Cancer is still a taboo in many parts of the world. Especially in Asia, where there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the disease and to support people cannot afford to get the right treatment. For 10 years now, EMPOWERED – The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia, has acted on these critical issues, helping and enlightening communities who are suffering from the lack of information and hope. In this interview with Wallance Cheong, project executive at EMPOWERED, a new member of our Horyou platform, shares the values and missions of this organization with our community.

Empowered team during Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening & Treatment Project

When was Empowered founded?

EMPOWERED was officially registered with the Registrar of Societies Malaysia in 2008 and is governed by an Executive Committee Board consisting of elected volunteers. It was founded by Dr. Christina Ng, a Consultant Medical Oncologist and our program started from year 2009 onwards. The organization is an ally of the poor who are afflicted with cancer.  EMPOWERED is committed to helping them to cope with cancer and life through the society’s many structured and personalized programs, and we bring these programs right into their homes. Our mission is to save lives, to prevent cancer and eliminate suffering amongst the poor.

Empowered’s Milestones

Your organization raises awareness of a condition that is considered taboo by many. How do you set the tone to discuss it with the general public?

The cancer awareness level, particularly in Asia, remains a challenge and some may perceive cancer as a taboo to be discussed. All the myths and misunderstandings about cancer are generally due to the lack of the right education and knowledge. Thus, we constantly raise public awareness and advocacy through our tailored campaigns and projects, educational exhibitions and talks, workshops etc. Furthermore, in accordance with society’s vision and mission, we actually bring these programs and supports right into the underprivileged communities home. We enable our EMPOWERED professionals to touch the hearts of the public.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening & Treatment Project

Do you have any plans and projects for 2018 that you would like to share?

We will carry out our annual signature campaign – Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening and Treatment Project (CCASTP) 2018. However, unlike previous practice, we would like to heighten public awareness level of cancer issues by organizing a Charity Run. The run is planned to be carried out in November, in conjunction with EMPOWERED’s 10th Anniversary and the Lung Cancer Month, and we are expecting about 2,000 people to join us.

You are a new organization in our Community. Tell us about your expectations and projects for Horyou.

We understand Horyou is an esteemed, established platform and action-oriented social network for the social good; EMPOWERED is honoured to join as a member of this big family. As time goes by, we expect to reach a wider public, raise public awareness and advocacy of cancer and generate funding and support for the sustainability of EMPOWERED’s projects with the aid of Horyou. 

Biodiversity is the ecosystem that has shaped the environment which allowed for human life to exist millions of years ago. Preserving this ecosystem is thus key issue to our survival, failing that, then this would pose a serious threat to human existence, as heralded by the extinction of a number of other living species.

Photo: UNDP

In Greek mythology, Flora and Fauna were goddesses who represented many aspects of ancient life. While Flora, goddess of spring, would be used as a symbol of youth and fertility, Fauna was mainly described as a strong female figure who could foresee the future. According to the elders, Fauna’s songs resonated the fate of humankind.

Which fate would Fauna be singing today? Come every spring, may we still see any future for youth and fertility? Living in a world where technology allows for men to conquer space in search for other viable ecosystems, deforestation and loss of biodiversity are still huge sources of concern on earth. SDG 15 is a call for the protection of life on land: not just animals but everything around us – trees, fungi, mountains, land and native populations.

According to UNDP, progress in preserving and sustainably using Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The good news is that more forests are being protected and many countries are putting policies and certifications in place to safeguard their ecosystems. But the effort made by governments and NGOs is not enough. Many key biodiversity areas are still under threat as they are not protected. Even when they are, the lack of inspection, added to corruption, make preservation more difficult. Land productivity has been declining since 1998, especially in South America and Africa, which aggravates desertification, security issues and land conflicts. The UN estimates that more than 1 billion people are currently endangered due to these problems.

The international community is committed to support and conserve biodiversity, either by signing agreements or by donating bilateral funds to biodiversity projects. Apart from that, NGOs are tirelessly working to raise awareness of the urgent ‘life on land’ cause.

Horyou is proud to host organizations such as ANDA, the first and largest animal news agency in Latin America. Based in Brazil, with more than 1.5 visitors a month, ANDA is an active voice on animal rights and shares news about scientific tests on animals and poaching, as well as the appalling conditions in farms, among other critical topics. They are trying hard to enforce SDG 15. Are you willing to do the same?

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps protect life on land in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is a good example of technology used to improve citizens lives. In a series of articles, Horyou blog will showcase some of the many positive aspects of the city!

Singapore

In Singapore, a local app gives you personalized health statistics and tips to improve your habits, while another allows you to pay your parking ticket with your smartphone. These apps are all developed and proposed by the Singaporean government to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Singapore is often pointed at as one of the smartest cities on the planet. Last year, its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasized the goal of becoming the world first smart city-state in the years to come. «We live in a time were cities are getting more and more prominence», says Manuel Tarin, chairman of the Smart City Business Institute.

