The talented Japanese singer Miou is a humanist who wants to heal people’s hearts and promote world peace through her music. Her uniqueness and originality were displayed before the SIGEF 2016 audience as a performer during the Horyou Foundation Dinner in Marrakesh, as well as a panelist discussing the power of art in promoting positive change in our society. In the interview below, Miou talks about her personal experiences, plans and dreams for the future.

Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh
Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh

1. Tell  us about your relationship with music: have you always wanted to become a singer?

I have always loved music. I have played piano for 20 years and alto horn and trumpet in the school brass band club and took singing lessons. But it was always a hobby to me and I never dreamt of becoming a professional musician. I wanted to set up a band but I didn’t know what to do. So I asked my friends who had a band and they suggested to me to search for my band members on the internet. There was a website for that. So I did it and I met one person, listened to his songs and we decided to make a band together. His music was fusion Japanese, very unique, and reminded me of my experience as an international beauty pageant. I sang a Japanese traditional song as a national talent at the International pageant in Malaysia (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International). All the contestants were from different nationalities. But even if they didn’t understand the language, they loved the sound so much and the reaction was so good. And I felt “I am Japanese”. National tradition made me feel unique and original on the international stage. Since then, I have been trying to fuse traditional Japanese sound and modern western beat together, to create a “East meets West” crossover.

2.   What does music represent for you?

I was Miss Japan for various international beauty pageants and had a chance to represent my country and introduce Japanese culture to the world. Besides music, I studied education and medicine (nursery). I loved teaching and taking care of people in need. I have always liked to communicate with people. So I think my music is reflecting my personal experience and is a tool to convey my messages and communicate with people. I can teach and educate through music, I can heal people’s hearts through music as well. Music, culture and art have a strong power to convey messages and to change the world.

3.   What would you like to achieve as a singer?

I would like to heal people’s hearts through my music. I want to convey positive messages and promote world peace. Love ourselves, love our country, love our neighbours, love this planet, love our lives. The most important message is ”Love”. I like travelling as well and I want to sing around the world. Part of this dream came true in 2009, when I sang at the UNESCO’s world heritage site, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. I would like to do it more often!

4.   You made a performance during the SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – how do you evaluate this experience?

It was a great experience for me. As a Japanese artist, I have always cared about our environment. I believe everything is alive on Earth and we have to respect life, this planet is our mother and our home. If we hurt our planet, it is going to be difficult for us to live. If we take more care of this planet, it will be a better place for us to live in. Everything we do to the earth will come back to us. Some of my songs are also reflecting my respect and feelings towards nature, and messages to rethink about the environment and take an action to protect our mother land and home. So coming to Morocco to SIGEF was a very good experience for me as I felt I shared the same feelings and messages. I was inspired by others and I want to be the one to inspire others as well. I hope SIGEF continues to bring messages of respect of nature and world peace for more years to come.

5. What does social innovation mean to you? Do you have any cause you identify yourself with?

The social innovation and technology we have been experiencing is a great thing. This new evolution is allowing more people to share their views and bring their voices and feelings to the world. This is helping everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. It is also helping people like me, artists in general, as we now have more ways to reach out to our audience globally. As for me, I aim to bring Japan to the world with my music, and also share a message of harmony with the nature.

6. Do you have a project for 2017 that you would like to share with our community?

I am set to perform at Etna Comics 2017 in Sicily. When it comes to the Japanese culture, animes and comics are very popular and well known worldwide. However, we have not only pop culture, but also many other traditional and chic culture as well. I want to present aspects of Japanese traditional culture such as “KIREI(beautiful)” or “SHIBUI(chic)” “KAKKOII(cool)” styles at pop culture festivals as well. And I’m currently planning to write a song for an international movie about Japan.

