Land Life Company and Designathon Works receive funding from Expo 2020 Dubai

Impact grants for two social design start-ups

Published in Climate Action, Learning & Sustainability by

Two Dutch social design start-ups we have been reporting on previously in this blog have been selected for a grant from the Expo Live Innovation Impact Programme by Expo 2020 Dubai. Both Land Life Company, inventor of the innovative planting technique Cocoon, and the design thinking education method Designathon Works are among 29 recipients of Expo Live grants.

Amsterdam-based Land Life Company aims to restore arid and degraded land worldwide by using its innovative ‘Cocoon’ – a low-cost, water efficient and biodegradable tree planting solution being used to reforest areas in Zambia, Cameroon, Peru and Chile.

The Cocoon concept is able to increase the number of trees that successfully grow to maturity, while cutting the use of water needed by 90 per cent or more, without additional assistance. By involving young people in tree planting, it also creates jobs and stimulates economic growth.

Meanwhile, Designathon Works, an educational programme for 7-12 year olds, takes design thinking and applies it to topics like waste, water, and housing. The idea is that children are stimulated to design solutions to big problems, with the aim to create the next generation of changemakers.

Demonstration project

Rebekah Braswell, Director of Land Life Company, said: ‘With the help of Expo Live, we can achieve our goal to build a strong demonstration project in Zambia and then to scale up operations across three countries and achieve greater, global impact.

This reforestation project has a sustainability focus, but with the help of Expo 2020 Dubai we can layer in the education piece in collaboration with UNICEF, critical to creating opportunity for Zambia’s youth, which make up 75 per cent of the Zambian population. In addition, we will create knowledge sharing platforms to be utilised by stakeholders of the project, a virtual workplace for data and learnings to be documented and shared anytime, anyplace. A last goal that Expo 2020 will help us achieve is to move into carbon trading and carbon credits, exposing the local stakeholders to an international market place, increasing their economic mobility.”

Creativity and technology

Emer Bearner, founder and designer of Designathon Works, said: “Children all over the world are concerned about the society they live in and the future of the planet. They want to contribute to bulling a better world. They are eager to be heard and to think about social and environmental issues such as food, waste, mobility, or the future of their own neighbourhood.

‘With our method, children learn to apply their creativity to challenging issues and to develop technical knowledge through prototyping with basic electronics like motors, LED lights and the Micro:Bit.

‘With the support of Expo 2020 we will both expand our annual Global Children’s Designathon event to 15 countries and develop tools so that teachers around the world can deliver the program themselves in their classrooms.’

Top image: the biodegradable Cocoon nurturing pot helps young trees to survive their first year


Young designers with their concept made during a Designathon

Young designers with their concept made during a Designathon

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