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Una red global para la innovación a través del aprendizaje y la colaboración, los Fab Labs son espacios de pura creatividad y tecnología. Ahí, uno puede fabricar casi cualquier cosa y generar impactos positivos ambientales, sociales o incluso ayudar a crear nuevas formas de pensar en nuestro mundo. Visitamos Fab Lab Barcelona, el primero de la Unión Europea, y entrevistamos a uno de sus creadores.

Working space Fab LAB Barcelona

Caminando entre mesas de trabajo, talleres de carpintería e impresoras 3D, tuve la impresión de estar en un hueco entre el pasado, un tiempo en que producíamos con nuestras manos todo lo que necesitábamos, y el futuro, el tiempo en que llegaríamos a transformar nuestros sueños e ideas en realidad palpable. En el Fab Lab Barcelona el idioma común es la curiosidad y la voluntad de repensar el mundo en que vivimos. En uno de los hubs disruptivos más importantes de Europa, el distrito de innovación de Poblenou, conversé con Tomas Diez, el director de Fab City Research Lab y uno de los creadores de Fab Lab Barcelona.

Cuál es la historia del Fab Lab?

El primer Fab Lab del mundo aparece el Boston en 2002, como resultado de cooperación entre MIT and National Science Foundation, y a partir de diferentes coincidencias se ha convertido en una red global. El Fab Lab Barcelona es el primero de la Unión Europea, abrimos en Marzo del 2017. Cuándo abrimos, habían diez Fab Labs en el mundo, hoy hay 1200.

Los Fab Labs son una franquicia?

No, es una red que se identifica con una serie de valores comunes, luego tiene cierto nivel de curadoría de lo que son los espacios, sobretodo en el tipo de tecnología que hay en ellos a través de un inventario común. En esta red hay también eventos comunes, cada año nos reunimos en una ciudad del mundo para hacer una conferencia mundial de Fab Labs, y luego una serie de proyectos para que los Fab Labs empiecen a tener impacto mucho más allá de lo que está relacionado con su existencia. Por lo tanto, los Fab Labs son espacios de aprendizaje y de producción cultural más que de producción fisica. Y ahora los veo como espacios que empiezan a crear proyectos que tienen la misión de generar cambios.

Puedes dar un ejemplo del tema de cambio de impacto social o ambiental?

Para mi la misión fundamental del Fab Lab es cambiar primero como funciona nuestro sistema productivo, como lo convertimos de un sistema extractivo a un sistema regenerativo a través de la economía circular o espiral, y por otro lado generar otro tipo de impacto social que vaya más allá de simplemente impacto económico puro y duro del PIB, que no sea un impacto de cantidad sino que vaya dirigido al empoderamiento. Y eso a través del conocimiento, de la alfabetización digital, que ya no incluya solamente un ordenador, un móvil, una plataforma digital, sino también herramientas de fabricación digital para solucionar problemas y necesidades locales. En la trayectoria de una persona en un Fab Lab vemos que este nivel de empoderamiento ya empieza a cambiar el chip de las personas de esta idea de ‘aprender algo para que alguién me emplee’, a tener un trabajo para ser parte de las cosas como son, para empezar a crear el mundo que uno quiere. Es por eso que han salido de aqui estudiantes de todas partes del mundo que empiezan otros Fab Labs, porque creen poder generar proyectos que no tienen solamente impacto económico, sino también ambiental y social. Y sobre todo gente que sale con una filosofía de trabajo muy diferente, colaborativa y más abierta.

El Fab Lab Barcelona es también una escuela?

Si, el Fab Lab Barcelona esta dentro del Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña, que tiene programas educativos principalmente a nivel de Másters, de Arquitectura, Diseño, Ciudades, que conectan la tecnología con diferentes disciplinas y hacen una investigación un poco más profunda. El Fab Lab, a parte de servir a estos Masters, tiene también su própia agenda complementaria para generar impacto social y también de albergar iniciativas y proyectos en esta dirección. Esto significa retar los sistemas de producción de alimentos, de energía, de datos, la distribución de bienes; nos interesa mucho el tema de criptomonedas, por ejemplo, de inteligencia artificial, biomateriales… Estamos abriendo muchas líneas de investigación a través de proyectos Europeos y multidisciplinarios.