7.   Horyou’s tagline is dream, inspire and act. What do these words mean to you?

I think ACT is very important to make our dreams come true. Pursuing our dreams would INSPIRE others to take an action. We can always DREAM how we want to be. If we ACT, DREAM will become reality, our dreams will INSPIRE others to DREAM and ACT. Everything starts from dreaming, taking one action. We can inspire others to dream and act! Nothing is impossible.

Engagée sur les thèmes de la préservation des forets et de l’accès à l’eau potable aux populations des pays africains, la ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo, Rosalie Matondo, était une invitée très spéciale du SIGEF à Marrakesh, lors de la COP22. Paneliste au premier jour du Forum, elle nous a parlé sur les projets du gouvernement congolais pour l’environnement et sur l’importance de la COP22 pour mettre les accords sur le changement climatique en action.

La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF
La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF

Pouvez-vous nous expliquer sur vos projets de préservation des forêts au Congo et son impact social?

Les forêts, comme nous le savons, régulent les équilibres climatiques mondiaux. Étant conscients de cela, nous avons lancé un grand programme national de reforestation et de reboisement d’un million de plantations. Nous avons une grande superficie de forêts naturelles au Congo et nous sommes conscients que nous devons les préserver. D’un autre coté, le bois est encore utilisé comme source d’énergie extraite des forêts naturelles dans beaucoup de nos pays. C’est pourquoi le gouvernement de la République du Congo a lancé ce programme de reforestation et reboisement, afin que les populations non seulement continuent à utiliser le bois comme source d’énergie, le bois issu des plantations, mais également à pouvoir faire un grand projet de séquestration du carbone.

Le deuxième projet c’est “L’eau pour tous”. Le gouvernement congolais a lancé un programme d’installation de 4 mille forages dans les villages où l’eau de source pose encore un problème. Cela permet l’approvisionnement de l’eau potable mais également d’alléger la pénibilité des femmes qui dans les villages sont obligées de faire des kilomètres pour aller puiser le l’eau.

Durant la COP22, le gouvernement Congolais a lancé un fond de préservation des forêts. De quoi s’agit-il?

C’est le fond bleu pour le Bassin du Congo, toujours pour cet accès à l’eau mais également pour les systèmes de production modernes de l’agriculture, donc des systèmes d’irrigation. La COP22 pour nous c’est une opportunité de financement et de transfert de technologie. Nous savons que les gouvernements peuvent participer au financement de nos projets. Notre attente ici c’est que, déjà, tous ensemble, nous travaillions sur le transfert de technologies et tous ensemble, nous réfléchissions sur la mobilisation et le financement.

La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l'Environnement de la République du Congo
La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo

Quelles sont les axes de développement de la République du Congo pour la COP22?

Nous avons les acquis de la COP de Paris, parce que nous partons de là. Dans la COP de Paris, les pays du Bassin du Congo avaient donné leur position, et nous, la République du Congo, avons appuyé cette position des pays d’Afrique, des pays du Bassin du Congo et également des 77 pays plus la Chine. Pour nous, toutes les décisions prise lors de la COP21 de Paris sont incontestables, maintenant nous devons aller vers l’opérationnalisation ; c’est pourquoi je remercie son altesse royale qui a mis l’accent sur l’action ici sur la COP22. Nous devons aller vers l’action. Je crois que toutes nos populations sont fatiguées des promesses qui n’apportent pas de solutions. La COP21 à Paris a démontré que nous avons tous pris conscience de la gravité de la situation et même les pays qui n’ont pas signé le Protocol de Kyoto ont signé l’Accord de Paris. Nous avons vu avec quelle rapidité l’Accord est entré en vigueur et c’est un espoir pour la planète toute entière. Nous voulons nous accrocher à cette espoir et trouver des solutions et mettre en action.

De quelle manière le changement climatique a affecté le Bassin du Congo et quelles sont les mesures pour réduire cet impact?

