Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Força Meninas( Go Girls)

What is the name of your solution?

Curious Girls, Women of the Future

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

A hybrid-first Edtech supports an offline expedition's approach to inspiring and engaging girls from vulnerability in STEM fields and an online community for lifelong learning, skilling and being a bridge to work opportunities.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Brazil has 22 million girls 6 - 18 years old. It is expected only 63% will finish at High School. OCDE report (2018) has shown Brazilian boys outperformed girls in mathematics by 9 score points. Only 1% of the girls at age 15 perform different results. In our research, we call them High Achievers. 

The OCDE report found no girls in Brazil expect to work in ICT professions. We worked with 54700 thousand girls and have identified the main problems for them:  

Lack of close models 

Low confidence in STEM

 Gender Stereotypes Bias

Absence of hands-on experiences contextualized with their interests.

Força Meninas work since 2017 to change this reality. Last year, we scale for first time  an ambitious pilot, an Expedition to encourage students in STEM areas to public schools of the Southern, Midwest, Northeastern areas of Brazil, called “Curious Girls, Women of the Future”.  We went for 19 cities, in 15 states and impacted more than 37776 students. 

As part of the research we deepest the talks with 1342 students of them, girls from 10 to 18 years from public and private school. Our main question was:

What are the biggest obstacles that prevent girls from participating in STEM fields, and how can we help them reach their potential in these areas? Are the social reality and cultural environment help them get into this careers or stay away from it?

At the start of the research, we  discovered only  a lack number of papers focusing on gender and its impact on school triumph in Latin America. 

Because of this, we started uncovering data in the expedition in public schools of the Southern, Midwest, Northeastern areas of Brazil. At final, we delivered focus groups in public and private schools.

We found out that 44% of girls in Brazil consider mathematics the hardest subject, while only 28% of boys said the same.

The girls indicated the necessity of a teaching method more applicable to reality. As a result, they show an eagerness to learn financial education.

We discovered that 62% of the girls do not know any women that work in STEM. 

The girls we interviewed from both private and public institutions tended to choose similar career paths. The majority of girls in public schools choose to follow careers such as police officers with the intention of protecting and taking care of their family members. A large part of students in private schools show an interest in becoming doctors to help other people. A lot of them also plan on continuing their family businesses. 

Young girls nowadays seem to have limited foresight regarding the future of the job market, the option of STEM careers is still isolated with few educational environments in Brazil. Many young girls are influenced by their families and lack role models in STEM fields. In addition, the prevalence of everyday violence creates a bleak outlook for their future prospects. This condition demonstrates that the horizon of the future in Brazil is not female






What is your solution?

The solution:

A hybrid-first Edtech supports an offline expedition's approach to empowering and inspiring girls in STEM fields and an online community for lifelong learning and being a bridge to work opportunities. The program utilizes online and offline resources to facilitate project-based blended learning for girls in vulnerability in non-formal education environments.

A hybrid approach based on age appropriate approach can provide access to quality STEM education to girls who may not have had the opportunity otherwise and foster an online community that supports the 'young women( role models) learning, growth and connect with future job opportunities.

The Offline Expedition:

Our expedition empowers and inspires young girls to pursue their dreams in STEM through  storytelling, hands-on activities  and mentorship opportunities. 

We target children aged 6 to 13 in public schools and those aged 15 and above to become role models contributing to their communities. Boys and teachers are welcome to embrace the relevance of changing the present to create a brighter future.

One of the main goals of our expedition is to empower girls between the ages of 6 and 13  see themselves in this areas in the future. This age group was chosen because it presents a critical window of opportunity to address unconscious biases before they take root, and to support girls during their transition from childhood to adolescence.

 Girls of today are integral to the success of our future, with estimates indicating that women will make up 50% of the workforce by 2030. Unfortunately, there is a lack of focus and initiatives aimed at this age group, as they are often deemed too young to learn. 

However, we have witnessed firsthand how quickly these young girls can grasp deep concepts related to gender-based violence and gender inequality.

To meet their needs, we have created a safe space for them during our expedition. We start with a play that introduces age-appropriate concepts such as glass ceilings, impostor syndrome, and inspirational women stories. We then follow up with hands on activities that help them develop technology and STEM logical thinking abilities.

Our goal is to create a sustained and meaningful impact in the lives of these young girls, equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to overcome gender-based obstacles and thrive in their future careers.

Every Friday, we showcase a young woman from within the community who is not only an outstanding student, but also possesses a burning passion for STEM and a vision to pursue these fields in the future. 