[El Fab Lab Barcelona tiene un programa intensivo de aprendizaje que enseña a estudiantes de todo el mundo a diseñar, fabricar prototipos y a inventar casi cualquier cosa usando herramientas y tecnologías digitales. Las inscripciones están abiertas y el programa empieza en Enero de 2018!]

Fab Labs all over the world

Fab Lab – Learning for Innovation and Social Impact

A global network for innovation through learning and collaboration, the Fab Labs are spaces of pure creativity and technology. There, one can make almost anything and generate positive environmental and social impact or even help create new ways of thinking about our world. We visited Fab Lab Barcelona, the first in the European Union, and interviewed one of its creators.

Walking between worktables, carpentry workshops and 3D printers, I had the impression that I was in a slit between the past, a time when we were producing with our hands everything we needed, and the future, the time when we would come to transform our dreams and ideas into a palpable reality. In Fab Lab Barcelona the common language is curiosity and the will to rethink the world in which we live. In one of the most important disruptive hubs in Europe, Poblenou’s innovation district, I spoke with Tomas Diez, director of Fab City Research Lab and one of the creators of Fab Lab Barcelona. What is the story of Fab Lab?

The world’s first Fab Lab appeared in Boston in 2002, as a result of a cooperation between MIT and the National Science Foundation; diverse coincidences eventually turned the concept into a global network. Fab Lab Barcelona, which opened in March 2017, was first in the European Union. When we opened it there were ten Fab Labs in the world, today there are 1200.

Fab Labs are a franchise?

No, it is a network that identifies itself with a series of common values, then it has a certain level of curatorship of what those spaces stand for, especially in the type of technology that exists in them through a common inventory. In this network there are also joint events, each year we meet in a different city to hold a world conference of Fab Labs, and examine a series of projects with an impact far beyond what is related to their existence. So Fab Labs are areas of learning and cultural production rather than physical production. And now I see them as spaces that begin to create projects that have the mission of generating change.

Can you give an example of social change or environmental impact?

For me the first and fundamental mission of Fab Lab is to change how our productive system works, as we convert it from an extractive system to a regenerative system through the circular or spiral economy; secondly to generate another type of social impact that goes beyond the simple pure and hard economic impact of GDP, which is not an impact of quantity but is aimed at empowerment. And that is through knowledge and digital literacy, which no longer are only comprised of a computer, a mobile phone and a digital platform but also manufactures digital tools to solve local problems and needs. In the trajectory of a person in a Fab Lab we see that this level of empowerment already begins to change people. They chip this idea of “learning something so that someone can employ me”, of having a job to be part of things as they are, to have an opening, or that “it can be a shock too”, to start creating the world they want. That’s why students from all over the world are starting Fab Labs because they believe they can generate projects that have not only economic but also environmental and social impact. And above all, they are people who come out with a very different collaborative, more open, work philosophy.

Fab Lab Barcelona is also a school?

Yes, Fab Lab Barcelona is part of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, which has educational programs mainly at the level of Masters, Architecture, Design, Cities, which connect technology with different disciplines and do a little more in-depth research. Fab Lab, apart from serving these Masters, also has its own complementary agenda to generate social impact and also to host initiatives and projects in this direction. However, to challenge the systems of food production, energy, data, distribution of goods, we are very interested in the issue of cryptomonitoring, for example, artificial intelligence, biomaterials… we are overcoming many lines of research through the European and multidisciplinary project.

Fab Lab Barcelona has a six-month intensive learning program that teaches students from around the world to design, prototype and invent almost anything using digital tools and technologies. Registration is open and the program starts in January 2018!

Barcelona is hosting its 8th annual Corporate Social Responsibility Week, an event which connects the public sector to companies and non-profit organizations to discuss the recent developments in CSR. Horyou team has visited the venue and reports on some success stories.