Le Bassin du Congo est la zone où la déforestation est la moins importante. Nous n’avons que 0,05% de déforestation. Mais nous n’en sommes pas contents. Nous savons que ce poumon là, comme le poumon de l’Amazonie, peut aider la planète. C’est pourquoi la République du Congo, après les années 2000, a opté dans sa législation pour une gestion durable des forêts, avec un aménagement forestier, avec la certification forestière, avec le programme national de reforestation et reboisement ; au total, 13% de son territoire est ainsi protégé. Tous ces efforts convergent vers la contribution à la préservation de cet écosystème. Et nous allons vers un fond bleu pour le bassin du Congo qui va aider à la gestion des plans d’eau mais aussi à l’approvisionnement des populations.

Écrit par Vivian Soares

Contar histórias emocionantes para promover mudanças positivas na sociedade. Esse é o propósito do publicitário Marco Iarussi, que promove campanhas digitais na internet com o objetivo de arrecadar fundos para projetos de cunho social e humanitário. Fundador do projeto “Curta a Ideia – Vídeos que Mobilizam”, Marco é um membro ativo da nossa plataforma e um dos concorrentes ao SIGEF Project Awards. Ele falou com o nosso blog sobre suas conquistas, planos para o futuro e sobre a proposta de fazer “marketing pelo bem”.

Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF
Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF

1. Qual é a história do Curta a Ideia?

Sou publicitário e conheci a jornalista Tati Vadiletti quando trabalhávamos em um programa de televisão, na cidade de São Paulo. Apesar de sermos apaixonados pela comunicação e o audiovisual, sentíamos que aquele trabalho não despertava uma transformação na vida das pessoas. Nós acreditamos que a comunicação é uma ferramenta poderosa para transformar realidades, por isso fomos em busca do nosso sonho: contar histórias através de vídeos que mobilizam.

Foi por isso que em 2011 surgiu o ‘Curta a Ideia’ com a proposta de ser um canal de vídeos na internet que promove iniciativas e profissionais que oferecem o seu talento para transformar realidades. Nossa intenção sempre foi registrar histórias de pessoas que conectadas com seu coração, que serviam ao próximo ou defendiam uma causa. Por conta disso, o trabalho teve uma grande aceitação com organizações do terceiro setor; foi então que encontramos o nosso propósito: colocar nossa expertise com comunicação e audiovisual a serviço de grande causas, impulsionando iniciativas na internet com um video envolvente, que convida a uma transformação. É isso que sempre fizemos: vídeos que mobilizam! Nosso slogan é o que melhor nos define: “luz, câmera e coração”!

2. Um trabalho paralelo que você desenvolve são as campanhas de marketing digital para pessoas carentes. O que motivou a criação desse projeto?

Nosso propósito sempre foi usar a comunicação para promover o bem e nós acreditamos no poder da internet para gerar bondade. Embora o propósito das redes sociais seja conectar pessoas, o ambiente tecnológico muitas vezes distancia o homem das relações humanas. Nossa intenção com as campanhas sociais é criar a oportunidade para quebrar esse gelo, gerar conexões, oferecer ao usuário das redes a chance de praticar a empatia e, quem sabe, transformar uma vida.

3. Uma das campanhas mais bem-sucedidas que você desenvolveu foi para uma paciente que necessitava de células-tronco. Como você conheceu a história da Gigi e o que te mobilizou a trabalhar nessa campanha voluntariamente?

A campanha da Gigi foi extraordinária. Um caso que veio para comprovar a nossa missão de vida. Conhecemos a Gigi no Centro Espiritual do João De Deus, um médium brasileiro conhecido internacionalmente. Ela estava lá em busca da cura e o caso dela nos chamou muita atenção, por isso sabíamos que as pessoas na internet poderiam se engajar naquela causa. O curioso é que ela estava há muito tempo pedindo ajuda de porta em porta e sua presença na internet era quase inexistente, por isso havia muita dificuldade na arrecadação e o valor de 30 mil dólares era um objetivo quase impossível, mas por obra do acaso, ela encontrou justamente um casal que trabalha com marketing digital para causas sociais. Foi então que começou uma linda história de amor, boas ações e generosidade. Em poucos dias a campanha rodou o mundo e a Gigi recebeu doações do Japão, Finlândia, Austrália, Suiça, entre outros países. Em vinte dias, a campanha teve que ser finalizada, pois já tinha atingido múltiplas vezes o valor necessário, o que possibilitou o pagamento do mesmo tratamento para outras duas pessoas. Essa ação se tornou a maior campanha solidária do Brasil em 2016. Foi muito emocionante receber mensagens de pessoas nos agradecendo por ter dado a elas oportunidade de ajudar o próximo.

Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia
Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia

4. Conte quais foram os principais destaques do ano de 2016 e seus planos para 2017.

Além da campanha da Gigi, promovemos também outras três ações, sendo que a do Lucas José pode ser considerada a segunda maior campanha solidária do ano. Atualmente estamos com a campanha ‘Ame a Fernanda’, uma brasileira de 34 anos que foi aceita em pesquisas para a cura da AME – Atrofia Muscular Espinhal nos Estados Unidos. Ela tem grandes chances de sair da cadeira de rodas e voltar a andar, embora o tratamento seja gratuito ela precisa de fundos para custear sua permanência por um ano e meio no país. Estamos empenhados em conseguir mobilizar pessoas que apoiem essa causa, mas é uma corrida contra o tempo, pois ela tem somente até o mês de janeiro para entrar no programa de pesquisas. Para 2017 queremos ampliar a nossa atuação com o marketing pelo bem. Sabemos que muitas pessoas precisam de uma chance para transformar sua vida e que, por outro lado, muitas outras podem praticar a generosidade e olhar para o próximo.

5. Quais são os seus principais desafios e o que te motiva a superá-los?

Nosso maior desafio é nos tornarmos um canal de confiança, onde as pessoas possam realizar doações na certeza de que farão para uma iniciativa transparente, ética e comprometida. Infelizmente, existe uma certa desconfiança com projetos sociais na internet, mas nosso compromisso é com a prestação de contas e transparência das ações, pois devemos estimular a cultura da bondade e da colaboração no ambiente online. Quando as pessoas descobrirem o poder das redes sociais para promover boas ações, elas conseguirão mudar o mundo.

6. Você é um membro ativo de nossa comunidade e, este ano, participou com o seu projeto no SIGEF. Como avalia essa experiência?

Apresentar o nosso projeto no SIGEF2016 foi uma oportunidade de compartilhar com iniciativas globais o nosso propósito de promover o bem na internet. No evento, pessoas do mundo inteiro puderam trocar experiências, aumentar o seu repertório e certamente voltaram com muito mais vontade de fazer acontecer suas melhores intenções. Foi assim com a gente!

7. Qual mensagem você deixaria para a nossa comunidade Horyou?

Dizem que os bons são a maioria e que os querem mudar os mundo são muitos, mas eles estão espalhados por aí… Eu digo que a Horyou é o canal onde essas pessoas se encontram. Sempre que estou na plataforma, me encho de esperança vendo tantas iniciativas incríveis. O que tenho a dizer aos membros da comunidade é que o amor nos conecta e que eu acredito que conseguiremos mudar esse planeta, através deste amor.

Entrevista: Vívian Soares

SIGEF Project Awards winner talks about her action in Latin America

El Pozo de Vida, the SIGEF Awards winner of 2016
El Pozo de Vida, the SIGEF Awards winner of 2016

This year’s edition of SIGEF focused on innovative solutions for a better future in various fields such as social entrepreneurship, technology, climate, environment and sustainability. In this perspective, SIGEF hosted exceptional speakers, innovators, entrepreneurs and philanthropists all along the conference to defend their ideas and make a positive change in the world.

As every year, a SIGEF project awards ceremony was organized to celebrate the best participating projects that contribute to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and promote social good around the world. This year, 20 projects were presented to a jury of international experts and specialists in different fields. The winner of this year’s competition was “El Pozo de Vida A.C.”, an organization that grapples with human trafficking and sexual exploitation through innovative prevention strategies, integral support to victims, empowerment, healing and opportunities for girls and women coming out of the sex industry.

