Work for Humankind: Deepening Conservation and Transformation Two Years Later

May 21, 2024 11:30 AM ET

In 2021, Work For Humankind, Lenovo’s landmark initiative, in partnership with NGO partner Island Conservation, opened the isolated 900-person community of Robinson Crusoe Island to new possibilities for tourism, trade, employment and education by bringing technological advancement to the island. What started out as an initiative to change how people work—for good—has made a lasting impact.

This Earth Day, we sat down with Vivian Huacuja Garcia, a wildlife veterinarian at Island Conservation, to discuss the new conservation efforts made possible by Lenovo’s smarter technology.

Nearly two years since Work For Humankind began, how has Lenovo’s end-to-end technology continued to impact your work at Island Conservation?

[Vivian]: Having reliable internet and access to high-end technology like Lenovo’s AI-enabled edge servers has revolutionized our work as we’re now able to gather, process and store big data like never before. This data allows us to move more swiftly and react to invasive threats across the island in real time, taking decision time from three months to a matter of weeks. Overall, Lenovo’s technology portfolio, including ThinkVision monitors, premium Yoga devices, ThinkPad laptops, ThinkStations and more, makes integral aspects of remote work like video conferencing available to our non-profit for the first time. This continues to save us valuable time and money that can be reinvested in new or expanded projects that directly benefit the island.

Has community life on Robinson Crusoe also changed?

[Vivian]: Absolutely! Since the implementation of Work For Humankind, the island’s community dynamics have undergone a remarkable transformation, and we continue to see more success with each passing year of the initiative. With widespread access to free Wi-Fi now available at the community tech hub on the island, there’s been a surge in internet users, marking a staggering 70% increase over the past year alone. Our initiative to incentivize learning and engagement through a system of earning free internet time has been a hit among residents. By integrating questions about Island Conservation and local species into the process, we’re not only providing connectivity but also fostering awareness and education about our vital conservation efforts.

The hub also includes Lenovo devices such as tablets like the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro, Legion gaming laptops and motorola edge 20 pro smartphones, which offer residents the educational, economic and social benefits of digital access. Moreover, the integration of Lenovo devices in the local school has been a game changer, with teachers reporting tangible improvements in student learning experiences across all age groups. Technology has truly become an indispensable tool and portal for learning, captivating the curiosity of our youth and driving a thirst for knowledge.

Can you give us an update on the community conservation efforts around the island?

[Vivian]: Over the past year, the community conservation efforts have flourished with nearly 90 dedicated volunteers tirelessly nurturing seedlings and maintaining greenhouses across Robinson Crusoe. The success of these initiatives, which support our mission to re-cultivate the island’s native flora and fauna, has prompted us to expand our efforts further in the coming year. Beyond their primary ecological role, these greenhouses have evolved into vibrant community hubs. Equipped with free internet access courtesy of the Lenovo legacy fund, they’ve turned into natural gathering spaces particularly among our younger residents. These greenhouses and community gardens serve not only as centers for biodiversity restoration but also as catalysts for fostering a tighter knit, more interconnected community.

What other conservation efforts or projects does Island Conservation have on the horizon?

[Vivian]: Looking ahead, we’re excited to leverage the AI and machine learning models built by Lenovo data scientists, which has transformed our work at Island Conservation, to tackle a new challenge: addressing Robinson Crusoe’s feral cat population in a humane and innovative manner. Using advanced AI models, we can quickly and accurately assess the current population of feral cats on the island before launching a groundbreaking adoption campaign. This initiative represents a paradigm shift for us as we look to rehome an invasive species, rather than eradicate it, while upholding the local community’s wishes to protect these animals. Made possible by the cost savings from Lenovo technology and support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this campaign underscores our commitment to sustainable conservation practices. We are able to prioritize both ecological integrity and community values—thanks to the power of Lenovo technology.

You can find out more about Work For Humankind at