8th CSR Week Barcelona took place from 14th to 18th November

What can a food bank do about global warming? Why should a healthcare and beauty products industry career coach unemployed women? Those are merely signs that CSR is pushing companies to go beyond their backyard. We all find profit in a better world.

The 8th edition of the annual CSR Week in Barcelona was an indication that many companies are trying to run the extra mile through their environmental and social actions. On a panel titled «Conferencias Soc-Eco-Amb», held on Tuesday, four organizations from very diverse industries showcased their actions.

Miguel Ángel Trabado, Henkel Beauty and Healthcare regional head of Professional Partnership Services (PPS), shared the «Fundación Quiero Trabajo» experience inaugurated this year. The project provides hairdressing, clothing, styling and professional coaching to unemployed women, helping them to recover from a job loss and restore their self-confidence. So far, 53 women have received assessment and advice, and 71% have found a new job. «It’s important to notice that most of the work is done by volunteers, and the great majority are women as well», he said. It is a global project that has produced remarkable results in Spain, with a high rate of successful job placements.

Speaking for Metro de Madrid on its recently launched CSR Policy, in line with the 11th and 13th UN Sustainable Development Goals on Sustainable Cities and Climate Action respectively, Monica Mariscal insisted on the company’s commitment to invest in innovation and technology in order to deliver the best user travel experience. Metro de Madrid is thus reusing 80% of its consumed water and, in 2017, it will reduce by 25% its energy consumption. Insisting on the responsibility to cater for the vast diversity of its users, she disclosed that «From a social perspective, the company has a commitment to diversity, and is building accessible stations and training both employees and people with disability to better use the metro». The goal is to have 73% of all stations accessible to people with disability by 2030.

Ana Gonzales talks about the CSR and Environment projects in Caprabo

As for the national supermarket chain Caprabo and its microdonations program, it is striving to reduce food waste, as well as to support people in need. Hence, the company donate small quantities of its unsold products – a pack of eggs in which just one is broken, for instance -, to non-profit organizations or food banks. This sounds simple but it requires some logistics in relation to food preservation and employee training to send out only items that are safe for consumption. According to Ana Gonzales, in charge of CSR and Environment for Caprabo, «The program is a success as it helps to feed 788 families per year. It also reduces food waste by more than 2,000 tons».

Caprabo micro donations go to organizations like Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona, a food bank that provides 18,000 tons of food to 137,000 people in Catalonia. In addition to putting meals on needy families tables, the organization has recently signed an agreement with the public sector by which it is working on reducing CO2 emissions. According to Joan Bosch, Economic Resources Coordinator, it is an extra challenge they are happy to take. «We have changed all our lamps to LED and are looking forward to reducing our emissions by more than 2,300 tons of CO2 in 2017», he stated. It is all done thanks to volunteering work and donations, and we aim higher each year. «Poverty is more intense and chronic than ever. We cover only 27% of families in need, and we expect to improve this number and the quality of what people are eating», he added. It will be done, of course, with lower emissions and the tireless commitment to building a better society.

The 6th United Nation Sustainable Development Goal is about providing clean and safe access to the most precious liquid on earth for all.

Water and Sanitation for all. Photo: UNDP Philippines

Two years ago, a major environmental disaster struck Brazil – the liquid waste reservoir of the mining company Samarco burst, wiping out a village, killing 11 people and poisoning the waters of the Rio Doce, a water source that supplies two Brazilian states. The riverside population and fishermen have been facing difficult times since. The water is still unsafe to drink, and the iron contamination has exterminated the local fauna. Scientists predict it would take 100 years for the river to fully recover from the catastrophe. And what of the fundamental right to a safe source of water? The question remains unanswered and it’s an everyday struggle for all communities to exercise their right to satisfy this basic need.

The 6th UN Sustainable Development Goal aims to provide access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems for all by 2030. Both are essential to human health, as well as to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

The UNDP reports that over 90 per cent of the world’s population uses improved drinking water sources and over two-thirds use improved sanitation facilities. Yet, most rural areas in underdeveloped countries have to cope with the lack of both, and the resulting bad health consequences. «Achieving universal access to basic sanitation and ending the unsafe practice of open defecation will require substantial acceleration of progress», says the report published in 2017.