“We work against human trafficking, not just child trafficking but also adult human trafficking because we believe in freedom for everyone.” says Kathleen Gately de Delgado. Kathleen is a young passionate woman, who came all the way from Mexico to Marrakech to represent her organization and share her interest with the rest of the world. “El Pozo de Vida” is operating mainly in Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil. It started six years ago by building a safe home for underage trafficking survivors. Later, the team opened a transition home for girls over 18. Today, “El Pozo de Vida” is operating in two more employment programs. One for women who are 23 to 52 years old working in the red light district, and another for migrants in immigration centers. “In these programs we use development, education, vocational training, psychological and medical care to reach to and help them heal from human trafficking“, says Kathleen.

El Pozo de Vida’s team focuses on prevention of human trafficking on a large scale for better efficiency. First, their concept was about sharing human trafficking victim’s stories on DVDs; but they soon realized that DVDs were outdated and that people were now using smartphones. Thus the virtual reality simulators. They called this prevention program “Awake”. It’s already been launched in Mexico with five five female victims from different places in the world telling their upsetting stories. “The reason trafficking happens is because people dehumanize another person. But, when you hear their voices, when you see them face to face, you connect with them and no longer see them as a statistic, but as a real person”, explains Kathleen.

Also, through virtual reality, the viewer gets closer to the portrayed person. “Hearing and knowing that these are their words, this is what they wanted to say, and these are the questions they have for the world. There is something that touches your heart”, she adds. And these virtual reality simulators did make real change; in schools, for example, children and parents now have a better understanding of the dangers of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. “When we show the program, for example, they don’t get to go right away to the happy ending, because the idea is to talk about what trafficking is and what’s happens after. The story in the middle until the final end gets someone to say: I want to make a difference”. The idea is to screen it in schools and stimulate students to “make a difference” just with small gestures, like sharing on social media and starting to see the dangers.

Kathleen cried when receiving the SIGEF2016 award for best project. On this matter, she expressed gratitude to Horyou and enthusiasm to do more for her organization in the future.

Written by Ghada Jalal

Based in Zurich, Jorge Romero is a Colombian-American photographer with a social good flare and multitasking skills. Alongside his photography project, he also runs a web design company and is nurturing many other projects that will take the best of many years to come. We are happy to feature yet another active Horyou personality in our blog!

Jorge Romero is an active member of our platform
Jorge Romero is an active member of our platform

1. How and when did you become a photographer?

I have creativity in my blood. It started with music while I was growing up, until I realized it’s a crapshoot job. I then Studied Information Systems and got into the corporate world. This is when I started looking for some type of inspiration. I looked to photography. I knew I wanted to create something of my own and, at the same time, stand on my feet doing it. And here I am, self taught in the art of photography over 12 years – and working as a professional photographer for the last 5 years. I now have a startup web design company focusing on small companies and individuals, with photography as one of my services. 

Jorge aims to inspire through his photos
Jorge aims to inspire through his photos

2.   What does photography mean to you?

Photography to me is the art of observing. This means seeing something before it actually happens. Creating something and envisioning it before taking the photograph. Patience is key.

3.  What are your inspiration sources?

My inspiration comes from multiple areas. Traveling, reading peoples stories in life, listening to inspiring speakers, movies, musicians, dancers, nature, and analyzing other photographers’ techniques. Anything that has a creativity element is my inspiration. I harness that when I am behind the camera. 

Shot of the streets of Marrakesh
Shot of the streets of Marrakesh

4.   You create poetic images that give a sense of hope, continuity and optimism. Why did you decide to take this approach?

It’s simple: we need it. It feels good to me and I hope to reciprocate that feeling.

