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By Lucas Bullens

It was a privilege for Horyou to be invited to the fourth edition of the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland. With a staggering 22,000 attendees this year, it is the largest technology conference in Europe.

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A total of 11 Horyou team members participated at the summit – seven from Geneva and four from Paris. Everyone woke up bright and early the first day to start setting up a stand at the event. The stands were quite small and intimate, and we had numerous other startups for neighbors.

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We were located in the area called The Village, where the Center Stage was located. The rooms were constantly filled with a sea of people, and the Horyou stand got quite a bit of attention (handing out Swiss chocolate being one of our many weapons for attracting people). During the course of the day, the rest of the Horyou team members arrived at the summit, and after a busy day at the stand, we finally packed up and journeyed back to our respective apartments to rest before heading out to dinner. Afterwards, we went to the Night Summit, a kind of pub crawl, which was organized by the Web Summit. People enjoyed the Irish nightlife experience and continued their networking in a more casual setting.

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The second day of the Web Summit, we were able to network, discover and really take in this incredible experience. Our media team was lucky to meet and interview the legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk, who was promoting his foundation at the summit. After this special encounter, the media team continued conducting interviews around the venue. Before all heading out after another exhausting day, some of the boys fed their “need for speed” by trying out prototype electric motorcycles. It was a great day!

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The final day, we all arrived motivated to finish off the summit off with a bang. We continued exploring, meeting new people and networking, while the media team managed to get hold of John Sculley, the ex-CEO of Apple, for an interview.

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Just after lunch, the entire team took part in an epic flyer distribution session. We were positioned next the area of the venue called The Town, which was a prime location in terms of visibility. Once we were done with our session, we were rewarded with a front-row seat to a group of shepherds failing at gathering a flock of multicolored sheep. Having not eaten lunch ourselves, we hurried to the Food Summit to grab whatever food was left there.

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The grand finale was the arrival of Bono. The Center Stage hall was packed. Bono, together with Eric Wahlforss (founder of SoundCloud), sat for a talk on the Center Stage. Afterwards, we gathered the remaining team members and headed to the Food Summit for a closing dinner party. Premium traditional Irish food and drinks were served. The Irish folk music gave everyone an irresistible urge to dance. And the presence of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny seemed to make people shout out: “Free Water!”

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With full stomachs, we all headed back to our apartments. But the night was not over. Some of us met up at a club called Opium, where the closing party was held. The following day, the team went their separate ways and flew back home.

All in all, the Web Summit was a wonderful and eye-opening experience. It showed us the magnitude of the tech scene. !

See you next year!

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By Vincent Magnenat

Organizing a forum usually means a chain of plenaries, workshops, master classes and so on. Therefore, it’s mandatory to set moments for participants to have an occasion to exchange in another dynamic – a more human one, let’s say.

In that perspective and in the line of its goal, the Horyou Foundation hosted an event in one of the more active area of Geneva: the Paquis’ Place de la Navigation. This extension of SIGEF spirit aimed to combine local and non-local to create a unique moment of sharing with free food and music. The music collaboration was made with world Wide connects, an international NGO based in Geneva that produces hip-hop-related music in a independent way. The food was provided by the local restaurants, with some of their cultural specialities, and by the Horyou Foundation, with a great load of raclette. Raclette is one of the national plates in Switzerland: melted mountain cheese on boiled potatoes. Try it whenever you can!

Speakers, neighbors of the area and members of NGOs both old and young mixed in a very warm and positive atmosphere.

The first night, Oct. 22nd, wWc drived an open-mic night where absolutely every category of people present took an active part. We especially enjoyed the massive flow of Chad Harper, representing NYC’s NGO Hip Hop Saves Lives, among others.

On the second night, the stage had a more structured program. First there was some spoken word accompagnied by a piano. Then the members of Danseurs Citoyens from Tunisia presented their vision of freedom of speech – quite conceptual and voluntary show. Half an hour later, the NGO Poussière d’Etoiles showcased its zumba performance, galvanizing the audience with this as a popular and physical dance. A lot of people felt free enough to join the show! The conceptual striked again right after with a performance of butoh, a theatrical dance created in Japan in the ’50s. The audience joined in again (including the author). Finally, the international jazz/hip-hop band Cauliflower took the floor until the end of the amazing show.

