Ford College Community Challenge



Launched in: 2014
Application Timing: TBD

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In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to four Enactus student teams are selected to receive a $5,000 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.

2020 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects

Male standing in a green garden with and irrigation sprinkler running

IFCE Iguatu - Federal Institute of Education, Sciences and Technology of Ceara: Fortaleza

Through Project Mudas, Enactus IFCE Iguatu developed three pieces of irrigation equipment to help generate food for families in the rural Salsa community of Brazil who survive on social benefits, usually less than a dollar a day. The first is a micro-sprinkler made from a lollipop stick, nail and wire, costing only 7 cents. The second is a dripper that helps in the planting of crops with slow absorption, made with lollipop stick and wire and only costs 2 cents. Lastly, a humidity sensor saves up to 40% of water waste while being 90% cheaper than others on the market. This irrigation system will empower 80 families by providing job opportunities and generating income. These families will also participate in the Mudas program, where they will receive training in horticulture, team technology and business management. Additionally, a digital inclusion center will be set up in the community, where at least 800 children and teenagers from the district will be trained in basic computer skills and receive tutoring. Over the next year, the Enactus team will offer courses for all of the project beneficiaries. Future plans for the project include creating the Mulsas food processing plant, where all the products that would usually end up as waste during the harvest season will be processed into new goods and sold under an exclusive brand name. The Enactus team also plans to set up a monthly fair where the beneficiaries can sell their products, with the team receiving 20% of the profits to help scale the projects in other locations.

An older women and young female working at a community market featuring cacti and fruits

State University Vale do Acaraú: Sobral

Project Bodega Sustentável was born from the need to create a viable way for farmers in the rural community of Serrote do Piaba to sell their products. Through traveling fairs held in the city of Sobral, Brazil consumers have the opportunity to buy directly from producers, converse with them and learn how the items for sale are made. Through the Ford College Community Challenge, Enactus State University Vale do Acaraú plans to use their project Bodega Sustentável model in other ways, helping more communities to increase their income. The new Carnaúba project stemmed from the need to contain harmful environmental acts observed in the community. It aims to raise environmental awareness and empower families through environmental education on ecologically appropriate practices. The Avati project is a solution that optimizes the use of water resources. The Enactus team will develop three systems that work with water-saving, reuse, and recycling. Lastly, graduate students will have access to higher education opportunities through the SerTec Project and be empowered to use technology to supplement their professional growth.

Illustrated green skull logo with the words cranio verde

UFC - Federal University of Ceará: Fortaleza

The Green Skull project installs evapotranspiration tanks (TEvaps) in communities that lack home sewage treatment. The purpose of these tanks is to substitute rudimentary pits, which pollute the water table and jeopardize the health of the users. The tanks are impermeable, stopping pathogens that could contaminate the water table. Furthermore, coconut shells are used as the filter material, making the manufacturing process cheaper because it replaces gravel. Gravel is an expensive raw material, and its extraction is harmful to the environment. At the end of the wastewater reuse process, ornamental and fruit-bearing plants can be cultivated. The goal of Enactus UFC's project is to sell their technology to private companies, such as public agencies since it proposes a less expensive and more sustainable solution.

A male and female filleting a two liter bottle into thread

UFPA - Federal University of Pará: Belém

The Anamã project aims to stop the flow of plastic waste from the Amazon River to the ocean through low-cost tech and sustainable business solutions. Anamã offers a two-stage solution: first, Enactus UPFA partnered with a local community to train at-risk youth to produce and sell two plastic recycling technologies. The first is a low-cost eco barrier, placed in urban rivers, trapping plastic waste before it reaches the ocean and filtering dangerous chemicals. To complete the cycle, Enactus UFPA created their second product: a custom-designed, low-cost machine to fillet plastic bottles into plastic thread. The thread is three times stronger and 70 times cheaper than current alternatives. It can also be used to create brand-new, sustainable products (as backpacks, textiles, fishing nets, furniture) or sold as raw material to local recycling businesses and industries. From December 2019 to February 2020, the Enactus team conducted market studies, gained insights into the historic problem of river waste in their city, Belém, and began to develop the threading machine. These activities revealed that low-income communities throw waste into or beside urban rivers due to a lack of information and government trash collection services; while local authorities lack access to sustainable technologies that remove trash from rivers. In February 2020, Enactus UPFA perfected the machine design, started the threading process and began training the first group of 20 at-risk youth to start and the installation of the plastic waste recycling factory.