A two-day event will discuss challenges faced by children in urban areas; they will include a Hackathon and roundtables on innovation.

Girl in a Turkish language class in a refugee camp in southern Turkey
Girl in a Turkish language class in a refugee camp in southern Turkey

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan will host a two-day event on Innovation and Technology for Children at Astana EXPO 2017. On the 18th and 19th of August, international and local experts in technology, innovators and entrepreneurs will join thought leaders and members of the academia, along with public sector officials to discuss the challenges faced by children growing up in cities.

On the 18th of August, young programmers from Astana, Almaty and other Kazakhstan cities will compete in a hackathon entitled “Innovating for children in an Urban World”. Participants will offer prototype solutions to children’s challenges in urban areas that range from tackling air pollution and improving safety to providing accessible transportation and safer streets for children.

Adolescent girls use cellphones and tablets in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees
Adolescent girls use cellphones and tablets in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees

The 19th of August will organize talks on “Advancing the Rights of Children through Innovation” and will gather international speakers from UNICEF, Google.org (Google’s charitable arm), Project Connect (global mapping project on schools’ internet connectivity), the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and Youth Policy Labs (a global think-tank on youth) to share their expertise on expanding opportunities for children and youth through innovation.

UNICEF Talks will also feature promising change-makers, start-ups, corporate and public sector pioneers from Kazakhstan who will discuss challenges and opportunities in the country’s emergent innovation ecosystem.

UNICEF innovation for children at Astana Expo

Time: 09:30-18:00

Date: 18 – 19 August 2017

Place: Creative Energy Pavillion, Expo

Speakers: International speakers from UNICEF, Google.org (Google’s charitable arm), Project Connect (global mapping project on schools’ internet connectivity), The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and Youth Policy Labs (a global think-tank on youth).

The Horyou’s 4th Edition of SIGEF will take place during EXPO 2017 Astana, in Kazakhstan. The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana. More information on www.sigef2017.com and consult agenda or register your attendance.

Foi a partir da pergunta: ‘como seria o mundo se a Mercur não existisse mais?’ que a empresa que fabrica borrachas e produtos para a saúde, começou um projeto de transformação há quase dez anos. Desde então vem revendo seus projetos de gestão e sustentabilidade. Entre as mudanças mais importantes, a Mercur passou a investir em negócios locais, substituindo importações por compra de insumos nacionais, e incentivando pequenos empreendedores a vender sua produção em uma feira orgânica organizada internamente para funcionários. Um trabalho com comunidades extrativistas no Pará e no Acre garante que os seringueiros recebam remuneração justa e consigam proteger e conservar as florestas, sem pensar em extrair o máximo para ganhar o mínimo. Pensando nessa visão para o futuro, a Mercur criou um Laboratório de Inovação Social, onde investe em educação e diálogo com os colaboradores da empresa para manter o tema presente e vivo na cultura corporativa. Entrevistamos Jorge Hoelzel Neto, facilitador da Mercur, sobre os projetos de sustentabilidade da companhia.

A empresa faz parcerias com cooperativas e comunidades seringueiras
A empresa faz parcerias com cooperativas e comunidades seringueiras

Quais foram os motivadores para que a Mercur iniciasse seus investimentos em novos projetos sustentáveis?

A partir de um olhar para o futuro com lentes mais sensíveis, passando a considerar não apenas as questões econômico/financeiras, mas também as questões humanas, sociais e ambientais, percebemos a necessidade de considerar também um novo modelo de gestão, que pudesse dar conta de necessidades que passavam de forma despercebidas nos planejamentos que fazíamos. Esta avaliação iniciou em 2008, e, de lá para cá, os principais resultados já alcançados têm a ver com a evolução do diálogo entre as pessoas que interagem com a empresa e da co-criação de novas possibilidades na busca da construção de um mundo que possa ser mais confortável para todos. Os projetos surgem nesse contexto, como pano de fundo para uma atuação que busca e experimenta o que não era conhecido por nós até então, com o objetivo de viabilizar soluções legítimas com as pessoas que nos relacionamos.

Você acredita que empresas com responsabilidade social têm resultados melhores? De que forma essas ações e projetos de sustentabilidade se traduziram em resultados corporativos?

A Mercur não estabeleceu essa caminhada com a intenção de atuar como uma empresa que, através da comunicação ou de projetos de responsabilidade social, tem melhores resultados, em função do reconhecimento das pessoas. Toda a legitimidade do nosso processo de gestão está em não ser pautado em modelos pré-existentes, modismos e tendências. Buscamos uma atuação coerente aos nossos valores e direcionamentos, nos orientamos a partir deles e vamos encontrando soluções que fazem sentido para nós.

