A new member of Horyou platform, the Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation (HCRFF) invests in education and awareness to prevent health issues in developing countries

Pierrette Cazeau

Despite being born in Haiti, Pierrette Cazeau grew up in New York and Florida, in the US, and thus was never aware of the country’s challenges until she first visited it as a grown up-woman. She was struck by the challenges faced by its population on a daily basis – lack of health infrastructure, corruption, abuse, poverty and hunger. That changed her life as she decided to devote her time and efforts to build a Foundation and use education to prevent such disasters as the 2010 cholera outbreak.

«You can’t predict natural disasters or climate change effects, but you can educate people to prevent and reduce poverty. Without education, you just open the door to the negative effects of the unpredictable», says Pierrette, founder of HCRFF. The NGO was created in 2013 and has since developed many projects to support and empower communities facing health and social problems. «We’ve seen so many victimized people sitting quietly, and that escalates anger and hate». Economic and social problems, she believes, are part of a cycle that comprises disruption, refugee crisis and racism.

Syphilis Project

Focusing on education, the foundation organizes workshops for students coming from challenging backgrounds. In addition to preparing them for work via professional education, and providing them with food, HCRFF also raises awareness of topics like HIV prevention (PrEP and PEP), sexual abuse and other sensitive topics that are critical for the new generations. The NGO also helps Haitians to get access to health care in the US by providing them with transportation, shelter, advocacy and even translation services whenever needed. It also supports pregnant Haitian women left behind by UN peacekeeping soldiers.

The next step is to expand the Foundation services to other countries including Ghana, in Africa, where it intends to start an education campaign on HIV and other STDs. «We need more sponsors as we never charge anything for the services we provide to the communities», says Pierrette. For the last three years, the NGO has been funded by partners, but new sources of financial support are needed. One of the plans is to organize a Marathon for People Living with HIV and raise funds for the cause of education for prevention. «One thing I’ve learned from my father is that education can’t be taken from you. It stays with you forever. I’m grateful for all the educational opportunities I’ve had and I wish more people keep benefitting from it as well».

Kenneth Bok is a former Goldman Sachs trader and the founder and CEO of Blocks, a Blockchain research platform based in Singapore. A passionate believer in sustainability, ecology and technology, he is Horyou’s Partner and Ambassador to Singapore and the organizer of De/Centralize 2018, the country’s premier conference on Blockchain and decentralization mechanisms for building a better world. One of the questions the event raises is: “Can these technologies help to create a better world?’. Horyou blog has talked with Mr. Bok.

De/centralize takes place in Singapore

– What does decentralization mean for technology, economics and law?

The Blockchain has enabled for distributed computing platforms which store and process information in radically different ways from normal server-client architecture. This has profound consequences in the way digital tokens can be integrated with the internet, how data is stored, and even how contracts are written and executed between parties. Decentralization is still a mysterious word really, but the gist of it is that there are more resilient and alternative structures to the ones we have one. Think about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue. Even if Facebook are doing their best, they are still under the purview of various governments who can shut Facebook down if they choose to do so. This is not so easy with decentralized systems.

– Blockchain is a technology that lies heavily on decentralization. What can we expect from the conference in terms of content and debates about both subjects?

We are hosting some projects that could really change the world. Cosmos and Blockstack for example. I think there is a lot of hype with blockchain, and our goal is to separate the signal from the noise. We have some really world-class VCs such as Tim Draper who is going to give us a keynote, as well as Zooko Wilcox from ZCash giving us a presentation on the latest developments with digital money. We definitely want people to form their own opinions, to question everything and to decide for themselves if Blockchain is more than speculation and hype.

– How can Blockchain help to reach the sustainable development goals, reduce poverty and help to build a better world?

Michael Casey and Paul Vigna’s new book ‘The Truth Machine’ opens wonderfully with a story about the World Food Program’s (WFP) initiatives in Syria. Many of us take for granted that we have a passport, social identities, bank accounts, but this is not the case for refugees and stateless persons. The WFP is using a Blockchain solution to coordinate and track food distribution. Blockchains have tremendous potential to enable people who are unbanked and unidentified to be part of the system and have access to loans, make contracts, have a proper job, and so on.

Kenneth Bok

– How do you see the future of Blockchain technology in 10 years?

AI, Blockchain and IoT will become more integrated and will be truly mind-boggling in their capabilities. We will be able to do science better, make decisions better, become more efficient and effective in whatever we do.

