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CreatiVelo Challenge in India

Reading time: 4 min.
22. Mar 2024
|

With our Indian partner 1gen.io, Youth4Planet started an experiment in Punjab, north of New Delhi, last September, involving students from five universities, inviting them to the “CreatiVelo Challenge”. (The CreatiVelo is a solar tricycle with a video monitor, internet, a sound system, and a storytelling concept for action teams, that was pioneered in Luxembourg.) The call in Punjab built on the Luxembourg experience and was quite specific: form a team of five each by means of the CreatiVelo app (Now EarthBeat app), co-create a meaningful campaign concept with a measurable outcome based on the Sustainable Development Goals, compose and shoot a music video, design a T-shirt – and build a CreatiVelo bike from scrap that you then use for campaigning in the field. Document everything on social media, collect crowdfunding points via the app, and present your outcome in a film. Each team would receive 1000 USD to buy bike parts and get a coach from 1gen with support from their university. The ultimate prize for the winning team was a highly desirable internship at 1gen and a trip to Dubai for COP28.

1gen team with winning students (on the right) at COP28 in Dubai

The response was overwhelming. We were prepared for just a hundred downloads of the app. But more than 7000 in a day overwhelmed the server; eventually, 1gen had more than 26000 in two weeks. The real surprise was the diversity and ingenuity of the over seventy campaign proposals that were published in the app within a week. Engineering students suddenly felt inspired to make songs and create pieces of art to win a place.

Taking the Indian pilot as a model

Two elements turned out to be important: Most teams, who had to operate well beyond their comfort and skill zones, were asking for intensive coaching and encouragement in the beginning. But once up and running, they managed to design and build a bike in about 10 days. Because of the funds, they had to become inventive, e.g., by using parts and developing a cost-effective solution for solar charging, which they shared even with competing teams. The second success factor was the engagement with their peers, who gave each team a lot of support. More than 70,000 interactions were counted in the app. The creativity and engagement were sheerly unbelievable. One team rode their bike 200 km to the house of a famous music star to get attention from the waiting paparazzi for their topic. Eventually, the father of the singer tested the bike, which soon made the CreatiVelo team known in the entire region. The teams basically found all necessary information by themselves or from their social field, sometimes engaging the entire family. The pressing schedule turned out to be a key element because it left no time for doubt, anxiety, or hesitation. There was only going forward.

From “The Climate Action Song”

The self-organized learning worked very well – the students were happy to make mistakes, learn from them, start again, and smile about their achievements. In their films, they documented the clever setup of their teams, e.g., mechanical engineers looking for electronic or communication expertise. All eight teams built a unique bike model and managed to use it for their three-week campaign as a communication and attention device. Their mileage was recorded in the app, as well as the crowdfunding with a QR-code on the bike, resulting in over 3000 micro donations via phone to support their mission for better health, air quality, sustainable behavior. More than 1200 USD were raised that are now being used to plant trees and grow a little forest with support from the CreatiVelos. All teams documented their achievements in a film, which were judged and added up to their overall score. All teams scored similarly well. In a CreatiVelo festival ceremony, all teams received a certificate, a trophy, and sincere praise from the Minister of Education, who promised to make the CreatiVelo challenge a norm in all 1500 universities and colleges in his state.

Grand Final with the Minister of Education

The students received an invitation to a paid internship at 1gen, and one team eventually went to Dubai to present their experience on stage during COP28. On their return, they almost reached the status of media stars. During their internship starting in January 2024, the students (with some of their professors) are now developing a “bike in a box” that can easily be assembled to support taking the CreatiVelo learning model into every corner of the planet. 2024 will become an important step towards this goal. Edmilson Rodrigues, Mayor of the city of Belém, where COP30 is going to be held in Brazil’s Amazon region, has already invited all CreatiVelo bike teams to come to Brazil for this occasion.

Edmilson Rodrigues on the CreatiVelo in Dubai

Will the 400+ million wheel revolutions driven by the CATs, the creative action teams, become the “bubble breaker”, the revolutionary step towards healing the planet? Will it inspire a movement for a sustainable lifestyle and change the mindset of the many? The story has only started to evolve and will be continued soon.

A modified text from Joerg Altekruse

Last Edited: 22. Mar 2024

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