5.   What would you like to achieve as a photographer?

I want to continue inspiring others with my view of life through my lens and I hope to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to educate people on the importance of good photography that has meaning and bring back the quality of a photo that has substance. In our time, we have lost it thanks to the digital camera. 

His works have a sense of continuity and hope
His works have a sense of continuity and hope

6. Do you plan for the images you want to capture beforehand or do you work with an open mind?

I always work with an open mind but sometimes I do not have that luxury when working for some of my clients. For the most part, I make a note on the photos I need for a job or project with open eyes more than open mind. If there is an emotional link with what I observe, then it might be something worth taking a picture of.

7. Do you have a project for 2017 that you would like to share with our community?

A few personal projects. One dealing with a photo series called “Beyond the Frame”. The other is studio work. Working with objects and water on a small scale. The third is a travel series which would probably be towards the end of next year or 2018. In addition, I would like to increase my collaboration with Horyou and its affiliates as regards to the importance of what people are doing around the world. People outside the community need to see and hear more about it.


8.   Horyou’s tagline is dream, inspire and act. What do these words mean to you?

That is a very interesting question because my own tagline is Observe, Create, Inspire. I would tie “dream” with “observe” which to me equates with observing and dreaming about what I think would be a great shot before acting on it. “Act” and “create” go hand in hand. Without it, you end up with nothing to show for your efforts. “Inspire” is what it is all about. What is the point of dream, observe, act, and create if you cannot inspire others with your vision, creativity, and aspirations for doing good. This is what we need more than ever.

Written by Vívian Soares

Jorge Romero’s portfolio:

Web Design business:

The Sustainable Development Goals are admirable and necessary –still, they are more an agenda than a set of concrete policies. In a new report, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of strategies and real policies to achieve the global objectives by 2030.

Policy Innovations for Transformative Change was launched on October 17th
Policy Innovations for Transformative Change was launched on October 17th

Launched on the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, October 17, Walking the Talk, the UNRIDS report on Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, brought a clear message to the governments and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the SDGs, engaging them to act on turning the agenda into fact. Displaying a full range of case studies along with a research-based social policy innovation approach, the report offers sustainable development, social care and economic solidarity solutions through the lens of transformative change.

Katja Rujo, the report coordinator for UNRIDS, asserted that transformative change digs to the roots of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction and is thus more effective than simply treating their symptoms. Palliative and one-size-fits-all interventions, for instance, are not enough; innovative and eco-social policies are more effective, as long as they promote sustainable production and consumption, power re-configurations and changes in economic and social structures.

Such programs are currently implemented in Brazil and India where an integrated approach that aims to achieve both social and environmental goals has been adopted. In Brazil, for instance, a program established in 2011 provides financial incentives to families that make a living out of collected forest products in return for a commitment to adopt a sustainable use of natural resources. In India, again, the law guarantees at least 100 days of paid employment each year for every rural household that focuses on water security, soil conservation and higher land productivity.


On the care system side, the Uruguayan program Sistema Nacional de Cuidado enrolls young children and adults with specific needs or disabilities in the solidarity system, providing them with a minimum life quality standards. The program is a result of a broad political mobilization which includes social movements, women legislators and academics.

Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Social Protection Department with the International Labour Organization (ILO), pointed out that transformative change is a policy that reflects a new paradigm formed in the early 2000s in line with the SDGs. “It is the concept that social, economic and environmental issues are integrated, and that we should create policies and safety networks for everybody, not only the poor”, she explained.

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of real policies to achieve the SDGs
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of real policies to achieve the SDGs

The six keys areas mapped by the report are social policy, care, climate change, domestic resource mobilization, governance and social and solidarity economy. This multidisciplinary approach opens the gates to solutions in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It requires, however, a commitment from all actors on local, national, regional and global levels. “In 2016, 132 countries are cutting their budgets – not only in rich Europe but in many developing countries. How to implement SDGs in this scenario?”, asks Isabel. The answer might lie in innovation and efficiency – and research plays a vital role in this equation.

Written by Vivian Soares

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