– Could you name some of your top speakers and their business/areas of expertise?

Lasse Clausen from 1kx is one of the smartest token fund managers that I know of.

Adrian Brink from Cosmos: they are building the next generation Blockchain systems that are pushing the boundaries.

Meltem Demirors is a great speaker, thinker, and has worked with the World Economic Forum, MIT Media Lab and Digital Currency Group.

– Singapore is our next Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum – SIGEF 2018 – host city. For years, it has been a technology, Blockchain and sustainability hub. Why, in your opinion, does the city have such a vocation? Should it be a role model for Asia and beyond?

Singapore has had many things in its favor, geography for one, but we have been particularly blessed with good leadership. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the architect of our country and built a meritocratic system with good law and order, an emphasis on education and racial harmony. We have one of the best healthcare systems in the world and it is extremely safe here. Clearly Singapore’s methods will not work in countries much larger than us, but our methods have been studied and implemented in many places outside of Singapore.

De/Centralize takes place from 5-6 April at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore. The event is an Horyou Media Partner.

Organized by the United Nations in Geneva, the World Summit of the Information Society discussed the role of technology in building a better future

Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, speaking at WSIS Forum

A big welcome to the future we all want – with more technology, creativity and innovation at the service of a fairer society. That was the message that this year’s 4-day WSIS Forum, whose motto was Leveraging ICTs to Build Information and Knowledge Societies for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, opted to convey to the rest of the world.

Entrepreneurs, government officials, organizations and members of the civil society tackled some of the most important challenges facing the modern world which included those relating to protection of the environment, inclusion of vulnerable social groups, promotion of small businesses and furtherance of artificial intelligence for human rights.

Horyou, the social network for social good, joined two panels, alongside high-level members of international organizations, as well as the private and public sectors. During the High Level Policy Session on Financing for Development and the Role of ICT, Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, spoke about the skills required from social entrepreneurs. «It’s great to see how youth is engaged in social entrepreneurship to make a difference and do good. At Horyou, we believe in technology with a purpose, which requires courage and optimism», he stated.

On the sensitive issue of promoting equality through information and technology, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the UN, regretted that “as fast as advances are occurring, they are not taking place fast enough in many areas” and called to “bring the whole world online so everyone can benefit from ICTs”.

It was nevertheless underscored that governments are indeed making progress in democratizing access to technology. Case in point, Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Salem, ICT Minister of Saudi Arabia, highlighted that the Kingdom has invested in state-of-the-art technology to equip its public institutions. «In 2018, ICT investment has grown by 6% over 2017 and, by 2020, we will furnish thousands of public institutions with optic fiber”, he stated.

The panel Women in ICT, moderated by Cintia Pino, Horyou’s Head of Marketing and External Relations, female executives from non-profit and private organizations discussed the ways to engage more girls and women in technology. Leading women figures including Sonja Betschart, co-founder of WeRobotics, an organization which uses drones to promote technology in developing countries, and Trisha Shetty, a UN Young Leader who advocates gender equality, showcased their success stories and their activism for social good.

Government officials were an important part of the event, as many high-level conferences were organized to debate policies and share success stories. Dr. Chérif Diallo (ICT), from Senegal, presented his country’s digital strategy for 2025 and Ms. Aurélie Zoumarou (ICT) from Bénin, highlighted the efforts to include more women in technology.

At the closing ceremony, Mr Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), declared that «WSIS 2018 has shown how the power of ICT can be leveraged to make progress on a range of important issues, from gender equality to cybersecurity and the Internet of Things». Mr Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Chairman of WSIS 2018, thanked the audience and panelists with words of hope and optimism. «Connectivity and the Internet can play an essential role in the endeavors to achieve inclusion and equality», he affirmed.

Inspired by the ‘invisible beings’ of one of the biggest cities in the world, the photographer Edu Leporo started to depict homeless people and their dogs in São Paulo, Brazil. The photography essays soon became a social project which now, through donations and funding campaigns, provide care for street dogs and their owners. Edu Leporo is our interviewed personality, a member of our platform Horyou and a change maker for good.

Edu Leporo with Angela, Diego and the dog Spike, who live on the streets of São Paulo (Photo: Gu Leporo)

When and why did you start taking pictures?