A fourth of global population lives in countries with water stress, meaning they are vulnerable to future water scarcity by not having enough renewable sources. Countries in Northern Africa and Western Asia already face severe water stress. This is a matter of public policy; however, the participation of other actors, including organizations and local communities, is key to effective water and sanitation management.

WESDE trains health agents to act within communities

Within our Horyou community, the organization WESDE – Water, Energy and Sanitation for Development is very active in providing integrated water resources management, sanitation and health education in Cameroon. WESDE acts in both rural and urban areas, supporting the most vulnerable populations with information and resources for development.

Another member of the Horyou platform, EAA Burundi, created in 1988, is active in more than 35 African countries, as well as in Israel. It helps supply drinking water, using innovative solutions like dry latrines and simplified sewer networks, while supporting the communities through agricultural, financial and development projects.

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 promote water and sanitation in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

The 5th Sustainable Development Goal concerns nearly half of global population – girls and women are still far from having the same opportunities and privileges as men

Photo: UNDP

Internet and social media are full of hashtags concerning women’s challenges in our society. The most recent one was #metoo, in which women shared their personal stories about harassment. The idea was to prove a grim reality – believe me if you are a man, almost every female on the planet has a sad story to tell about it. If you are a woman, you already know how it feels.

From corporations in the developed world to slums in the poorest countries, we share the same vulnerability. Since we’re born, our gender defines our challenges – we are going to face more difficulties to access education; if we get into the job market, our salaries will be lower; we are more exposed to violence and forced marriages; we have poorer access to health services. Women empowerment is urgent, and we, regardless of gender, should work together to promote it.

We need more representation: according to the UNDP, in 46 countries, women hold 30% or more in national parliament seats. Globally, women’s participation in single or lower houses of national parliaments reached 23.4 percent in 2017, just 10 percentage points higher than in 2000. It’s not enough.

We need more education: in sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.

We need equal opportunities: in the corporate world, women are underrepresented in managerial positions. In the majority of the 67 countries with data from 2009 to 2015, fewer than a third of senior- and middle-management positions were held by women.

We need liberty: only half of women in reproductive age make their own decisions about consensual sexual relations and use of contraceptives and health services.

We deserve respect: A fifth of women of reproductive age have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey, made in 2016.

Association El Khir promotes cooking workshops for women in Morocco

The SDG 5 defends the end of all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. In 2014, the UN Women launched the campaign He for She, inviting men to join the fight for equal opportunities – since then, the discussion has improved and many debate spaces were opened in media, companies, governments and civil society. Many organizations have been working towards the same goal. The Horyou community has great examples of NGOs and projects that support women and create an empowering environment for them to overcome difficulties and thrive personally and professionally.

One of the active members of our platform is Association Féminine de Bienfaisance El-Khir, based in Morocco, which promotes better life condition for women in the country, supporting their independence by providing them with legal assistance and career opportunities through education.

One of the activities of Fundação Laço Rosa during Pink October

In Brazil, Fundação Laço Rosa, yet another active nonprofit organization in our platform, empowers women with breast cancer, by helping them with self-image issues and to create bonds to overcome the disease.

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 promote women empowerment in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Written by Vivian Soares

The 4th UN Sustainable Development Goal relates to education and change. How to implement inclusive and quality education for all, and promote lifelong learning, to build a fairer society.

Children in Pakistani School. Photo: UNDP

Malala Yousafzai was only 12 years old when she wrote a moving blog article about her life in Pakistan under the Taliban regime. Her bravery almost cost Malala her life – she was shot by a gunman and had to flee her country to remain safe. Things have changed for her since. Her voice was now heard and she became famous in global media for advocating education for girls in her country. Last summer, Malala received the news that she was accepted at the prestigious Oxford University. She’s a good example that education can change people, build dreams, move the world.