Acreditamos que por meio do “desenvolvimento do ser humano” podemos contribuir para a formação de uma sociedade mais preparada para a construção do seu próprio sistema de vida. E é esse o resultado que nos interessa, se queremos que nossos produtos e serviços possam ter consumidores, precisaremos construir, com estes mesmos, um novo modelo ou sistema de produção e consumo que sustente a vida humana no planeta de forma sustentável.

Workshop sobre inovação e sustentabilidade com funcionários da empresa
Workshop sobre inovação e sustentabilidade com funcionários da empresa

Como funciona o laboratório de inovação social e quais são os seus objetivos?

O Laboratório de Inovação Social Mercur foi pensado com o objetivo de ser um ambiente que permita à empresa vivenciar descobertas e promover interações com a comunidade e públicos com os quais se relaciona. A ideia é que o espaço seja um instrumento que promova momentos significativos de ensinar e aprender e, também, de criação de soluções que ajudem a melhorar a vida das pessoas, a partir de necessidades legítimas e da convivência com elas. O LAB comporta dois modelos de atividades chamadas de aprendizagem e prototipação. Os espaços de aprendizagem são as atividades em que as pessoas colocam seus conhecimentos a serviço de outras pessoas, criando momentos significativos de ensinar e aprender. Essas ações podem acontecer por meio de uma oficina, roda de conversa, palestra ou até mesmo de um filme que gostariam de compartilhar. Já os espaços de prototipação são as atividades de colocar a mão na massa para construir protótipos de produtos ou serviços.

Qual a visão da empresa para o futuro?

Ao construir intensas interlocuções em busca de se tornar uma indústria mais próxima e relevante para seus públicos, a Mercur foi conhecendo melhor a sua vocação e atualizando naturalmente a sua proposta de atuação. Recentemente fizemos um exercício de imaginar a empresa que queríamos ser em 2050 e concluímos que gostaríamos de continuar sendo uma organização comprometida com a construção de relacionamentos que valorizam a vida, sobretudo em iniciativas locais voltadas à criação de bem -estar. Essa visão foi transformada em macro-objetivos estratégicos e em decisões que possam viabilizá-los em perspectivas de tempo apropriadas, isto é, que levem em conta a gestão de potenciais externalidades.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja o futuro, seja Horyou

One of the youngest and fastest-growing capitals in the world, Astana, in Kazakhstan, impresses by its landscapes, as well as its warmhearted people and state of the art architecture.

Astana is one of the fastest-growing capitals in the world
Astana is one of the fastest-growing capitals in the world

A major oil, coal, uranium and gas producer, Kazakhstan faces a good challenge in showing the world how to promote alternative energies in a global warming scenario as until September, Expo 2017 will attract around 95 countries and up to 5 million visitors. The event structure includes 80,000 personnel and a 173 hectares for the pavilions. Participants will have the chance to be presented with a wide variety of projects from companies and countries on the subjects of renewable sources of power, conscious consumption and technology.

It is in that context that the host city for Expo 2017 will be welcoming tourists, government officials, entrepreneurs and scientists to the biggest gathering on energy in the world this year. One of its most important side events will be SIGEF 2017, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum by Horyou. It will contemplate Future Energy, Smart Cities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Astana has been preparing for the event for years, not only by building infrastructure but also by committing to provide its visitors with an overall good experience that minimizes the impact on the environment. One good example is the agreement signed a year ago with the International Labor Organization, regarding sustainable tourism, whereby the country commits to promote green energy solutions in hotels and to organize a conference on tourism and future energy.

Since it is the first time that an exhibition of this kind is taking place in a former Soviet Union country and Middle Asia Region, the organizers are eager to show more than expected from a world class fossil fuel producer. “We already use these technologies in the construction of buildings for the exhibition: embedded photovoltaic panels, installed wind turbines and geothermal systems,” said Aydar Marat, representative of the Astana EXPO-2017 committee.

The Horyou’s 4th Edition of SIGEF will take place during EXPO 2017 Astana, in Kazakhstan. The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana. More information on www.sigef2017.com and consult agenda or register your attendance.

Eurostat launched a report showing the progression of the European Union towards the 2020 social and economic targets.

The report highlights the main achievements of  EU 2020 targets
The report highlights the main achievements of EU 2020 targets

2020 is only three years from now and, surely, a lot has been already accomplished. Still there’s so much left to do in such short time. One major point raised by Eurostat is that he European Union lacks cohesion between its member States when it has to deliver better levels of employment and productivity while reducing the impact on the environment.

Europe 2020 targets cover five areas of concern: Employment, Research & Development, Climate Change & Energy, Education and Poverty Reduction. Each member state has its own national target within the common targets. By analyzing the data, Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, produced a report called “Smarter, greener, more inclusive?”, in which it details the Unions accomplishments since 2008, as well as it outlines the programs major trends.

The report thus highlights the “substantial progress” made in the area of climate change and energy, through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, combined with an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy. Positive developments have been made also in education, through an increased tertiary education and a reduced number of early leavers from higher education.