Online Community

Our aim is to inspire and empower other girls in a journey experience cultivating a community of driven and motivated young women, and supporting them in becoming changemakers who will drive positive change in their local communities.

The young women receives a grant to participate,  join our online community hub to skilling and to connect with girls from her community in a 6 months program.  After the 6 months she is connected with job opportunities from our corporate partners.



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

Gender differences in STEM education, are present at all levels of education. In many parts of the world, the gender gap is to the disadvantage of girls, but in certain contexts and subjects, the gender gap is in their favour. 

Gender differences in STEM education participation are more apparent as soon as subject selection becomes available, usually in upper secondary education, and become worse as the level of education increases. 

The primary objective of our expedition is to empower girls between the ages of 6 and 13 and reduce gender disparities from public schools from vulnerability communities from South to North in Brazil. In the second year, We aim to go 26 states and more than 30 cities, impacting more than 60.000 students. The second is develop local role models as leaders creating a learning community.

The first age group was chosen because it presents a critical window of opportunity to address unconscious biases before they take root, and to support girls during their transition from childhood to adolescence. During this time, girls may experience a decline in self-esteem at a rate three times greater than that of boys.

It is important to recognize that the girls of today are integral to the success of our future, with estimates indicating that women will make up 50% of the workforce by 2030. Unfortunately, there is a lack of focus and initiatives aimed at this age group, as they are often deemed too young to learn. However, we have witnessed firsthand how quickly these young girls can grasp deep concepts related to gender-based violence and gender inequality.

To meet their needs, we have created a safe space for them during our expedition. We start with a play that introduces age-appropriate concepts such as glass ceilings, impostor syndrome, and sexism. We then follow up with workshops that help them develop technology and STEM logical thinking abilities and inspiring talks from young women from their communities as role models.

We believe that it is crucial to maintain ongoing engagement with the participants, which is why we have provided totems where they can answer our research questions and for the girls leaders we support in our online community hub. 

Our goal is to create a sustained and meaningful impact  community in the lives of these girls through experience and connection with young women leaders in their communities.  Equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to overcome gender-based obstacles and the young leaders with experience and support to thrive in their future careers.

"While all children at this age should have equal opportunity to instruction and educational play opportunities, some studies have found differential access to boys’ advantage. Early educational experiences have been found to have a positive effect on students’ choice of mathematics and science courses later as well as their career aspirations"*.

*Lee, J., Moon, S. and Hega, R. L. 2011. Mathematics skills in early childhood: Exploring gender and ethnic patterns. Child Indicators Research, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 353-368. DOI: 10.1007/s12187-010-9088-9.31


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

Our team is uniquely positioned to deliver this solution because we are a group of solely women, including mothers and young adult women who are full committed to work to help girls fight gender equality around the world.

In addition to our experiences, we have conducted extensive research on gender disparities and the factors that contribute to them in Brazil and around the world.

We have also solicited constant input from the girls, ensuring that our solutions are tailored to their needs and responsive to their feedback.

Our initiative was recognized and granted by Global Fund for Women 2022 and 2022 Embassy of Canada in Human Rights.


Deborah De Mari ( Founder CEO)

Founder and CEO Of Força Meninas, has already reached more than 55k girls across Brazil since 2016. As a researcher and a lifelong learner, she has driven attention to the impacts of Gender since childhood on the development of potential and leadership skills in Girls. A pioneer and a reputed speaker, breaking the stigma that STEM careers are not for women. 

Top Voices in Gender Equality by Linkedin Brasil/ 2022

TOP 100 Most Influential in Gender Policy - Apolithical UK /2021
MIT Solve Challenge Finalist/ 2020
 Most Relevant Community Leaders in the World by Facebook /2019

Nataly Foscashes ( Lab Coordinator)

Responsible for the research laboratory of the social impact business Força Meninas. Holds a PhD and a Master's degree in Latin American Studies with a specialization in Anthropology from the University of Salamanca (USAL), as well as a degree in Journalism from the Catholic University Dom Bosco (UCDB).

Thaina Teodoro ( Community manager)

At 19, Thainá Theodoro founded Sem Medo, a sex education platform, inspired by her own experience with gender violence. She's impacted over a thousand people through initiatives like Força Meninas and rehabilitating South African youth from gangster violence. This Fall she will start her studies at the Liberal Arts College, Grinnell.

