During the Preparatory Seminar, we had the chance to listen listened to the inspiring story of Khalil Radi from Buy Food with Plastic. What started as an idea on the beaches of Nicaragua is now a non-profit organization that enables people worldwide to pay for food with plastic bottles. The concept is easy: locals can bring 10 plastic bottles to a designated location and in return receive a hot meal with a drink. This great idea not only gives out meals to those in need, but they collect the bottles, recycle them, and use the material to make new products to sell to fund the organization. Meanwhile, they are trying to set up a plastic factory in Nicaragua that would help recycle and create new products much faster. To fund this, they are running the “world-changing campaign” with the goal of raising CHF 804’387 by August 4, 2021.
To support Buy Food with Plastic, our delegation was asked to take a look at their website. One of the great aspects of connectUS is that our participants have backgrounds in applied psychology, business students with majors in areas such as digital business, finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing, as well as students from information technology programs. Thus, the students were grouped in their fields of study and were given the task to work out suggestions on how they could support Buy Food with Plastic, in general and increase their chances to reach the goals of the world-changing campaign.
During the presentations of the students, the Buy Food with Plastic team was introduced to basic steps on how to influence mindsets, therefore leading to an improve in loyalty and participation. Also, suggestions on how to improve website structure, layout, and also search engine optimization, as well as ways to expand their reach to other countries were given. Khalil also reached out directly to an information technology student who created a prototype how to better visualize the actual value of a donation. The “bottle value converter” may soon be available on the website.
It was a great opportunity for the students to apply their skills, with the aim to promote Buy Food with Plastic’s crowdfunding initiative. Donations should not be the only way we can contribute to organizations, but we can also share our knowledge and ideas, which are worth just as much.