The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2012, November 17-18

Pangea Educational Development

Pangea Educational Development, or PED, is an organization that strives to continue educational opportunities for students in Uganda. We do this by implementing micro-finance projects at these schools. Our philosophy is that a school is not just another institution within a community, it is the community. For schools, especially in Uganda, schools are focal points in the community. And with this, we don't exist because we want to just give people things, like money. We exist because we want to work with people to better their communities. Armed with passion for education, our co-founders saw the best way to serve people is with education. Providing educational opportunities for people in Uganda is something we believe in because with education, anything is possible. Education is the mechanism for personal empowerment and communal growth. So with this, our purpose is not to just build schools or projects, but to WORK WITH community members, students, and teachers to build these projects next to them. The schools we work with are not our's; the schools we work with are theirs.

There's a difference between charity and justice. Charity gives someone something that belongs to you; justice delivers someone something that belongs to them. Education is a human right, and it belongs to everyone -- this is what we work toward. We're here to help institutions become the focal point in people's lives and communities.

We're all a part of a bigger story. And we're here to make sure everyone has an opportunity to use education to further their part in it.

What new functionality we are looking for

Our current website's functionality is solely informational. There's not really a lot of interaction. Although there are avenues for media, we would like media integration and blog integration within our website. Also, for our schools in Uganda, we would like to have an interactive map, where we could list locations of schools and when you click on these schools, there would be a window that that shows media tracks for respective schools, as well as the implemented projects. Maybe even an option to list the amount of money donated to that particular school. Not only that, but for volunteer or intern applications, we would like to keep the option of applying on our website. We're thinking of a merchandise store, but this is still in the works as we don't have as much merchandise to sell. Yet.

Overall, our website is from a template and although it is good for a temporary one, as we grow, we would like our website to reflect our professionalism. And having sent 45 volunteers this summer to Uganda over the course of this past summer, we are quickly learning that we are outgrowing our current website.

How the new functionality will help

For growth, there must be grounds for interactions and ways to keep people connected. Our website captures the attention of people, but it lacks in keeping our network connected. Our CIO has worked and learned much from organizational developers from AIGA, and his framework for our website is influenced from Design for Good:

(1) Strategy: We believe our organization is unique. It has risen the idea of volunteerism to another standard, and thus, our website should correctly brand our organization's personality and mission. We are innovative thinkers and proactive volunteers, and we want to use our website for grounds of communication with our mission, purpose, and brand.

(2) Social Engagement: We want our website to bring empathy and creativity to educational challenges that these communities face while at the same time looking good.

(3) Quality: Our website will help us fulfill our mission by providing a canvas for our professionalism and tone of our organization. We are rooted in relationships, and we want to make sure our website is inviting to strangers as it is to our friends and partners.

(4) Transparency: One of our BIGGEST concerns as an organization is being transparent. Our co-founders have worked with organizations that are not transparent, and our co-founders have made sure our organization's transparency is one of our top priorities. A new website will help us achieve this by implementing billing options, receipt options for donations, audit files implemented on our website, etc. Not only that, but a website should not raise questions of an organization's integrity. We want our website to be used as a way to show how transparent we are and what our mission is.

(5) Sustainability: You know us pretty well. We're all about sustainability. And as much as we care for sustainability externally in terms of our partner schools, we also need to be sustainable internally. In order to serve our constituents to our fullest extent, we need to be sustainable ourselves. And our website should be a welcoming experience for people to watch different experiences from volunteers, testimonials, and giving simple donations.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

20 Messages from Supporters

2012-10-16 02:51:02 UTC

I have known the PED family and become a part of them for several months now. I was wholeheartedly embraced from the minute I met them. Not only do they foster an environment that encourages growth, and strives on collaboration, but they work with a level of professionalism and responsibility that is often amiss in new organizations. PED is transparent in all of their work and completely receptive to criticism, new ideas and genuinely values the help of new volunteers. I am drawn to PED because they have somehow figured out a way of balancing the 'feel good' with the 'get work done' ethic. They are professional and cool, it is fantastic.
This December I have the opportunity to travel to Uganda as a part of the PED family. I could not be more excited and honored to have been given such an amazing opportunity! The relationships that they foster in the PED schools are beautiful, and I can't wait to be a part of that. So let's get their website rockin, mmmk?!

2012-10-16 02:51:33 UTC
Gene Weaver

I have personally gone on a Pangea trip to Uganda with my son and it was an incredibly rewarding and life changing experience. Pangea Educational Development is a team of passionate folks that truly want to work side-by-side with schools in underprivileged areas such as Uganda to empower them with similar opportunities that can be found at other schools. I love the spirit that the folks with Pangea bring to their outreach programs. They are very careful to ensure there programs are not just ‘giving’ programs, but ones that work alongside of schools to help build longer term sustainability. Ultimately, it is the schools that own the programs, feel good about the success of the programs and reap the rewards of the programs. I was honored and humbled to be a part of the Pangea team on this past trip and look forward to more trips in the future.

