Photo/Courtesy of Christianna Paul
Christianna Paul is a remarkable young woman who has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing environmental issues in her community of Dominica. Her journey began at the age of 13 when she noticed the overuse and misuse of non-biodegradable items like plastic bags and bottles in her surroundings. Driven by her passion to make a positive impact, she decided to leverage her interest in technology to create a solution to this environmental problem.
The result of her determination and creativity is WePlanet, a mobile-first web-based application that encourages and rewards Dominicans for living an eco-friendly lifestyle. This innovative social enterprise platform operates like a loyalty program, offering users Eco-Points for eco-friendly actions such as using reusable shopping bags, purchasing eco-friendly products, or participating in eligible eco-events. WePlanet app users are entered into quarterly raffles for prizes, making sustainability fun and rewarding.
Turning Vision Into Reality
Christianna's journey to bring WePlanet to life was not without its challenges. After initially developing a prototype and winning the Green Award at the Junior Achievement Make Something to Sell Challenge, her progress was temporarily halted by Hurricane Maria. However, she persevered, and her dedication paid off. She gathered a team of like-minded individuals from her high school IT club, participated in the 2021 Technovation competition, and was eventually selected to join the Dominica Youth Business Trust Social Enterprise Incubator program. This program provided her with valuable support and helped her and her team transform WePlanet into a non-profit social enterprise with a clear business model.
Christianna Paul and the WePlanet Team
Through her hard work and determination, Christianna won competitions including the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Island Ideas Challenge, secured funding and launched WePlanet in June 2022. The app not only encourages individual eco-friendly actions but also fosters collaboration with local businesses including the major supermarkets and eco-friendly enterprises. Furthermore, WePlanet partners with organizations such as the National Development Foundation of Dominica and the Dominica Solid Waste Management Cooperative to promote eco-consciousness and participate in initiatives like the Clean-A-Mile campaign.
Monetizing and Expanding
While Christianna envisions monetizing the app through in-app advertising in the future, her immediate goal is to expand their user base. To achieve this, she and her team are experimenting with various marketing strategies, including social media campaigns, sign-up incentives, and pop-up events. Their promotional eco-challenge and strategic pop-up presence have already yielded positive results.
WePlanet team member showcasing the OECS Trade Expo eco-scavenger hunt winners.
WePlanet's motto of "small actions, big change" underscores Christianna's belief that individual daily choices can collectively lead to significant positive impacts on the environment. She understands the importance of preserving the Earth for future generations and is actively working to do her part in achieving this goal.
Currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship at the University of the West Indies, Christianna aims to make WePlanet a household name while raising environmental consciousness in her community. She firmly believes that preserving the Earth is a shared responsibility for her generation and those that follow. Her unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation serves as an inspiring example of how young individuals can drive positive change and contribute to a more sustainable future.