Technology and innovation to serve three focus areas
The Thales Solidarity programme supports initiatives across the Group that aim to leverage innovation and technology to serve three focus areas, which draw on Thales’s culture, expertise and ambitions:
- Education and professional integration, to promote science education and facilitate access to the training and jobs of the future
- Digital citizenship, to encourage responsible use of digital technology and prevent risks for individual citizens and for society
- Environmental protection, to improve prevention and the resilience of populations to critical environmental risks and to encourage the creation of local solutions
The projects supported aim to provide underprivileged groups or those in at-risk areas with more equal opportunities.
To make the scientific and technical skills of the future accessible to all
The technological revolution and the urgency of climate change have made it critical to speed up the development of scientific and technical skills in a time when basic maths and science knowledge, as well as interest in scientific careers, are declining and continue to show a significant gender gap: only 35% of higher education students studying STEM subjects are women (UNESCO 2017).
The use of digital technology in education is now indispensable, calling for a complete rethink of our approaches to teaching to ensure that students acquire skills they can use for the rest of their lives. But remote learning is still out of reach for at least 500 million students (UN Statistics Division).
The next generation, in all its diversity, must develop a solid foundation of digital knowledge and be able to innovate and create collective solutions in order to play a responsible role in sustainable development.
youth around the world lack basic maths and reading skills.
of ICT (Information Communication Technology) graduates worldwide are women
- Science and technology teaching and the creation of a culture of innovation
- Professional development and access to science and technology careers
- Classroom innovation to prepare for the world of the future
FOR THE BENEFIT OF
- Children and youth from underprivileged areas or who struggle in school and girls who self-select out of STEM careers
- Teachers and those responsible for career development and training
- People who are excluded from the job market or in retraining
Some projects and charities we support
Training Mexican public school teachers in digital and scientific skills
This project is led by Movimiento STEM, a Mexican charity whose mission is to develop, connect and promote STEM education in Latin America. With the Thales Solidarity programme’s support, the project’s goal is to provide online training sessions for public school teachers in Mexico, supporting them in deploying a teaching approach that promotes and develops STEAM skills for students.
This project, sponsored by Patricia N. (Mexico City, Mexico), was a winner of the Thales Solidarity 2021 call for employee projects.
Most teachers in Mexican public schools have little knowledge of science and digital technology, even as these skills become indispensable in the world of work.
Based on this observation, the project offers a learning framework for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) for teachers. The 40-hour online training, spread over three months, together with the support of a mentor, explores how to approach solving an innovation challenge in six steps in the classroom, while developing digital, scientific and creativity skills and instilling an inclusive, holistic mindset. The aim is that teachers will eventually be able to apply the STEAM methodology to their students in order to develop 21st century skills including digital literacy, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. The project targets 32 primary school teachers from Mexico City neighbourhoods and, indirectly, around 3,200 students aged 6 to 12. Movimiento STEM aims to promote STEAM education in Mexico and Latin America and ultimately influence public policy.
The valuable contribution of Thales STEM Ambassadors in the United Kingdom
In recent years, Thales in the UK has been working with Primary Engineer to deliver STEM outreach to schoolchildren nationwide. With the support of Thales UK STEM Ambassadors, the partnership works with teachers to inspire the next generation to consider careers in STEM.
This initiative is supported by employee skills-based volunteering.
This partnership includes several activities. Each year, a panel including Thales UK STEM Ambassadors grades and shortlists entries for the “If I was an Engineer” competition, which invites students from primary and secondary schools to identify a problem in the world around them and propose an engineered solution. In another initiative, Ambassadors partner with teachers to help them develop the skills they need to talk to their students with confidence about STEM. Over the 2019-20 academic year, 20 Ambassadors worked with over 500 students across 15 schools close to the Thales sites in Cheadle and Belfast.
Enabling dyspraxic children to realise their full potential at school with digital tools
The charity Le Cartable Fantastique fights for equal opportunities and school inclusion for children with disabilities, and in particular dyspraxia, by developing educational materials and digital tools, available free of charge on its website.
This charity is supported by the MicroDON payroll giving programme in France.
At school, dyspraxic students have difficulties writing, handling implements, navigating pages of written text, coordinating their movements, and so on. If not taken into account, these difficulties can lead to students falling behind. To help fully include these students at school, Le Cartable Fantastique develops educational materials and digital tools, which enable the children to follow along in the classroom. These tools make it easier for students to use computers and enable them to develop all their skills without being hampered by their disability, while allowing teachers to quickly adapt their teaching materials and content (platform for creating suitable digital exercises, word processing software and more). To promote understanding of this invisible disability and promote good adaptation practices, Le Cartable Fantastique also offers a training programme for teachers.