2012-10-16 03:26:49 UTC

PED is the best! I've been partnered with them for three years, working on the club at DePaul University. After one year of planning, and a breakout year, PED DePaul is now a recognized and amazing group on our camups. We reflect the missions and views of PED and translate them to our own Chicago backyard by tutoring refugees, raising awareness, and fundraising. I have also had the pleasure of joining Pangea's Opprotunites for Women, by helping them establish their cause and raise awareness and promote women's advocacy in Uganda. Finally, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Uganda this past summer to work with the PED partnered schools. We worked on sustainability projects and made lasting relationships with the beautigul Ugandan people. One of the key factors that sets PED apart from other not-for-profits are the co-founders. They work tirelessly and passionately on promoting their cause, while creating a family environment for anyone who crosses their path. I definitely plan on being partnered with this incredible organization for years to come. A new website would help astronomically in improving how we can spread the mission.

2012-10-16 04:09:02 UTC

Entering my freshman year at DePaul University, I was terrified of being alone in an large city without having my friends and family nearby. PED DePaul quickly became like a second family to me and I was instantly welcomed into a organization dedicated to education as a basic human right. Pangea facilitates an environment in which individuals are challenged to think about service in a way many may have never experienced before; I've always been told that education is the one thing no one can ever take away from you, but never fathomed that education is a luxury not afforded to many. Pangea understands that in order for change to be sustainable, we must begin our efforts at the grassroots level with the understanding that we are not out to provide charity to anyone, only to help individuals achieve their true potential and obtain a right that is already theirs. I am proud to say that I will be traveling to Uganda in December and although I an uncertain of what exactly to except, I do know that it will be a life-changing experience. I cannot think of a more deserving, hard-working and altruistic group of individuals who dedicate countless hours for no reason other than just the hope of helping children achieve the future they see for themselves.

2012-10-16 13:59:48 UTC
Jinquan Wang

This is Jinquan Wang, and I come from china. Right now I pursue my master degree in Depaul University. I was the volunteer in 2012 summer program of PED. I went to Uganda last summer with PED famliy. That is a fantastic trip in my life.

During the 20 days, we visited two local schools in Uganda, helping them develop the teaching equipments, teaching children courses and cooperating with the local government and corporations to build a profit system for the schools.

All we done make me so moved and proud. We are using our power to imporve others' life, at the same time, imporve our own life. ALL we done right now may be just a small thing but it could influence others. When I went back china, I told my friends about Africa, totally changed their mind about the land and people there. Some of them also want to go to Africa next summer.

That's what the world about, that's what PED do right now. That's what we want to do more in the future.

2012-10-16 15:12:17 UTC
Kelsey Courtley

I went to Uganda with PED over the summer and I could not have chosen a better organization to get involved with. Every single person involved was not only caring and open but also extremely passionate. Not only was the trip enjoyable but the three co-founders were incredible: they planned everything perfectly so the volunteers had nothing to worry about and the jobs we set out to do got done and made a difference at the schools. This organization does everything they can to make a difference. I've never seen an group of people come together and work so hard toward a common goal. Getting the chance to be involved in something that is so much bigger than myself, and a with an organization that truly betters peoples lives in the communities that it touches, was one of the most empowering experiences anyone could ask for.

2012-10-16 15:37:50 UTC

Pangea Educational Development is a worthy non-profit for the support of the web team. The organization is youth and active with the idealism and passion that this brings, but the realistic and effective means of an experienced organization. PED unlike many non-profits have the know-how and the connections to effectively achieve sustainable global education. PED is welcoming, empowering and quickly makes each individual feel like they belong. This is important because if they (deservingly so) received the support, the organization would have no hesitation to give support and continue the relationship with The Nerdery. PED is not one to waste resources and opportunities and I believe you will not go wrong if you work with Pangea Educational Development.

2012-10-16 23:26:39 UTC
Laura Dering

I have gone on two trips to Uganda so far with PED. This is an organization that truly draws people in and holds their interest because through the hands on projects and relationships formed volunteers have the opportunity to see the beginning of a lasting impact. Along with this comes a strong sense of connectivity to the organization as well as the community. By improving the PED website, this will give those who do not personally know someone who works with PED a chance to really get to know the organization as well as I did when I began volunteering. An enhanced website could make a big impact in the number of volunteers and interns, amount of donations, level of awareness, and ultimately the quality of education in Uganda. PED deserves the support to create a website that better represents the mission they stand for.