Gabriela Aires ( Project Manager)

From Bahia She have been creating experiences in the market with digital transformation, products, marketing, project management and teams for 06 years.   World Economic Forum Hub Curator Global Shapers Hub São Paulo.  Graduating in law from Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie June/23.

Barbara Justo ( Partnerships Analyst)

Graduated in Biomedical science at the University of Sorocaba|Universidade de Sorocaba (UNISO).  In 2020, had a National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) scholarship for a Scientific Initiation at the ABC School of Medicine (FMABC).

Board Members:

Rodrigo Silva 

C-Level executive focused on innovation, strategy, startup business and corporate investment.  More than 20 years of experience in inovation and Technology. MIT Sloan School of Management MBA  2010 - 2011

Julia de Faria   

Journalist, postgraduate in neuroscience and behavior. Founder of women's rights NGOs in the country, Think Olga. Alumni of the Women Leaders program of the US Department of State/15.

Gal Barradas

This executive has a strong career in strategic positions spanning over 25 years. They have held Director and Vice President roles at renowned agencies including W/BR, Agenciaclick, and F/Nazca Saatcchi&Saatchi.

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

Help learners acquire key civic skills and knowledge, including how to assess credibility of information, engage across differences, understand one’s own agency, and engage with issues of power, privilege, and injustice.

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

São Paulo, Brazil

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Brazil

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is focused on increased efficiency

How many people does your solution currently serve?

More than 57000 last year.

Why are you applying to Solve?

We aim to join a class of impressive peers that act as a trusted support group, offering inspiration and guidance.

Since we connected with Solve Community  we have reached a powerful network of impact-minded leaders across industries and sectors as a winner we will amplify this connections and perspectives.

Our solution can have a market fit cross geographies and Solve is the right place to access leadership coaching and strategic advice from experts in the Solve and MIT networks to go further with our mission.

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

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • 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?

A hybrid-first Edtech supports an offline expedition's approach to inspiring and engaging girls from vulnerability in STEM fields and an online community for lifelong learning, skilling and being a bridge to work opportunities.

Firstly, our work involves a holistic approach to education 4.0 in a hybrid model. The initiative target girls  from different ages in offline expedition and an online community. Other asset is that it includes boys and teachers too, considering they are important players in changing the societal cultural mindset about girls roles and careers. Our activities are design to inspire and engage the participants in non formal learning with exclusive workshops, booklets, plays and role models talks. 

The goal is to utilize collaborative non formal education to get children and teenagers out of their routine and presenting a world where digital literacy and creative problem-solving are essential skills  to thrive.

We develop a unique methodology that aims to "awareness/engagement, inspiration to act and life experience through real world opportunities" . 

The play explores the life of women scientists, engineers and other STEM professionals through meet in the time space from girls who lived in different decades and is the first step to engage schools and local principals to bring students to participate in the initiative. The project is able to tailor its educational approach to the needs and interests of the audience.

After the play, we invite the students to explore STEM concepts through hands on activities and at the final They have the opportunity to receive a booklet with more stories and participate in talks with high achievers girls from their community to feel inspired as role models and stay trained and prepared to a learning journey with girls for 6 months as mentor and at the final a professional able to engage in job oportunities.

By addressing problems as they arise and working directly with young people with different tools, our initiative has the potential to make a real impact on the lives of those it serves.

It is also noteworthy that the project goes beyond the traditional model of expedition, collecting data to report impact and optimize activities, connecting girls leaders through online community with courses and opportunities from our partners and at final developing launching other products as a documentary on creating a circular economy and spreading in different ways the important of the change this issue . 

This approach is not only more sustainable, but it also fosters a sense of community and collaboration, which are important values for any educational initiative to promote.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Fall 2023/Spring 2024:

1. Expedition in 3 phases: 

1.1. North and Northeastern Regions — Approved by the Government for tax deduction apport;

1.2. South and Southeastern Regions — Approved by the Government or tax deduction apport; 38% already funded. 

1.3. Midwest and Northeastern Regions — In analysis by the Government.

2. 45,000 spectators: 15,000 impacted in each phase (14,400 children and 600 teachers).

3. 16 presentations of the theater play, STEM workshops and 4 role models speaker session in each city (4 per day with 4 days in each town).

4. In each city, there will be 2,400 children impacted (600 children per day, 4 days).

5. Collecting data from the participants to follow the initiatives results and contribute for future initiatives and the improvement of STEM education in general.