Donations collected in 2021 made it possible to provide 280 teachers with French-language kits to support children with DCD (developmental coordination disorder) or other disabilities and train more than 1,000 coaches (teachers, mediators and parents) during workshops and conferences. Over 1.7 million free digital tools have been downloaded from the association’s website.
Giving everyone access to digital technology
The digital transformation has created new inequalities in access to technology and information about its use which prevent some citizens from exercising their online rights and fulfilling their responsibilities. Indeed, 48% of the world’s population still does not have internet access, and 17% of European citizens have no computer skills at all. The digital divide is also accentuating vulnerabilities to various risks – fake news, cyberattacks, personal data theft – and brings with it the responsibility to ensure that all citizens have the education and training they need to protect themselves from the dangers of the digital world.
of the world's population does not have Internet access
of European citizens have basic computer skills, while 17% have none at all
- Responsible use of digital technology to mitigate personal and societal risks
- Digital inclusion through basic skills acquisition
- Citizen engagement in society through non-profit tech solutions
FOR THE BENEFIT OF
The groups most affected by the digital divide: the elderly, rural populations, the disabled, and vulnerable and socially excluded groups
- People exposed to digital risks
- Civil society organisations engaged in promoting participatory citizenship
Some projects and associations we support
Even though mastery of digital tools is seen as an essential key to social and professional integration, the 140,000 people supported by social insertion agencies in France lack these skills, heightening their exclusion from the job market and their vulnerability. As an extension of the programme supported by Thales Solidarity in 2021, the Défi Insertion project aims to open up digital opportunities to employees hired under social insertion programmes to enable them to acquire the minimum digital skills that they need for their social and professional integration, by providing them with tools and training and working with the agencies supporting their social insertion.
Pilot project supported by the Thales Solidarity Fund in 2021 and 2022.
The project is expanding in 2022 via the Les Bons Clics platform, offering new online and self-directed learning tools to employees in social insertion programmes and tools to insertion agency professionals to help them promote and integrate digital opportunities for beneficiaries.
In 2020-2021, the project trained 146 employees in social insertion programmes, supported 270 social insertion counsellors and worked with 263 employers in three trial regions: Occitanie, Hauts de France and Grand Est. In 2022, the project aims to provide digital technology training to 500 employees in social insertion programmes through 50 social insertion agencies across France.
This project is organised by the charity We Tech Care, which explores and develops solutions using digital tools and services like Les Bons Clics and Le Déclic to provide opportunities to those in need.
Digital technologies to confront prejudice, promote community engagement and build digital capacities
This initiative, led by the Association internationale de mobilisation pour l'égalité (AIME), aims to fight against the cultural and technical barriers associated with digital technology. Run in collaboration with partner NGOs in various countries, interactive workshops will bring together 90 young people to raise their awareness about digital citizenship and interculturality. Complementary e-volunteering missions will strengthen the digital capacities of partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
This project, sponsored by Emilien B. (Vélizy-les-Bois, France), was a winner of the Thales Solidarity 2021 call for employee projects. Thales employees can also contribute to this initiative through e-volunteer missions.
While the pandemic has made digital technology more important than ever, it has also highlighted several dangers linked to it, such as fake news, that can encourage the spread of prejudice and mistrust towards other cultures. The project has two main components: four interactive workshops to raise awareness about the dangers of fake news and encourage exchange and intercultural dialogue, along with e-volunteer missions to strengthen the digital capacities of partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These two facets contribute to the same goal: fighting cultural and technical barriers linked to digital technology. The workshops will include 90 young people between the ages of 16 and 30 identified by local missions in France and international partner associations.
The e-volunteer missions, meanwhile, will support 10 partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Association internationale de mobilisation pour l'égalité (AIME), the partner charity for this project, promotes citizen engagement to build solidarity and support sustainable and inclusive development.
Narrowing the digital divide for isolated communities affected by humanitarian crises
In 2021, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) teams provided assistance to victims of severe flooding in western Germany and the powerful earthquake in Haiti last August. They set up high-speed satellite connections to provide rapid assistance to victims and facilitate the work of rescue organisations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). They also continued to provide assistance to people on migration routes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Central America and at the Lesbos refugee camp in Greece.
Since 2016, Thales employees in France have been supporting Télécoms Sans Frontières through the French payroll giving programme MicroDON.
TSF helps victims of humanitarian disasters contact their loved ones and builds rapid response communication centres for local and international rescue organisations.
With the financial support provided in 2021 from Thales’s payroll giving programme, TSF was able to help 100,000 victims and 300 organisations in seven countries.
In co-operation with the International Organization for Migration, TSF is continuing to work in Central America to protect refugees and provide them with information to allow them to make the best decisions for their future (practical information, asylum procedures, news updates, rights and responsibilities, available assistance, services provided by local institutions, etc.) and facilitate the work of local organisations. Its support also allows local organisations that manage refugee centres to provide such information clearly and effectively. After the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in August 2021, TSF sent two teams to provide telecommunications assistance in the disaster area. One TSF team set up a high-speed satellite connection at the main humanitarian coordination centre, which proved vital for delivering the equipment needed to provide uninterrupted treatment to patients. At the same time, the other TSF team set up Wi-Fi hotspots for isolated communities to offer earthquake victims several hours of Internet connectivity.