I started my photographic records of homeless people and their dogs in 2012, in an unpretentious way. Walking through downtown São Paulo, I saw a homeless man sitting with his dog and wondered: what would their reality be like? As a professional photographer, I have always worked in studios and did photographic essays of moms with their pets. But this has awakened an uneasiness in me and pushed me to do something for those who could not have a portrait – that is the people who live on the streets with their companions.

What was your inspiration?

My profession as a photographer of pets and my love for animals made me register the reality of the streets! To record and tell the stories of love, respect and companionship that go unnoticed by the eyes of thousands of people, certainly, inspired me.

In your work, you unite two causes, the animal care and the homeless people. Apart from photography, is there a social project behind these causes?

After I made several records of homeless people with their dogs, I decided to make a photographic exhibition with this material. All on my own. Gradually, I went looking for partners and we also managed to make a book with these records. That was in 2015. Using the images captured on the streets was my choice to shed light on these “invisible” beings. Soon after, in 2016 we started the Social Project for Street People and Their Dogs (in Portuguese, Moradores de Rua e Seus Cães). We started with a few donations, and today we take action every month in the center of São Paulo where we take all the services and donations for dogs, such as: bath, vaccine, vermifuge, beds, guides, collars and food. For the human, toiletries kits, clothes and shoes and we serve a breakfast.

Photo: Edu Leporo

What were the most striking situations you encountered during this project?

On the streets, there are many remarkable and rich stories. But I want to highlight the story of a couple that touched us a lot: Angela and Diego. They have lived for years on the streets with their dogs, Spike and Star. We have recently discovered that she has Leukemia and we feel the need to help her with her treatment. Fortunately, we were able to start a beautiful campaign with support from ZeeDog and raised funds for Angela’s treatment.

What are the next steps?

Our actions consist of 70% donations (individuals and companies) and 30% money, which we use to buy breakfast items, for example. But this cash aid is always lacking. Today, we seek a support / sponsor to meet our needs, ranging from items for breakfast to relief and treatment for some dog. We plan to launch our second book, with photos and street stories, as well as taking the photographic exhibition to all the capitals of Brazil and abroad. Start the project in schools, giving young people the opportunity to engage in the cause. We also want to set up a mobile community laundry, where street people can wash, dry their clothes and their dogs. Our mission is to open our eyes, hearts and minds, feel that we are only in the beginning.

Change Makers 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 #SDG10 – Reduced Inequalities and #SDG15 – Life on Land.

The city of Singapore hosts one of the most important global Fintech events, while giving full support to its startups and community of entrepreneurs.

Singapore

Funding, academic collaboration and public-private partnership. A fine recipe to develop a healthy and successful Fintech ecosystem. More the result of a strategy than coincidence, in the last few years, Singapore has seen its Fintech startup scene boom. The city has indeed done a lot to attract funders, notably via creating related events and supporting regional networking.

Part of this strategy rests on barring privileged silos. Rather than building on competition between large companies and small players, the government has decided to create the conditions for both to innovate and collaborate with each other. In fact, banks and insurance companies are setting up innovation labs and research centers in Singapore for startups to experiment and bring ideas to the market, while getting professional assessment and management consultancy.

According to the Singapore Fintech Map, the city hosts more than 200 Fintech companies, focused on diverse segments including digital banking, blockchain, data management and payment services. The good numbers are also due to the effort universities and research institutes are making to update their curricula by adding more Fintech topics. Startups and young entrepreneurs also can benefit from an annual Fintech Festival, organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks since 2016, and recognized in 2017 as the worlds’ largest Fintech Festival, hosting more than 25,000 participants from 100 countries.

As Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of MAS, said at the Festival’s opening ceremony last November: “The Fintech Festival is a synergistic platform for the global Fintech community to spark new ideas and gain valuable insights. It is a key thrust of our efforts to establish Singapore as a Smart Financial Centre and a transformational Fintech hub”. While organizing a Fintech Award and a Hackcelerator, the Festival is also a great platform for Fintech companies to attract investors and raise funding for their projects.

Singapore is also known for its Venture Capital (VC) scene, which helps Fintech startups to get funding and managerial support for their projects. While they grow, they can count on public infrastructure such as the LATTICE80, an innovation village in the heart of Singapore financial district which reduces costs for startups and gives them access to data centers and other services.

The host city of SIGEF2018 next September is thus the perfect place to gather innovators, entrepreneurs and social good doers from all over the world. Organized by Horyou, it will include a special panel on Fintech for social good.

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