How to develop a concerted, efficient strategy for a city of 5,6 million residents? It seems that the government has got the challenge right. Apart from the notorious effort of using big data to provide personalized services to the population, the city has also developed technologies that look like they were drawn from a sci-fi movie.

Take health, for instance. Singapore provides a service called TeleHealth, which allows elderly people to be monitored and rehabilitated online, without having to leave their houses. Any citizen can go to a website and access their private medical record and useful health information. When it comes to mobility, the city has a research lab to self-drive vehicles and plans to develop a real-time public transportation app, whereby people can choose routes according to their needs and get the most efficient transportation as quickly as possible.

Since 2014, when the Prime Minister launched the Smart Nation Initiative, Singapore has set dozens of landmarks, supported by stakeholders in the private sector, academia and civil society. Above all the innovation involved, the main goal of the city is to provide a better quality of life to its people, which is why technology is only a means, not the goal. As the Minister in charge of the Smart Nation initiative, Vivian Balakrishnan, said in a recent interview, that way no one will be left behind: «The real challenge is to commoditize the technology so that the new middle class can arise. Using and enjoying the fruits of this technology, that’s really what this challenge should be», she pointed.

Professor Steven MacGregor is a social innovator who has been teaching, researching and publishing about unorthodox topics such as personal sustainability and sustainable leadership. About a decade ago, he founded of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona of which he is the CEO, and for more than 15 years, he has been contending that companies should not only be money making machines. We are happy to feature Professor MacGregor as one of our Changemakers!

Part of the LAB team in Barcelona

When was the LAB founded?

The LAB was founded in 2007, when I was directing a research project on CSR and teaching on executive education programs at IESE Business School. The project was one of the first European funded efforts with a specific focus on CSR and innovation, while my teaching focused on the health and wellbeing of executives, which I viewed as personal sustainability. I felt my take on sustainability, as an aggregate of both these areas, was unique enough to take the plunge and start a company. The defining thought for me at the time was that sustainable companies couldn’t be built on people who weren’t sustainable themselves. Essentially, it’s about bringing a more human approach to business.

What does sustainable leadership stand for and why did The LAB start to develop projects and training in this area of expertise?

Most of what we’ve done in the past 10 years has been centered on the health, well-being and performance of people at work. We’ve had aspects including mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, and sleep coaching in our programs during that time. Of course, we need to manage and lead ourselves better before we can lead others. We train people to be inspiring, energetic and engaging leaders who get the best out of their people. I think that many have forgotten the simple fact that leadership is about others. Considering our basic human needs is an effective way of doing that.

Can you present some of societyLAB’s current projects?

Most of our engagements tend to come in the healthLAB and designLAB. Societal issues are integrated within these projects, for example in areas such as talent management, client experience and workspace design; but scaling up societyLAB is a big objective this year. Our idea is to focus on the area of societal wellbeing. One specific idea that we’re pursuing is using behaviour change tools to nudge peoples’ behaviour in areas such as alcohol consumption.

Steven MacGregor

What are your goals for 2018?

Using more sophisticated behaviour change tools is something we’ve been looking at for several years. These tools represent cutting-edge machine learning and algorithm development and will allow us greater insight into what works in the classroom and how we can better design our work and home environments to be happier and healthier. We make the case for wellbeing at work to be a more strategic concern. More generally, we simply want to keep having an impact on peoples’ lives.

Do you believe companies are now convinced that CSR can make both social impact and profits? How do you evaluate the current state of corporate involvement with environmental and social issues?

Most of the leading companies are now convinced yes, though they may not call it CSR. There is a deeper awareness of the contract that business has with society. How that manifests itself changes from company to company. In general, organizations are realizing the key role they play in peoples’ lives; and by engaging with them more closely – be they employees, customers or the wider community -, they know they will add value to the business in the long term and protect themselves (as much as possible) from the dangers of disruption.

Horyou is the social network for social good. What is the role of the internet and social media in influencing our companies to be more sustainable and socially conscious?

Transparency and talent. Companies can no longer get away with fancy words that are not matched by deeds. The younger generation is automatically attuned to social good in a way probably never seen before and they will hold enterprises accountable to a new way of doing business, if not directly, then certainly with how they choose to spend their talents. Even the biggest and brightest companies can no longer count on brand prestige or history to attract the best talent. People want to invest their time in something bigger than themselves.

Changemakers is an Horyou initiative which aims to highlight remarkable people & projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we shed a light over #SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth.

aaa est une fondation née dans le secteur privé qui a pour objectif de construire des alliances entre les générations. Nouveau membre de notre plate-forme, aaa est le résultat de la frutueuse implication des entreprises dans le social good. Nous lui souhaitons la bienvenue et sommes heureux de parler avec sa conceptrice et présidente, Muriel Favarger Ripert, pour nous éclairer sur son histoire et ses projets.

