So we’re going all out in trying to extending our reach, primarily because we are moving into non-profit sponship in a bigger way, supporting grant applications from FKB Make a Difference and the project’s fund raising efforts, and this needs a wide reach. So I’ve just found what looks like an awesome competition sponsored by the world bank, that seems almost tailor-made for us, so here’s hoping! But worst thing is the application is due on thursday…So I am rushing to finish it. Any comments greatly appreciated, here’s the link to the competition details: https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/sdgs-2030-agenda/brief/sdgs-and-her for referene.
The competition is open to micro-businesses that support the UN SDGs so, again our primary model is all about free, inclusive, quality literature and textbooks for K-12 (primary and secondary) which fits right into the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) no 4 of the UN 2030 vision. (The 17 SDGs and an expanded version of SDG 4 are included at the end as a reference).
Here’s the rest of our current application, please do comment if you have anything you’d like to suggest!
QUESTION: How does your business support the SDGs selected? Please provide specific examples that demonstrate your success and impact. (500 words)
Addressing SDGs with Sustainable Business Practices
Free Kids Books (FKB) supports SDG 4.1 and 4.2 with sustainable practices by providing open access to increasing quantities of good quality free education and literacy resources in digital format to all people anywhere – online or offline, through an advertising funded free content model, for pre-primary, primary, and secondary education.
We firmly believe the best way to address eradication of poverty, is to make education available to those who need it. Education leads to improved economic empowerment and income capacity, thus we are addressing SDG 1.
Along with edutainment and education, FKB specifically promotes books that highlight important issues: gender equality; human rights; disability inclusion; health; conservation; are our primary focus. Selecting good books which address these needs and sharing them with a wider audiences specifically impacts on SDG 4.6 and SDG 3.
Specific examples of these can be seen in our categories: Books for a Cause; Conservation; Differences and Diversity;, Health are some examples,smaller sectors are tagged for example: civil rights; gender equality; disabilities; mental health.
Resources and Reach
We currently have a library of approximately 900 resources (including free school textbooks), and more are added daily. Our website reaches around two hundred thousand visitors a month and this is steadily growing.
When good quality, free, teaching and learning resources are available, learning can be undertaken anywhere with much lower budgets. Our resources aim to be comprehensive, inclusive, and even customizable, and to ensure quality by a combination of reputable sources, consultation with experts, and meticulously review of all the material we upload.
Business Model and Philanthropy
Our business model is to provide great free educational content online, funded by advertising revenue. So far the model has been very successful and after paying costs we’ve been able to contribute significant amounts back into further resource creation, and donations to partner education non-profits, eg our “Free Hardcopies” project and establishing FKB Make a Difference. While we rely on advertising for revenue, we ensure that the advertisements do not inconvenience users by following strict policy guidelines.
Employees and Founder
Free Kids Books was founded and is managed by Danielle Bruckert, who saw a gap in the market for free literacy material, and is now running for 10 years, currently with two staff members, one contractor, and several interns at various levels of contribution.
Connections in OER and Literacy
We connect with many literacy non-profits and creative commons content creators, our strongest connections to date are with Storyweaver/Pratham Books in India, BookDash in South Africa, and CK-12 in the United States, all having very similar aims as ours.
Teachers with very little resources are extremely grateful to our site to improve the quality of the education they provide. Many schools, especially in low income areas thank us for bridging the gap. We also appeal to parents of all walks of life, as even with expendable income for buying books, many parents see the amazing value of our free, readily accessible resources in digital formats (reducing waste). Many literacy non-profits also use our resources.
QUESTION: Explain your vision for how your business will help “create the future we want in 2030”
Free Kids Books supports quality free education and the development of good quality free resources available anywhere to anyone via the internet. Primarily supporting SDG#4 we also believe firmly our initiative helps SDG#1, SDG#2, and SDG#3, through providing free easy access to quality education individuals can raise themselves above the poverty levels, reducing hunger, and live healthier lives.
Aims for reaching 2030 SDG goals
Through projection our steady growth to date, we believe will be able to establish the following resources in the next decade all of which will address SDGs for 2030:
Improve user interface and continue to add resources at current progression thus growing the repository exponentially
Increasing content in Free School Textbooks project to address gaps in the OER spectrum
Creation of comprehensive, quality online and free schooling curriculum (for homeschool and classroom use) and teaching resources for K-12
Support of a global curriculum for education (minimum global requirements for K-12)
Directory of all education and literacy non-profits to share and promote their needs
Creation of more literacy and education material which promotes SDGs 4.1, 4.2, and 4.6
Support more non-profits for donation of pre-loaded devices and books
Establishing access of a network of teachers for quality online free schooling
We firmly believe these goals are achievable with our current business model and through non-profits we support.
Internships and Resource Creation
Through infrastructure and financial support to FKB Make a Difference and connections to other organisations, we aim to create more OERs, free online lesson content, and more interactive textbooks, and books. Because resulting OERs are released in creative commons, they can be fed back into the FKB business model and spread our free content further reaching more people. They can also be used by many other literacy websites around the globe, as CC-BY-SA or CC-BY-NC, and sold to further complete our business model.
We engage several volunteers in internships through the FKB Make a Difference project All volunteers are offered full training and support, thus helping increase vocational training. There is no barrier to who can volunteer, so we offer free training and support to people of all education levels who in turn help us grow the project.
What Makes us Different?
Our resources are whole documents addressed to end users aimed at K-12. In spite of extensive research, we have been unable to find global repositories that specifically address comprehensive free literacy material and OERs in this sector for end users. This is supported by our current business success and following. We saw a gap and we believe this gap can be used to reach the 2030 SDGs with a self-sustainable business model.
The success of our model can be demonstrated by our growth and our reach. We believe growth over the next decade can help make this resource bigger, better, and more widespread, thus moving towards the vision of 2030.
<End of application>
Summary of Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Summary of SDG 4 Inclusive and equitable quality education and life long learning oppourtunities for all
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
4.b By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
4.c By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States