HP launches program to support girls involved in local sustainability efforts

The program is looking for girls aged 13-18 to submit solutions to an environmental issue near where they live.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

HP announced a new program this week centered around supporting female sustainability leaders in solving the most urgent environmental problems. 

In association with MIT's Solv[ED] Youth Challenge platform, the program is open to girls ages 13-18. HP is looking for girls to submit solutions to an environmental issue near where they live, and winners will get access to HP technology packages and up to $50,000 to develop and implement their solutions.

Ten finalists will be chosen at a March 2022 at MIT Solv[ED] and given the opportunity to take part in a Virtual Camp run in coordination with MIT Solve, Lonely Whale, Girl Rising, Female Quotient, and Conservation International.

HP executive Anneliese Olson told ZDNet that women are both more likely to be affected by climate change and less likely to be a part of climate change solutions. 

She noted that UN figures show over 80% of people displaced by climate change are women and girls, while the average representation of women in climate negotiating bodies is less than 30%. 

The program is free to enter, and applications must be written in English. The application deadline is midnight on January 18. 

Olson said they were expecting concepts, prototypes, and fully working models of solutions. The guidelines stress a focus on projects centered around reducing carbon emissions, helping communities build resistance in response to climate changes, creating renewable goods and promoting access to sustainable sources of water and food. 

The submissions will be judged based on the potential impact of the plan, its feasibility and how innovative it is. HP suggested technology-focused solutions or business models to incentivize action. 

Emphasis was also put on solutions that are built with underserved communities in mind as well as scalability. 

"We developed 'Girls Save the World' to empower young women to use their tremendous imagination and energy to help create a more equitable future in sustainability by solving environmental problems and becoming full-fledged climate activists in their communities," Olson said. 

"Through Girls Save the World, we hope to bolster the growing youth climate movement and give girls more opportunities to take part in developing solutions for their communities, so they can help address the climate crisis now. Our commitments to climate action and empowering girls to use technology for good are ongoing -- for now, we're considering Girls Save the World a pilot program."

HP will be providing a $10,000 prize to a Solv[ED] Innovator from the Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge, and the company added that all eligible applicants may be invited to join HP's Girls Save the World program with the chance for additional funding of up to $40,000 and support opportunities. 

HP will also be holding a Girls Save the World Solveathon workshop on November 20th for those interested in participating but in need of help building a submission. 

Chanté Davis, a 17-year-old climate activist and ocean conservation advocate, said she was excited to take part in the program and submit a proposal because of her involvement in the Sunrise Movement and Ocean Heroes. 

"I've seen first hand the impact of climate change and plastic pollution in my community from the effect of Hurricane Katrina when I was a young child in New Orleans to see plastic waste grow over the years. For me, climate and plastic are linked together. They both impact my community through increased pollution and disastrous long-term effects," Davis said. 

"It is important to me that we have more diverse voices included in sustainability conversations! It's something I am passionate about and why I contribute to OH-WAKE and have joined the Girls Save The World initiative."

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