Like Malala in her early years, many children have poor or no access to education. According to the UN, 57 million children are out of school. Half of them live in conflict-affected areas. Even when they do go to school, it is often not enough to provide them with the basic education: 103 million youth lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 percent of them are women. The most vulnerable groups are persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.

Some progress has been achieved in the last 17 years – more schools have access to computers, and schooling is growing; yet the numbers are unequal and can’t always equate with quality. «Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics», said a recent assessment report published by the UN. Teachers do not have proper training and the poor conditions of schools in many parts of the world jeopardize quality education prospects.

Funds for infrastructure and training are needed, as well as public policies that prioritize quality education. Many non-government organizations have acted tirelessly to improve the situation, especially in the most affected regions and with the most vulnerable groups.

Girls education is a critical issue for our society. Photo: Ma belle école

On the Horyou platform, the NGO Avante – Educação e Mobilização Social, based in Brazil, provides empowering education to children in poor and socially vulnerable communities. In addition to funding teacher training and tech inclusion in schools, it promotes citizenship, encourages gender and racial identity debates with children, their families and social actors and train them to become community leaders.

The association Ma Belle École works within school inclusion projects in developing countries. Through individual sponsorship programmes, it provides children with regular access to school in conflict-affected countries like Syria and Mali. It also helps their families, providing them with food and other basic resources, so children are not forced to abandon education and thus be used as cheap labor.

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 promote education in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

An exhibition inaugurated this week in Barcelona discusses the influence of human behavior on Earth and casts a different light on our world

It’s 2100 and we have a very, very different world. There is no food for all and water is an overpriced good. Lands are dry – well, not all lands. Cattle and fertile farms prosper in Siberia, Greenland or Alaska, but big parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe are now desertified. Does it sound like a nightmare or a prefiguration of the future? Or is this the beginning of the end of the world as we know it?

On Wednesday 25th of October, the «Despŕes de la fí del món» (After the End of the World) exhibition was inaugurated at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), Spain with a selected audience that was invited to participate in an “Artists’ Talk”, an event whereby a number of artists shared their work and views of the world.

Iron mines in Australia. Source: Daily Overview from Benjamin Grant

Benjamin Grant, the founder of Daily Overview, a project which explores the power of high-resolution satellite photography and which made him a popular social media personality, was one of the talking artists. His idea is to offer a different perspective on our planet, either by sharing beautiful landscapes such as the Amazon rainforest and the Florida Everglades or the ugly impact of mining and of the refugee crisis worldwide. Some of his work bears a strong resemblance to that of Piet Mondrian and Ellsworth Kelly. «There is a lot of thinking behind my work. I want to raise awareness of our planet by showing how it’s changing through perspectives we can’t have in our everyday lives», he said.

The artists and expeditionists Kate Davies and Liam Young presented Unknown Fields, a nomad study that shows the shadows of the contemporary city. In their expeditions around the world, they uncover the impacts of industry and consumption on nature and human lives. The “forgotten ones” – that is the hidden workers of the fashion industry or the cargo ships that travel the world endlessly to deliver goods – are integrated with our daily lives in unexpected and surprising ways.

Unknown Fields Division Showreel 2013 from liam young on Vimeo.

The amazing transformation of Singapore is the topic chosen by Charles Lim. Using maps and telling local stories, he exposes how rapidly the landscape of his country has changed – through land reclamation from the sea, elimination of hills, and renaming islands, Singapore has lived through an intense land revolution, still ongoing.

The collective Rimini Protokoll, from Germany, shared a surprising experience with Documental Theatre. One of the ‘plays’ invited an audience of 500 people to be part of an imaginary Conference of the Parties (COP) whereby they are asked to make decisions for each country and try to reach the 2020 target on greenhouse gases emissions. It is an exercise of awareness and commitment that changes the perspective of normal citizens on climate change.

«Després de la fí del món» is an exhibition that explores Earth in 2017, a planet irreversibly transmuted into Paul J. Crutzen’s Anthropocene after many centuries of the influence of human behavior. Yet it is also an exhibition that forecasts the second half of 21st century and determines our generation’s responsibility to future generations.

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