Lauded as one of the most successful digital divide projects in Latin America, ENOVA is a social enterprise that specializes in the design, implementation and management of innovative educational centers created for the needs of marginalized communities in Mexico. Founded in 2007, this network of 70 educational community centers known as RIAs (Red de Innovación y Aprendizaje) provide underserved communities with quality educational opportunities and access to information technologies. Of the target audience, 69% of RIA users have never touched a computer and well over the majority receive a monthly income of less than $310 USD/family. Since the first RIA center opened in 2009, almost 315,000 users have registered and over 97,000 have graduated from our courses, bringing about sustainable change on educational, economic and sociocultural levels. The organization’s comprehensive national expansion strategy includes the building of 680 new RIA centers across the country and Digital Libraries in each of the 125 municipalities in the State of Mexico in order to closely support the public education system. Additionally, in response to the critical lack of customized teacher training, ENOVA wants to create a Virtual Teacher Training Center for facilitators and teachers to acquire and develop a set of core competencies through the use of information and communication technology to improve student achievement within the RIA, in their schools and in their jobs.
ENOVA sets itself apart from other social projects that focus on technology by giving its users not only access to technology but also the tools needed to use it effectively. A successful intervention to promote digital inclusion requires four main components: access to adequate IT infrastructure, selection and development of relevant educational content, a blended learning model with skilled facilitators and analyses of each student’s performance to revise and improve course content. In order to accurately measure and monitor the social impact of these components throughout the national expansion process, ENOVA will continue to adopt the use of IRIS metrics.
In an effort to measure the RIA’s effectiveness in generating social change, a working group from the University of Pennsylvania conducted an independent Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation, which determined that a child RIA course graduate increases their potential yearly income by $768.94 pesos ($59.82 US dollars) while an adult graduate increases their potential income by $3,898.91 pesos ($303.33 US dollars). A female RIA student increases her probabilities of finding a job by 386%. In sum, the study concluded that each peso invested in the RIA generates $1.74 pesos in economic growth.