2012-10-16 23:48:13 UTC

I have worked with PED for the past two years and have found the experience both rewarding and inspirational. The core mission of the organization - in short, to develop sustainable education programs in underprivileged communities - has been realized through numerous projects, particularly in Uganda. As a young organization, PED faces some expected bandwidth challenges, including raising awareness with limited resources. A new website that streamlines communication would be tremendously helpful in overcoming one such challenge and allowing PED to further deliver upon its mission, ultimately improving education for children in under-served communities.

2012-10-17 04:21:31 UTC

This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with Pangea to Uganda. During my two-week-long trip, we visited St. James Preparatory School and Tooro High School. At the latter, we took some time to focus on women's empowerment with the high school girls. One activity involved painting; we asked the girls to paint something that was meaningful to them. Tooro's Head Girl, Ruth, painted a book and a pencil. When asked why, she responded, "Because they are my weapons for the future."
Like Ruth, Pangea understands that education is the key to sustainable change within communities. Pangea understands that this does not mean simply giving something. Rather, it requires fostering and maintaining a mutual relationship with a community. It requires empowering others to strengthen that community, and in turn, other communities. Pangea's projects do just that; they provide resources, such as a sewing room or an internet cafe, which over time becomes a source of sustainable income. In turn, the schools within these communities are able to grow and provide students with more resources.
Pangea's mission is practical, sustainable, and most of all, full of heart. PED's family works tirelessly and passionately to continue these mutual relationships it has fostered over the past few years. Never before have I seen such a wonderful group of people working side by side both here and abroad to empower others in the most respectful and dignified way possible.
A new website for PED could allow for so many more opportunities, such as presenting its professionalism as an organization, spreading its mission, and connecting students abroad to more resources.

2012-10-17 22:45:16 UTC

Deciding to get involved with Pangea Educational Development was one of the best decisions I have made. Not only did I join a non-profit organization, but I became a part of a family. As a future educator, I align myself with PED's mission to provide access to a quality education to ALL children. As PED and I both believe, education is a right, not a luxury. Being able to travel to Uganda this past summer, I was able to build relationships with the leaders of the organization who are so passionate and dedicated to their mission. I have never seen a young organization grow so rapidly, and its time for this growth to be reflected in our web development. A better website would not only reflect better PED's projects and its volunteers, but it would help us to continue to grow as an organization and expand PED's mission to countries beyond Uganda.

2012-10-17 23:41:40 UTC
Jacquelyn Rodriguez

To me, Pangea Educational Development is more than an organization. It is the future. PED has had a great impact on not only my life but students across the globe. Their focus is sustainability, allowing everyone involved to create their own future. This is the biggest gift you can give someone. I have traveled to Uganda twice with PED and have been an active member in the organization for 2 years now. All I can say is that it has truly changed me. The work they do and the passion they have for others is inspiring. Every time I think about PED I am always amazed at how much a primarily student run organization can get accomplished, their passion and drive cannot be matched.

2012-10-18 00:32:37 UTC

PED is an amazing organization that draws you in once you learn about their mission. Our daughter made her first trip to Uganda last summer and has done nothing but talk about her return. It was a trip that changed her life and the lives of everyone she has shared her journey with. It has showed us all the amazing things that can happen when the world becomes one by helping each other grow. PED has wonderful projects that help schools become self substanable which in turn helps enrich the lives of so many children and family's in Uganda. I am truly inspired by 3 college students who have started such an amazing organization that will change forever the lives of so many in Uganda.

2012-10-18 01:02:18 UTC

PED is an awesome non-profit organization! Their mission is clear. They help people help themselves while working right along there with them. They are not an organization that asks for money to just give it away. They use the money to help educate many who otherwise would not have a chance. These are communities that walk for miles a day to be educated. PED believes that with education you have a chance. The founders are very hardworking and put many many many hours into the organization weekly. As full time students and a full time teacher they have a more than full schedule...but endlessly work to recruit volunteers and communities to get involved. Their fundraising has been amazing creative. From collecting shoes (about 20,000 pairs by now), working with schools, expanding thru branches at Depaul University and Michigan State University they have spread the word of PED and with great success have recruited may talented young people that have contributed their talents and love to the organization. They have enriched lives of so many families not only in Uganda but here in the United States as well. They have plans to expand to other countries in the future and know they will do well. An updated website that will help them to better communicate and more easily raise funds and awareness will only help to enhance this young and quickly growing non-profit organization. Their passion for this organization cannot be matched by any organization that I have ever supported or been involved with. They've got a special talent to recruit many young and old to travel with them thousands of miles each year to make a difference in areas of the world that without them would never have a chance at a start of a better life. As you view their current website and view the videos of their success over these past two years I think you will agree that their passion and creativity are changing the lives that they touch day by day.