Supporting the ecological transition
The climate emergency, the depletion of natural resources and the loss of biodiversity are more critical than ever before. New digital technologies are not neutral: the share of digital technology in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions represents 3% to 4% (The Shift Project, 2021) and, according to a 2020 report by the UN, e-waste has increased by 21% in just five years. Collaboration with civil society can yield myriad solutions, such as developing low-tech citizen technology that consumes less energy, repurposing hardware and software for environmental solutions and using data science to analyse critical situations.
more natural disasters in the last 30 years due to climate change and biodiversity loss
of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by the use of digital technology
- Populations’ resilience to environmental risks
- Environmental damage prevention and management
- The creation of local, low-tech, non-profit solutions
FOR THE BENEFIT OF
- People in areas most impacted by environmental damage and risks
- Those involved in raising citizen awareness of environmental issues
- Civil society actors developing impactful solutions, including students, scientists, social entrepreneurs and more
Some projects and associations we support
Raising awareness of environmental issues and the importance of pollinators in the Auriol area
The Association Eco-citoyens de la Vallée de l’Huveaune works in and around the town of Auriol to protect the environment, through projects such as shared gardens, beekeeping and waste elimination. This project aims more specifically to set up two new smart apiaries both to collect data for participatory research but also to raise awareness among children and the general public about environmental issues and the preservation of bees.
This project, sponsored by Laurence L. (La Ciotat, France), was a winner of the Thales Solidarity 2021 call for employee projects.
Faced with the degradation of biodiversity and the disappearance of pollinators, the AECVH organises participatory workshops in the local area to "act here and now" by creating social bonds and raising environmental awareness, starting with children. The project aims to equip two apiaries with hardware to collect analysis data but and observe and monitor the bees remotely from an interactive platform, also accessible to teachers as well. The project will therefore serve two main purposes: feeding participatory research and strengthening awareness-raising activities among young people.
The project targets 300 to 450 children aged 6 to 15, i.e. 10 to 15 classes per year from the Auriol area. Our partner, the Association Eco-citoyens de la Vallée de l'Huveaune, leads initiatives around three key areas associated with environmental responsibility: shared gardens, apiaries and zero-waste projects.
Getting Thales employees involved in Tech for Good
Our partner Latitudes offers Thales France employees the opportunity to take part in a short course to learn more about the social and environmental issues associated with digital technology. Through informational emails and an online training session, the course tackles the various facets of digital technology and identifies ways to take action for more responsible, diverse, human-friendly, committed, accessible and citizen-friendly technology. For example, on the subject of responsible technology, they recommend ways to limit environmental impact and imagine technologies that are more energy efficient and respectful of life.
The Thales Solidarity charitable fund supports Latitudes’s Tech for Good Enthusiasts pilot project. These sessions are offered through the skill-based volunteering programme.
While the pandemic has made digital technology more important than ever, it has also highlighted several dangers linked to it, such as fake news, that can encourage the spread of prejudice and mistrust towards other cultures. The project has two main components: four interactive workshops to raise awareness about the dangers of fake news and encourage exchange and intercultural dialogue, along with e-volunteer missions to strengthen the digital capacities of partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These two facets contribute to the same goal: fighting cultural and technical barriers linked to digital technology.
The workshops will include 90 young people between the ages of 16 and 30 identified by local missions in France and international partner associations. The e-volunteer missions, meanwhile, will support 10 partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Association internationale de mobilisation pour l'égalité (AIME), the partner charity for this project, promotes citizen engagement to build solidarity and support sustainable and inclusive development.
Protecting the forest and human beings around the world
The charity Cœur de Forêt aims to preserve the forest and its biodiversity by supporting local populations in implementing sustainable agriculture and forestry and by restoring ecosystems in degraded forests (France, Madagascar, Bolivia and Indonesia)
This charity is funded through the MicroDON payroll giving programme in France.
Cœur de Forêt addresses the dual challenge of preserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable economic development. To do so, the charity works through four sets of activities:
- Reforesting, restoring and preserving the biodiversity of forest ecosystems through sustainable forest management
- Raising awareness among children and adults about ways to harness and preserve their forest heritage
- Supporting and empowering producers in agroforestry production systems
- Marketing support for small producers to promote fair and transparent trade
From 2005 to 2020, Cœur de Forêt's reforestation and economic development activities planted 1,000,000 trees of 253 different species, supported 20,000 beneficiaries and developed 33 organic and fair trade products from foraging and agroforestry throughout the world.