career trajectories of participants to measure long-term outcomes and impact [ desirable].

What are your impact goals for your solution and how are you measuring your progress towards them?

Impact Goals:

  1. Empower girls to envision themselves as future leaders and innovators in STEM.
  2. Increase participation and engagement of girls in STEM education and careers.
  3. Foster diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, particularly among underserved communities.
  4. Reduce gender disparities in educational attainment and workforce representation in STEM fields.

Progress Measurement:

  1. Participation Rates: Track the number of girls participating in the Curious Girls Expedition and compare it to baseline data to measure increases in participation over time.[ obligatory]
  2. Perception Surveys: Conduct pre- and post-event surveys to measure changes in girls' attitudes, confidence, and interest in STEM subjects and careers. [ obligatory]
  3. Feedback and Testimonials: Collect qualitative feedback from participants, educators, and parents to assess the impact of the program on girls' perceptions of STEM and their aspirations for the future.               [ obligatory]
  4. Partnership and Collaboration: Measure the expansion of partnerships with schools, community organizations, and industry partners to reach more girls and underserved communities with the program. [ obligatory]
  5. Alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Evaluate the program's contribution to specific SDGs related to quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).[ obligatory]

A longitudinal study with a follow-up period of 3-5 years and a sufficiently large sample size, accounting for attrition and ensuring statistical power, would likely provide satisfactory results for evaluating the impact of the program on participants. We aim to collect funds to cover the expenses bellow:

  1. Engagement Levels: Monitor engagement metrics such as attendance, active participation in activities, and duration of interaction to assess the effectiveness of the program in engaging girls in STEM. [desirable]
  2. Longitudinal Studies: Follow up with participants over time to track their educational and career trajectories, including enrollment in STEM courses, pursuit of STEM degrees, and entry into STEM-related careers. [desirable]
  3. Representation in Leadership Roles: Track the number of girls from underserved communities who go on to pursue leadership roles in STEM fields, such as becoming mentors, educators, or professionals. [desirable]

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology powering our solution, the Curious Girls Expedition, encompasses a blend of modern digital tools and innovative educational methodologies designed to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning among young learners. Our approach integrates various technologies to create an engaging and interactive learning environment, ensuring equitable access to quality education for all students.

Key components of our technology include:

  1. Interactive Learning Platforms: We developed educational multimedia  content  and resources to deliver engaging STEAM activities and to enhance their learning experience.

  2. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR): We leverage VR and AR technologies to create immersive learning experiences that allow students to visualize and interact with complex STEM concepts. Through VR simulations and AR applications, students can explore scientific phenomena such as virus getting into a blood cell or the climate changes from espace and develop problem solving and critical thinking skills  with real-world scenarios.

  3. Mobile Learning: Our solution includes access to a mobile learning app that enable students to access educational content anytime, anywhere. These apps provide on-the-go access to lessons, quizzes, and interactive activities, allowing students to continue their learning beyond the classroom and engage with STEM Careers and subjects at their own pace.

  4. Community Engagement Tools: We incorporate community engagement features such as local leaders support, chat spaces, discussion forums to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among girls who participated in the expedition. These tools foster a sense of community and enable teachers to learn from each other, collaborate on projects, and support one another in their STEAM learning journey.

  5. Data Analytics and Insights: We utilize data analytics and insights to track student interest. 

  6. Future upgrade: We aim to continue develop the platform to analise  progress and identify girls learning gaps. By analyzing user data and performance metrics, we can tailor educational content to meet the unique needs and preferences of individual learners, ensuring optimal engagement and learning outcomes.

By leveraging these technologies, the Curious Girls Expedition aims to revolutionize STEAM education, making it more accessible, interactive, and engaging for students from diverse backgrounds. 

Our solution harnesses the power of modern technology to cross the inequality bridge and empower the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers, and leaders, driving positive social impact and contributing to the advancement of the gender equality and education globally.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Behavioral Technology
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

Which, if any, additional countries will you be operating in within the next year?

  • Colombia
Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

Curious Girls Expedition is an initiative of Força Meninas, a social Força Meninas a social impact enterprise that carry out transformative experiences that awaken in girls the importance of expressing their full potential. Our programs develop skills that enable them to make their choices and face current and future challenges in building a more equal society.

Full time Staff: 6

Part-time: 17

Contractors: 15

Volunteers: 65 girls STEAM Leaders

Board : 3 members

How long have you been working on your solution?

We have been working in the solution for 5 years, the first Expedition was launched in 2022. In 2024, the Expedition will impact 40 mil students from vulnerability communities.

Tell us about how you ensure that your team is diverse, minimizes barriers to opportunity for staff, and provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for all team members.

Força Meninas champions inclusion and diversity, fostering a team enriched by varied backgrounds, viewpoints, and abilities. Our commitment to diversity is integral to fulfilling our mission of empowering girls to pioneer a more inclusive future. As of April 2024, our Força Meninas full-time staff composition reflects this commitment: 92% identify as women, and 25% as people of color; a further 25% represent neurodiverse individuals, 25% are young people, and 50% come from low-income families, according to self-reported data. The leadership at Força Meninas is entirely composed of women, underscoring our dedication to modeling the empowerment and leadership we aim to instill in the girls we serve.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our business model for supporting the Curious Girls Expedition involves forging partnerships with major corporations, leveraging government incentives, and engaging in corporate social responsibility initiatives to fund cultural activities, including our STEAM education program. Here's a breakdown of how it operates:

Tax Waivers: The government provides tax waivers to encourage corporate investment in cultural projects like the Curious Girls Expedition. Through these waivers, the government foregoes collecting a designated portion of taxes, redirecting it instead to approved cultural activities overseen by the Ministry of Culture.

Corporate Investment: Companies liable for taxation on their profits can invest in cultural projects, such as our expedition, under the Rouanet Law. This law permits companies to deduct up to 4% of their income tax liability when supporting qualifying cultural initiatives. Investing in our expedition not only fulfills corporate social responsibility commitments but also provides tax benefits, making it an appealing opportunity for corporate philanthropy and community engagement.

By capitalizing on government tax incentives and corporate investment avenues, we secure the financial backing necessary to sustain the Curious Girls Expedition. This model enables us to deliver impactful cultural and educational experiences to students, empower girls and underserved communities, and foster positive social change. Moreover, it facilitates collaboration between government entities, businesses, and civil society organizations, amplifying our collective impact.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable, and what evidence can you provide that this plan has been successful so far?

In 2022, the Curious Girls Expedition was financed through tax deductions facilitated by major corporations like IBM, ArcelorMittal, and Oxiteno, among others.

As of 2024, we have secured funding for the first leg of our itinerary, covering nine cities by corporations: John Deere, Novelis and Vestas.

Additionally, we have already secured 80% of the necessary funding for an additional nine cities on our route. Through continued partnerships with corporations committed to corporate social responsibility and Gender Equality and leveraging government incentives, we aim to fully fund the expedition's expansion to these remaining cities and amplify our impact.

Solution Team

  • DEBORAH DE MARI CEO and Founder, Força Meninas
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