Stay tuned, and let’s do this again at SIGEF 2015!

SIGEF 2014

The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum was hosted by Horyou at the CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 22nd-24th. The forum welcomed more than 2,000 participants and Personalities. The forum held six plenary sessions and eight thematic workshops, with 30 international speakers and 50 exhibition stands. SIGEF 2014 welcomed a large international crowd. It was a special moment for each and every individual who attended the first edition of the forum.

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On the opening day, the forum began with a Meet and Greet Breakfast for media, the speakers and partners who are part of SIGEF 2014. The opening remarks followed the session “Cities of the Future,” led by Sou Fujimoto, and Christian Brunier, CEO of Services Industriels de Genève, Didier Hamon, general secretary of the Aéroports de Paris, and Gorka Espiau, director of innovation for cities and regions, The Young Foundation. At the end of each day, SIGEF hosted an evening at Place de la Navigation, where people were able to connect through music, food and presentations.

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On the Oct. 23rd, SIGEF hosted documentary screenings and a session on “Arts and Education for Empowerment” led by Mr Reza Deghati, Ray Lema, Christian Holl and Favio Chavez. Genevieve Morand co-led the session on CSR, “The Beginning of a Journey,” and Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, took the stage to speak on “Science and Technology for Better Times.”

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At the end of the second day, the SIGEF awards took place and SIGEF was proud to present the award to Hector Alvarez, who is the co-founder of BeyondBeanie.org, which is a social clothing brand that helps children in Bolivia. By purchasing a beanie, five meals are provided to a child in that country.

On the final day of SIGEF, Socialphilia CEO Gaby Castellanos took the stage alongside Mishal Hamed Kanoo, chairman of The Kanoo Group. The session was a productive and SIGEF ended with closing remarks by the CEO of Horyou, Yonathan Parienti.

SIGEF 2014 brought together people to share ideas, thoughts and to make a remarkable difference in this world for this generation and the next. It helped participants reflect by hearing wonderful presentations from the keynote speakers and plenary sessions. Horyou is proud to have hosted SIGEF 2014 and we look forward to seeing you all at SIGEF 2015.

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Mehdi Hadj-Abed will introduce the EaumOb at SIGEF 2014 and will participate to the “Call for Projects.” Hadj-Abed is a Horyou Personality. He tells us here* about his commitment to equal and universal access to drinking water.

Interview conducted by Sarah Lemaire and translated by Lola Gazounaud for Horyou’s blog

Hi Mehdi. Could you give us a few words to introduce yourself?

I am the manager and founder of EauNergie company, whose aim is to help populations that have trouble accessing a water supply. In order to do that, I develop innovative solutions to bring water to them without polluting the environment, using green energy as much as possible and equipment that is more versatile.

What innovative solutions have you worked on so far?

I have worked on the desalination of seawater using solar energy. This way, the equipment is much more mobile. I have also developed solutions for the desalination of remote places or places along the coast that could become eco-touristic. There will be as many solutions as there are kinds of water. I can treat seawater and polluted river water, as well as bring a solution to water discharge. That means once we use that water and pollute it, we can treat it and use it again for irrigation, farming or something else. In terms of innovation, we created the SeamOb, which is mobile water desalination equipment using sustainable energy, and the EaumOb for river water treatment, which I am very proud of.

And for those who don’t know anything about desalination, how is this innovative? Didn’t these solutions already exist?

These solutions do already exist, but what makes it innovative is that we integrate all these technologies together into one solution. It takes dirty water, treats it and distributes it without the need of having an external supply of energy, because it is provided by sustainable energy only. This makes it completely automatic. And we are getting closer to what I wanted: a water supply producer. We integrate all the existing technologies to help these populations in an ethical and, above all, ecological way – like if we have created a new water spring. And the EaumOb can be built anywhere on the planet.

What other projects you would like to tell us about?

