The spread of the COVID-19 around the world means hard times for all, but it has also shown that empathy, collaboration and love arise when we bring out the best in ourselves. Horyou team has taken a tour around the world and is sharing some amazing social good initiatives:

Chinese health workers ready to help Italy- Photo: Al Jazeera

Solidarity from China

The Coronavirus outbreak began in China last year, but since them some other nations as Italy have been strongly affected. Chinese authorities have recently sent medical supplies and experts to Europe to help fight the virus. https://www.horyou.com/member/vivian-soares/news/solidarity-from-china

Music Inspires Italy

An inspiring demonstration of resilience and sense of community in many Italian cities is the balcony singing. Many quarantined citizens are using music as a powerful way to connect in lonely times. https://www.horyou.com/member/vivian-soares/news/music-inspires-italy

Spain Pays Tribute to Health Workers

Tireless health workers in Spain could feel the gratitude of the population who organized a collective applause to acknowledge their efforts and commitment to fight the virus. https://www.horyou.com/member/vivian-soares/news/spain-pays-tribute-to-health-workers

UK Community Groups Tackle Isolation

A nation-wide initiative aims to share advice, keep communication open and offer practical help to people in self-isolation. https://www.horyou.com/member/vivian-soares/news/uk-community-groups-tackle-isolation

Youth Volunteers in the US

The young and healthy are volunteering to pick up groceries, medication and run errands for elderly people in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 200 people have already signed up for supporting those in need. https://www.horyou.com/member/vivian-soares/news/youth-volunteers-in-the-us

Is your community developing any social good project to help those in need? Share it with our Community on Horyou, the social network for social good!

New generations of investors and consumers are driving the change

Horyou is a media partner of Doing Good, Doing Well

We’re in the middle of a transition. While baby boomers are retreating both as business leaders and investors, money is changing hands. And so is power. Millennials are taking over, along with their desire to bring positive impact on society and the planet.

Organized by MBA students from IESE Business School in Barcelona, the Doing Good, Doing Well Conference is in its 17th edition, yet the debate about impact investing and businesses for good had never been so palpable. “All the stakeholders are involved. The pressure for change is coming from everywhere”, said Pedro Goizueta, Investor Relations and Operations Director at Global Social Impact. The real shift here is in the word “investor”. There’s a demand for transparency, reporting and real proof of impact so as to avoid greenwashing. Impact businesses are utilizing performance indicators to speak to investors.

The transformation started as an answer to the demands of a new generation of consumers. “If all of us stop buying plastic bottles, the industry will come up with an alternative solution in less than one month”, said Rocío Alcocer, founder and CEO of TAPP Water. A survey conducted by the ING financial institution is a good indicator of consumer power: 38% would actively stop buying products if they are not environmentally responsible. The rate is even higher among millennials: 48%. The action followed a profound distrust of traditional capitalism: 73% of people express a desire for change, and 56% feel that capitalism does the world more harm than good.

Hence businesses have started to rethink their purposes. “Capital is being reassigned. Large oil companies are investing in renewable energy while car manufacturers are launching electric vehicles. Part of the assets are being shifted to sustainable investments with a long term view”, says Fernando de Roda, co-founder at Greenward Partners. The example is also coming from banks and investment funds – players like BlackRock – the global investment manager which launched a myriad of high risk sustainable funds -, and pension funds, such as the Spanish VidaCaixa and Citi, are publicly defending impact investing as a smart long-term investment option.

Technology has been a good ally when it comes to innovation and impact measurement. “It will democratize investments and lead to impact investing for everyone”, said Enrique Albarado, Head of Technology of Bamboo Capital. “It brings transparency”, claimed Fernando de Roda. Surely, It will help sustainable businesses – one of the biggest challenges to impact investing, according to the panellists – move faster. “Short-term return goals are a major problem”, insisted Financial Times reporter and producer of the digital platform Moral Money Billy Nauman. In his opinion, society should swiftly solve the more important problem: the environmental one. “There’s potential, but we’re not making progress to be anywhere near the 1,5-degree commitment. We’re moving, but not fast enough and we need to get big assets involved”, he said. It’s a matter of sustainability at its roots: to ensure that we still have businesses in the future.

 

Horyou is a media partner of Doing Good, Doing Well

 

How a technology initially designed to entertain is now changing urban landscapes

Block by Block is a collaboration between UN Habitat and Mojang

A popular game for kids and teens has turned out to be the inspiration behind smart city policies around the world. Thanks to a UN collaboration with a computer software company, citizens of all ages and backgrounds in places like Mexico, Haiti, Kenya and Gaza are literally playing an important role in redesigning public space.

Block by Block started as an initiative to get citizens more involved in the planning of public spaces through Mojang’s Minecraft computer game. Directly supporting the SDG11 (inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities), it gave tools to community members so they would develop plans that architects and governments could turn into reality. Since then, it has spread to a range of countries, from Vietnam to Haiti, Mexico and Somalia.

Known as a “digital Lego”, Minecraft was adapted to real-life cities, where people can suggest improvements and start building models for their communities.

In Kenya, the program started in 2017 as a way to bring refugees and locals closer together. The idea was to develop their design skills using the game and organize visits to physical sites that needed improvement. Even people with poor computer skills could learn quickly, due to the recreational nature of the project. Then, they would discuss the project and come up with ideas, many of them economically feasible and environmentally friendly. Some of the participants suggested tree-planting in order to provide more comfort and shade to the community and solar lights for clean energy – both projects duly implemented.

