Changemaker: Maria Theresa Villatoro
Country of Implementation: El Salvador, Nigeria
Conquer is a social enterprise that strives to raise and educate the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, activists, and explorers in the developing world. Threatening to increase poverty for the first time since 1990, the coronavirus could represent a reversal of a decade in the efforts of achieving the SDGs by 2030. Although the link between education and poverty is complex, our team at Conquer believes that education can be a catalyst to break the cycle of poverty and change the future of families and communities around the world. With the goal of providing underprivileged girls a tech-oriented education focused on vocational skills for employment in STEM fields, we built STEM in a box, incorporating concepts of electricity, robotics, math, and coding that allow girls to complete their national learning curriculum while building robots. Students aged 14 to 18 years work in groups of four thriving in the creativity that arises through peer interaction. This initiative's pilot tests are taking place in El Salvador and Nigeria providing remote quality education to 120 girls who were falling behind in school due to the pandemic. These girls are only a small fraction of the 5,000 girls worldwide that miss out on their education due to COVID-19 imposed measures every two minutes that pass.