The areas where progress was limited were employment and R&D expenditure, while poverty reduction has reached poor results since 2008.

When analyzing each EU Member State data, Eurostat shows there’s still a lack of cohesion among the 27 countries. When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases emissions, for example, States as Portugal and Denmark have surpassed their targets on energy consumption and efficiency when France and Italy are still far from honoring their commitments and are hardly likely to do so by 2020.

From the poverty reduction perspective, only a few countries, like Austria and Bulgaria, have shown a slight development, while Spain and Greece are struggling to reach the 2020 targets. Currently, 23% of the EU population faces the risk of poverty or social exclusion, while employment rates among females have risen since 2008, inducing a vulnerability of this gender group.

Access the full report here

All 2020 targets are directly or indirectly related to the UN Sustainable Development Targets and are part of the EU commitment to the social and economic inclusion of its population.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

As a network organization, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie aims to educate and support social entrepreneurs and innovators. Established in 2010, the institution is a joint initiative of four universities from Munich, Germany. By coaching startups and helping students and professionals to gain entrepreneurial skills to solve global challenges, the SE Akademie embeds the idea of social entrepreneurship in society. Horyou blog interviewed the team spokeswoman Kristina Notz about the network and the social innovation landscape.

SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between  four German universities
SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between four German universities

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur faces similar challenges and there are many. We observe that some social entrepreneurs have more difficulties to think and talk about profit, since they are impact-driven. At the same time they need more time to figure out their business model, to find funding, and to convince people and supporters. In the social sector, it is a challenge to find and retain talent, even though it seems to be an attractive working environment at first sight. The ability to stay motivated intrinsically is key.

Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals ? Do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Yes, we’re using the SDGs in most of our workshops as a starting point to raise people’s awareness and give impulses towards the field they could become active in as a social entrepreneur. Many of the social enterprises we support tackle one of the challenges addressed by the SDGs.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?  

My vision is that all entrepreneurship is social and we can leave out the word “social” and herewith differentiate. The future is that every entrepreneurial activity respects the triple bottom line and bears in mind people, planet, and profit. And I strongly believe this is possible but requires a certain change in mind-set.

Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects
Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks offer powerful tools to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and bring its idea and examples to a broader audience. Platforms like yours are very valuable to the sector since you showcase best practices and role models and inspire others, and ideally turn information into action.

In our work, Social media are our main tool to reach out to and stay in touch with our participants and alumni. We focus as well on offline networks, make people meet and experience the network face to face. They can learn from each other, be inspired by others and exchange ideas and best practices. The flux of ideas, learnings, dreams, and failures contributes a lot to the venture development and success.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Forced marriage is still an issue that affects more than 700 million women globally – a third of them are less than 18. In order to raise awareness of this issue, the UNICEF partnered with major African artists to write a song against child marriage.

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)
In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married – in countries like Benin, one in ten girls is married under the age of 15. More than depicting a social issue, these statistics are alarming from a health care standpoint as many of these girls are not able-bodied for childbearing and could face permanent physical and psychological damage.

As part of the Zero Tolerance Campaign against child marriage that the government launched last June, nine artists from Benin committed themselves to breaking the silence around child marriage. UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors Angélique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib, supported by Danialou Sagbohan, Kalamoulaï, Don Métok, Sessimè, Dibi Dobo, Norberka and Olga Vigouroux, gathered to craft a deeply moving song and a video that call the population to act.

“A little girl is still a child. She cannot be a mother or a bride. Let her grow up to live a fulfilling life. Say NO to child marriage!”; so goes the song, co-written by Angelique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib.

The artists sing in a variety of languages, including Fon, Mina, Mahi, Sahouè, Yoruba, Goun, Bariba and French in order for the message to spread throughout the country and neighbouring countries.

Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause
Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause

“The impact on these girls is terrible. Once married, they no longer go to school, they are raped, they get pregnant, which puts their health and that of their baby in danger. We artists are saying NO to all these injustices! Girls are not the property of anyone; they have the right to choose their own destinies”, says Beninese pop star Zeynab Abib, who was able to mobilise Benin’s greatest artists around this cause.

Early marriage prevents girls from getting proper education and leads them to poverty, while enforcing the prevalence of traditions and belief systems that are tied to the continued practice of child marriage.

“We need all the strength and weapons we can muster to fight the scourge of child marriage. Art, especially music, is a powerful weapon. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘politics can be strengthened by music, but music has a potency that defies politics’. This power must be harnessed!” says Dr Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF Representative in Benin.

Watch the video [English subtitles] [SAY NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE]1 Watch the video [French subtitles] [DISONS NON AU MARIAGE DES ENFANTS]2

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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A two-day event will discuss challenges faced by children in urban areas; they will include a Hackathon and roundtables on innovation. The United Nations Children’s...