Photo: Fondation aaa

– Racontez-nous un peu l’histoire de la fondation.

Sur la proposition de M. René Fell (Président du Groupe Abissa et de l’Association Vigiswiss), naît la structure de la Fondation aaa en octobre 2015. René, en entrepreneur averti, éclairé et visionnaire a validé avec confiance le concept et le développement itératif de notre écosystème. Il est du reste co-fondateur et vice-président au Conseil de fondation. aaa est à ce jour le 1er et seul écosystème intergénérationnel qui a été créé et développé au sein d’une PME en Suisse. Il a pour vocation d’inspirer, de connecter et de rassembler des professionnels de tous horizons, des porteurs de projets, des influenceurs et décideurs tout en valorisant des valeurs chères à l’entreprenariat et l’intraprenariat en Suisse romande. L’un des objectifs est d’y partager les savoirs-faires, connaissances & pratiques sur le terrain entre professionnels au niveau régional, national, voire international. Notre plateforme propose notamment des rencontres de qualité lors de nos activités. La communauté aaa a réuni plus de 7000 personnes rencontrées de visu depuis 2011, le plus souvent en bilatérales, petits groupes et aussi lors de plus grands events ou espaces. Rien qu’en 2016 et 2017, 165 espaces privés et publics ont été conçus, organisés et promus par la Fondation aaa avec environ 3000 invités inscrits.

– Êtes-vous engagés dans la réalisation des Objectifs de Dévéloppement Durable de l’ONU ? Lesquels ?

Oui, notamment nous travaillons sur les objectifs 4, 8, 9, 10, 16 et 17.

– Quelles sont vos priorités pour 2018 ? Avez-vous des projets que vous cherchez à mettre en place dans un avenir proche ?

Dès 2016-2017, j’ai imaginé un nouveau modèle pour consolider le mouvement aaa avec 7 piliers stratégiques :

1) Une gouvernance collective, participative dans un esprit de coopération fondée sur les commissions, task-forces, chambres, chapters, cercles & forums, qui donneront naissance eux-mêmes à de nouveaux écosystèmes, organiques, agiles.

2) Economie, business, gouvernements et relations internationales : CRM vivant et mises en relation, notamment via nos événements.

3) L’écolentreprise : initiatives comme Eclosion & Reengineering House en alliance avec Campus Genève dès 2018 & une méthode personnalisée pour accompagner l’individu avec son/ses projets ; stages, emploi, transposition des compétences, boostbraintorming intergénérationnel, etc – soit en mode peer-2-peer ou collectif.

4) 10 modes de financements dont 3 que je considère comme disruptifs

5) Une plateforme communication et multimédia : TV, presse, radio et numérique

6) Un Forum solidaire et philanthropique qui valorise les projets sociaux, humanitaires

7) «Ecosystems Design» pour diverses tailles (SME, Multinationals, etc), les Nations & les Communautés, délivré par Muriel via @ma Table & Co, sa société

– Quelles sont vos sources d’inspiration ?

Notre CEO, René Fell, mes parents et la vie collective que nous expérimentons dans le cadre de notre Ecosystème intergénérationnel.

– La fondation aaa est un nouveau membre de notre communauté. Partagez vos espoirs et vos plans avec Horyou !

Je souhaite structurer avec Horyou à terme un consortium (en numérique et en présentiel) pour les projets durables à impact social, créatifs et solidaires !

The Sustainable Development Goal 14 is often overlooked. What many people forget, indeed, is the fact that we live in an ecosystem. The glass of water we drink, the rains and moist that help farmers produce our food, the climate that surrounds us, and even the air that we breathe, it’s all ultimately connected and regulated by the oceans.

Photo: UNDP

The SDG 14 aims to preserve life under water in order to guarantee life above water – seas and oceans are being constantly threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution; and we face their consequences on a daily basis. The acidification of oceans, apart from causing the extinction of creatures like corals and shelled molluscs, also affects all the food chain, including fishes and seafood that in many countries are the main sources of protein.

According to UNDP, 16% of the 63 large marine ecosystems are at high risk. This is due to eutrophication, a name given by an excessive amount of nutrients in water and dense plant growth, which causes the death of marine species. The most vulnerable areas are the Gulf of Mexico, Western Europe, Southern and Eastern Asia.

The solution lies in government policies and commitments, as marine protected areas must be created and well-managed, with strategies to combat overfishing and incentive small-scale and sustainable fisheries. But we can do more! Many projects are engaged with the protection of the oceans and sea life and we, as consumers, have the power to influence companies and people to respect and protect life under water.

On the Horyou platform, organizations like Maradentro, based in Brazil, take a scientific approach to raise awareness about the risks that marine life is facing. Our community is always highlighting the issue in our blog and through discussions on our platform. You can also be part of this conversation!

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps protect life below water in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

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Cancer is still a taboo in many parts of the world. Especially in Asia, where there is an urgent need to raise awareness of...