2012-10-18 03:51:51 UTC

Getting involved in PED was one of the best decisions I made coming into college. I was instantly welcomed in the PED DePaul family and quickly learned all about the non-profit's mission of creating sustainable change in education both in Chicago and worldwide. This December I'll be travelling to Uganda with PED on one of their many service trips opportunity, and I couldn't be any more excited! The fact that PED offers students the opportunity to travel abroad and participate hands-on in creating change is amazing, to be honest. The passion of everyone involved in PED is inspiring, and what better way to spread this than a new website?

2012-10-22 15:58:42 UTC
Janna Retzler

My experience with PED has been amazing. Although I have not volunteered on their trips to Africa, their mission is close to my heart. They are incredibly professional and very driven to succeed. They work very hard and do so much good in the world. They deserve to have their website redone because they are expanding and as a nonprofit, the funds they could save by not paying for their website to be updated can be better spent on sustaining a community in Africa.

2012-10-22 03:55:15 UTC

I discovered PED from afar... through their website. Though I got the inkling that this was a organization worth working for, I now see - after a summer internship with the wonderful people that make up PED - that PED is so much more than what can currently be contained on their website.

PED is, first and foremost, a family. In all of their work they aim to welcome you into this family -- whether a student at a US college, a summer volunteer, or a Ugandan teacher. As an intern and a volunteer with previous experience in Uganda, I can see both the administrative benefits a new website would bring to the organization... as well as the need for an interactive space where volunteers can interact with and further support PED's mission.

I know that improvements to PED's website will help them in an amazing process of growth to come... the results of which I can't wait to see. After spending a summer with all of the great minds driving this organization, I have no doubt that PED will continue to balance the difficulties of the aid system and approach change in helpful, locally-focused, and culturally sensitive ways.

2012-10-22 22:42:08 UTC

Every so often you luck out and come into contact with amazing people that have big dreams for changing this world for the better. PED is founded and made of this exact type of amazing person. Not only do they have big dreams but they have concrete plans to make the buds of thought bloom to action. We are in the age of the internet, and while it has its pros and cons, it would be great if the internet showed its softer side and gave PED a chance to further broadcast their goals and find more people like themselves-- people who want to return the rights of education and empowerment to those who are currently without it. Indubitably there are many great organizations that could benefit from this opportunity and PED is definitely deserving of such a great gift.

2012-10-24 04:00:58 UTC

I absolutely believe that Pangea Educational Development deserves a new website to extend their reach. PED already touches so many people's lives - abroad and in Chicago - by promoting sustainable education and bringing together communities. As part of the DePaul chapter of PED, I have seen how PED has affected the lives of students in Chicago. After a year of tutoring refugee children on Chicago's North Side, the refugees have shown massive improvements in their English comprehension that will contribute to their success in the future. I can't imagine my life without PED, and I know many of my friends feel the same way.

There is a saying that a goldfish will only grow as big as its surroundings will allow. However cheesy that may sound, it certainly is the case for PED. By allowing PED to create a new website, it will have the opportunity to grow even larger, reach more people, and affect their lives. PED is helping insure that the world's most underprivileged students have solid foundation through education.

2012-10-26 20:40:05 UTC

I don't know where I'd be without PED. This organization--this family--has given me guidance, support, and the ongoing opportunity to challenge and better myself. Every person associated with PED is extremely hardworking and we seek to support people in need in only the most ethical, respectful, and sustainable ways. I've volunteered in Uganda the last three summers and the aspect that sets PED apart from other non-profits is our dedication to building relationships and working alongside students, school staff, and community members.

PED is always growing. It is a dynamic organization that includes the international volunteer program, college chapters that commit to local and international projects, and a women's empowerment program that has projects in Chicago and Uganda. The organization welcomes new members and urges each person to use his or her talents to strengthen PED's programs or create new programs that fulfill PED's mission. If PED had a new-and-improved website, we would have a much greater opportunity to continue to build relationships and unite communities!

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower students and unify communities through the construction of sustainable school sites in underprivileged areas. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to providing essential resources to schools and creating self-sustainable programs that ensure the well-being of students around the world. Our program is founded on a belief in genuine, hands-on relationships with our client sites. Our three and four-year construction programs not only promote sustainable education at our sponsored schools, but encourage students to learn skills that will enable them to better their communities and succeed beyond the classroom. We create these programs to open doors of opportunity for students. We do it out of passion for the kids; for the students; for the people.