In Vietnam, the project has taken a strong gender approach. Girls were the main affected group, as they commute several miles every day to go to school, facing many safety challenges. Dark corners and dangerous passages were some of the problems they faced, and the solution came in the form of improved signage, lighted walkways and safe spaces like women-only coffee shops and shelters.

In addition to fostering collaboration, the Block by Block initiative also serves an important social function: that of developing computer skills in endangered communities and empowering minorities like women and refugees. Regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, digital technology is inclusive and for all; it leaves no one behind.

Finding inspiration in worldwide social and environmental actions

Our platform has always aimed to share social good and get inspiration from all the amazing projects we discover around the world. Horyou blog team puts the spotlight on some engaging stories about environmental and social actions worldwide:

Ivory Coast is using plastic waste to build schools

A beautiful initiative that helps to tackle at once plastic pollution and the lack of schools. UNICEF was partners with this cost-effective project that should inspire other communities.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-51213133/ivory-coast-is-using-plastic-waste-to-build-schools

Tilos, the first energy efficient island in Greece

Through its wind farms and solar panels, this small community has become self-sufficient as well as able to start new clean energy projects, such as promoting electric vehicles and charging stations.

https://www.themayor.eu/en/tilos-the-first-energy-efficient-island-in-greece

Housing first” policy addresses homelessness in Finland

Finland is the only country in Europe where homelessness in on the decline, thanks to this project that empowers dispossessed people by giving them social support and the chance to make a fresh start.

https://www.equaltimes.org/finland-s-housing-first-policy#.XkFZTjhKiUk

Innovation helps fight hunger in Jordan

Refugees at Za’atari camp in Jordan and a team of scientists from Sheffield in the UK are working together on finding a way to grow fresh food in old mattress foam.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-51466978/how-mattresses-could-solve-hunger

Brazilian scientists reduce coronavirus diagnosis from 48h to 3h

University researchers discovered a new method to identify the presence of coronavirus in human bodies, thus helping to tackle the current global health emergency. (News in Portuguese)

https://saude.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,pesquisadores-brasileiros-reduzem-espera-por-diagnostico-de-coronavirus-de-48-para-3-horas,70003190651

Do you have any good news and social actions to share? The Horyou Community is waiting to hear from you!

It’s time to share good news about one of the most feared diseases

New technologies and discoveries are making cancer a treatable disease

I remember when I was little, my parents and grandparents would never say the word “cancer”. It sounded like a death threat, a condition so serious that, if only mentioned out loud, could contaminate others. Time has passed and even they started to fear it less: my grandmother had breast and skin cancer and a long, healthy life after treating it; my father-in-law is in remission from a prostate cancer and is planning to go on his third transatlantic trip, confident about what the future might bring. Although cancer remains a serious disease that should be swiftly treated and carefully monitored, the latest discoveries and technologies regarding detection and treatments had made it less terrifying. And on this World Cancer Day, we would like to share some good news:

  • Cervical cancer detection and prevention: more than 100 countries have successfully introduced the vaccine against HPV. It gives a very positive prospect to future cases of cervical cancer, knowing that teenagers are the vaccines’ target audience.

  • Liquid Biopsies: widely used to detect prostate and ovarian cancer cases through a blood test, the liquid biopsy is less invasive and painful than current detection techniques as colonoscopy, needle biopsy and mammography. The FDA has just approved liquid biopsies for lung cancer – and a wider use is to come.

  • Medical cannabis: in 2002, the Netherlands have pioneered the implementation of medical cannabis access programmes to cancer patients. More recently, other European countries have given the green light for this complementary treatment, as well as many US states and countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

  • More drugs available: Cambridge scientists have discovered that more than 50 approved drugs that were not traditionally used to treat cancer have capabilities to kill cancerous cells without harming healthy ones. The researchers found that drugs developed for treating diabetes, reducing inflammation and controlling alcohol addiction were among those with good potential for treating cancer.

  • Recovering capacity: a recent discovery by UK researchers shows that our body has an impressive capacity of recoverage from damage. They found that the lungs of ex-smokers can quickly regenerate and hence reduce the risks of developing cancer.

 

Do you have any good news to share on this World Cancer Day? If so, let the Horyou Community know about it and spread a positive light!

The Relevance of SIGEF Davos

SIGEF Davos 2019

What do disruptive technologies, inclusive finance, women empowerment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals have in common? SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, set up for the first time in Davos on January 22nd, 2020, brought stimulating insights into the common threads that run through all four topics.

The shared sentiment was/is that an inclusive world can definitely be shaped with the joint effort of all stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. With it, gender equality and wide access to new technologies would be bolstered; financial means and business opportunities would be open to all; and many an environmental and social challenge would be overcome.

More and more, we see a large number of major global corporations, including some emblematic companies like Philip Morris International and Nespresso, both of whom were among SIGEF Davos sponsors, are determinedly headed in that direction. Through strengthened ties within vulnerable communities or via investing in the provision of more sustainable products, they have realized how important it is to embrace the challenges of our times. Startups and fintech organizations including Fintech4Good, as well as NGOs led by WWF and Women Deliver, or media such as Devex and CBS, or again international agencies the likes of Geneva Chamber of Commerce and OECD, are walking the walk, and showing that, undoubtedly, an increased level of social and environmental commitment does help come to terms with inequality.

A few years ago, it would have been unimaginable that the finance and business worlds would seriously get to grips with social inclusion, or deal with environmental issues, or again bolster community empowerment or, even more unpredictably, use disruptive technologies for good. As Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, the social network for social good, puts it: “Capitalism is changing, and it is becoming more inclusive and more aware of society’s needs”.

That is the relevance and legacy of SIGEF Davos.

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