Next five years:

1. Minimum of 100,000 impacted (expectation of 225,000 — 45,000 a year);

2. Successfully growing a team of our own legal writers for the Incentive Laws;

3. Achieving 150 towns and all the states around the country (20 a year);

4. Growing our presence in other countries of Latin America;

5. Having set enterprises and partnerships with companies that continuously offer to fund our expedition and other actions to continue the work with publis schools.

6. Find and support more than 10000 girls leaders in Brazil and 2000 in Latin America to find job opportunities in companies partners of the project around the country.

Next Steps until 2028:

- Força Meninas works with an agency in order to have our proposals accepted with Brazil Government. The goals is to have 2 projects approved per year. 

- Develop relations with companies to find sponsor for the Expeditions and also maintain  financial sustainability . 

- Be recognized by international organizations such as United Nations and Unesco through the contributions to 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

 - Develop a HR team to make recruitment effective for growth.

- Find partners in other Latin America countries with the goal to amplify the impacted and attend more girls. This movement will also provide more Data and provide insight that can help develop more knowledge to improve the action around the subject around the world.

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

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Our metrics are:

Girls from 6 to 13 years old

- Number of Girls in elementary school supported by expedition

- Number of Girls in elementary school supported inspired by our girls leaders from high school

- Number of Girls that reported feel more confident in STEM Fields after participate in the initiative.

 - Percentage of girls compared with boys whom declare know women in STEM Fields after activities.

Girls Leaders from 15 to 21 years old

- Number of Girls Leaders in the online community connected in courses to improve skills.

- Number of Girls Leaders engage in associate's or bachelor's degree at a college in STEM Fields

- Number of Girls Leaders in the online community connected with jobs opportunities.

Other metrics:

- Launching anual report with insights and learn about the expedition.

- Proving data for educational field  and present in Conference and Events with the goal to improve education practices about the Subject.

These metrics above are correlated with this SDG goals:

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What is your theory of change?

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Expedition:

Virtual reality( to provide new experiences):

Virtual experience during Expedition

 Data( report launched after the first expedition), research with totens in the expedition:

https://frmeninas.com.br/pesqu...

Online community for girls leaders(  Social Networks and Mobile Application): 

Our online community is hosted in Mighty —a community platform made up of a new kind of innovative no-code “Space” that holds not just chat, but your choice of content, courses, commerce, and community features.

At Mighty, we can design and scale our content, courses, commerce, and community into culture. 


 

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
  • Big Data
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Brazil

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Brazil
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

13

How long have you been working on your solution?

4 years

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

At our expedition, we strongly believe that diversity, equity, and inclusivity are not only important values, but also critical elements for achieving our mission. Our leadership team includes individuals from diverse backgrounds, with different perspectives, experiences, and expertise. We recognize that diversity is a strength that fuels innovation, creativity, and effectiveness.

We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, or ability. Our team’s goals for becoming more diverse, equitable, and inclusive include increasing the representation of underrepresented groups, fostering a culture of belonging and respect, and addressing systemic barriers that prevent equal access and opportunities.

To achieve these goals, we have taken a number of actions, such as actively recruiting and mentoring individuals from underrepresented groups, providing training and resources to our team members on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, conducting regular assessments of our programs and activities to ensure they are inclusive and accessible, and partnering with organizations and communities that share our values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

An example of how we incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusivity into our work is through our mentorship program. We carefully match our participants with role models who share similar backgrounds, interests, and experiences, but also provide opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and learning. We also provide training and resources for our team to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to support the girls from diverse backgrounds and with different needs.

Overall, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential components of our work, and we are committed to continuously improving and advancing these values in everything we do.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Multi sided Business Model:

Big companies ( taxes) -> Government( incentive programs) -> Força Meninas ( Expedition) -> Contact Local Government and provide free  Expedition to Girls From Public Schools -> connect with Local Girls Leaders -> supported and development -> connected with opportunities from Big Companies 


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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?

We are a socially driven for-profit business but our goal is to create a sustainable business that leaves a positive impact on the world. We are for profit as we don't want to rely on funding cycles but we are socially driven as we don't want to measure our success by how much revenue we make or how much expenses we cut but rather by the number of girls we help. We are a startup that has been operating to date by being bootstrapped, with employees working with minimal pay.

The Expedition are profitable but the online community need more support to thrive. Last year, the first expedition was sponsored for big companies such as: ArcelorMittal, IBM and Oxiteno, and was responsible for subside other projects in the Força Meninas.  These players supported the initiative through taxes deduction from Federal Government.






Solution Team

  • DEBORAH DE MARI CEO and Founder, Força Meninas
 
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