I worked in Mauritania for a dispensary that we fully equiped. It was located in a small fisherman village on the Banc d’Arquin where there was only access to seawater. We built a desalination unit that was powered by photovoltaic solar panels. It brings enough energy to provide the population with a fridge to store vaccines and lighting for them to have a comfortable place to live in. Can you imagine having to deliver a baby at the light of candles or waiting for the police station to have access to vaccines? Because that was the only place where there was a fridge, as they used to do. So it makes life simpler for populations. We recycle toilet water as well. As the dispensary’s toilets were located close to the school, we engaged with young people from these villages, developing awareness toward ecology and water recycling. Another example: In Morocco, we set up a solar pumping solution. We provided 25,000 liters of water per hour. The pump works as soon as the sun illuminates the solar station. This equipment was funded by the International Cooperation of Monaco and given to a small charity located in the deep South of Morocco, toward Tata. Before this, they used to run a Renault 21 car engine with gas. It used to cost 12,000 per year including maintenance. This is what you need to run an engine from the ’80s. For the installation of the solar pumping system, we needed around 40,000 euros, the equivalent of four years of water production, paying for gas and maintenance. But our system does not pollute and it will work for the next 20 years and let’s hope forever. They do not need any energy to make the pump work. We set up the equipment in a way that they can easily take the pump out for maintenance and put it back into water. It is a perennial system.

On your Horyou profile, you shared an article about the situation of a village in South Africa. What did you feel when you read this article? What did you decide to do?

I was angry and frustrated because I have a EaumOb at the studio that was created to avoid these kinds of disasters. And I decided to do all I could to send one there.

What can we do if we want to help the realization of this project?

I need help in funding and logistics to be able to send this machine successfully. The estimated cost is 10,000 euros. In the long term, I want to create a local assembly studio.

It appears you have a special link with water. What does water represent for you?

As a kid, I grew up in a fisherman village. My house was located between the orchards and the sea, and we had a lot of drinking water supplies. Nevertheless, there was a difference between the water we used for drinking and the water we used for cleaning, irrigation, etc. I have always known that drinking water was much more valuable than domestic water. Water is life! Even when we send a sensor into space, the first think we look for is water. Without water, there is no life. I quickly understood that our ways of living are very far from the true value of water.

You give a lot to people through your commitment to bring them water. What do you receive in return?

When your project is over and you see people using water, you feel good. For example, we rented a machine to Monaco Sailing School. The children’s parents told me that kids were fighting against water waste at home. No more bath, no more playing with taps! I remember well kids lecturing their parents about baths. What I am most proud of is to know that some newborn child have been given my name, Mehdi, after I set up the water equipment in the dispensary in Mauritania. So you are so proud, so happy. Even if the worst scenario happens and you have to shut down your company, well, you’ve done your job! And you know that these women will be able to deliver their babies in better conditions. When I’ll go back I might meet those kids.

Would you like to say a last word to our readers?

Water is as vital as air, it is more than food. The volume of water has not decreased or increased since the creation of the Earth. But we have. There are people that are dying of thirst while we clean our streets with drinking water. What do you do to make things change?

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By Vincent Magnenat

The Horyou Team will take part in an international event called “The Meal” that will take place in more than 54 cities around the globe, thus “glocal.” The concept is simple: to share a meal at the same time, and to meet and exchange ideas on the concept of food sovereignty.

A further goal is to create an international network among cities of very different sizes to support the global action, which was organized by the Barcelona Consensus. At least 20% of the funds raised will be donated by the local organizers to this international action.

All of the raised funds go to local actions connected with the theme that was approved by the participants of the previous edition of the event. Every local organization votes on the actions they want to support and the percentage of the donation. All the actions must be accepted in advance by The Meal’s ethics council.

Given the relevancy of the cause, the Horyou Team decided to join and become a partner with The Meal with some local organizations in Geneva such as Le Bateau, Gloriamundi, Classique Alternances and Bourgeonnement Urbain. Additionally, Lucas Luisoni, one of our speakers at SIGEF 2014, will be there.

We are looking forward to this occasion to meet people and share our visions.

The world is full of inspiring people … but also of events at which these amazing people gather! The OuiShare Fest is one of them and we had to pleasure to attend this year’s edition. Trying to summarize these 3 days is almost impossible; we can only say a big thank you to the whole team for the hard work done and the amazing organization (special mention for the food!).

We had the pleasure to meet very interesting and nice attendees and highly recommend that you get in touch with them and/or take a look at what they’re doing. The world will most certainly become a better place to live in, thanks to people like them! We hope to welcome them on Horyou very soon. 🙂

And many many more … Check out the full list on the OuiShare Fest website

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