In keeping with our policy of transparency we have made the 2018 Calico Challenge Review is available for download here. It was our third year of running the event and much was learned.
- Sponsorships rose which allowed us to have a modest reserve fund in the event of unforeseen events that could impact donations.
- Our 2018 UTech student volunteers graduated and we successfully recruited new volunteers from UWI and UTech. This greatly helps with the continuity of our Calico Challenge outreach work.
- We hired a social media firm to handle our online promotions, but the results were disappointing. The general interest technology stories posted and updates on our activities didn’t receive the expected levels of engagement. This initiative was funded by contributions by members of the Board of Directors. We have since used our volunteers to update our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages on a regular basis. Postings include reminders about the Calico Challenge, more regional Caribbean technology content and interesting links learned from various Jamaican technology WhatsApp groups.
- Students engagement through technology clubs wasn’t as robust as in the past which, in addition to the low social media engagement, contributed to a lower number of applications and overall applicant quality. We have since created a WhatsApp group with university student club leaders across the island through which we announced our 2019 activities. This lead to a record number of 2019 applicants and noticeably better responses.
- The general uncertainty of both global and Jamaican economic growth is a continued risk to our donation stream. We have begun work on finding ways to provide revenue generating opportunities to sponsor our outreach by providing services to other non-profit organizations. This was the inspiration of the 2019 Calico Challenge’s Quito project which aims to provide an open source cloud membership management service for clubs and religious institutions.
We feel that 2018 was a turning point for the Calico Challenge, in which new approaches to our challenges were identified and successfully applied in the first half of 2019. The Palisadoes Foundation looks forward to further successes this year.