To create a positive and sustainable society for the future we need to find and empower the leaders of tomorrow from every corner of the world.
That’s more easily said than done.
Young people, especially those from underserved communities, face huge obstacles to make the same progress as those from more affluent societies, even just finding and communicating with them is fraught with challenges.
That’s the challenge that Schmidt Futures, in partnership with The Rhodes Trust, is tackling with the launch of Rise.
Rise seeks to identify talented young people, aged 15 to 17, from around the world who show enormous potential and provide them with a lifetime of personalized support —including scholarships, mentorship, career services, and access to funding to develop their ideas — as they work together to serve others.
In the words of Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures, "With the launch of Rise, we hope to identify and empower the next generation of brilliant leaders around the world in a way that has never been done before.”
One of the big challenges is identifying these young people and assessing who has the greatest talent and potential so that they can apply to join the program.
That’s why Rise is harnessing the power of technology to make the application as accessible as possible. The Rise team worked with the non-profit Hello World to develop a mobile application that young people use to apply. They upload short videos and create a long-term project to showcase their passions and skills.
Even though smartphones are accessible in most parts of the world, the Rise team wanted to make sure everyone could access the application.
That’s where Twilio comes in. The Rise team worked with Twilio Consulting Partner Zing to build an application through WhatsApp, so people unable to download the mobile app or living in low-connectivity areas with little access to data could still apply to Rise.
“We needed to make sure that Rise, a program committed to finding otherwise undiscovered talent, would not exclude the very people it’s trying to help,” said Cassie Crockett, Schmidt Futures Head of Strategy. “That’s why we partnered with Zing to create the WhatsApp pathway.”
Zing constructed an end-to-end WhatsApp chatbot application. Applicants answer a series of questions and write short essays, communicating entirely through the WhatsApp platform. As the Rise and Zing teams created the program, they iterated and pivoted frequently, discovering new features to make the chatbot more accessible.
Zing’s CEO Julian Hucker added, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Schmidt Futures team to build the WhatsApp flow. For us, technology offers so much promise, but it’s only truly effective if it’s in everyone’s hands. As a Twilio.org Implementation Partner, it’s great to be working on a program that’s helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Applications for the Rise program are now open for 15-17-year-olds worldwide. Take a look at the website risefortheworld.org and spread the word using the hashtag #RiseForTheWorld