Equality

Have you ever heard of ‘smart cities’? It’s a contemporary expression that designates good, effective urban planning which uses technology and creativity to solve perennial urban problems such as air pollution, traffic control and energy consumption. Forget flying cars – although they could play a role in future cities – and think about planning, data analysis and efficient use of resources.

Photo: UNDP

We are now almost 4 billion people living in cities, more than half the global population. And urbanization keeps growing – 1 billion more will move to or be born in cities in the next 12 years. It’s a logical trend. If living in cities would mean more access to jobs, healthcare services and quality education, then it would be a reasonable outcome that millions of people would prefer to live in urban areas. Yet, it’s not always the case. Many cities still provide poor public services and infrastructure and thus have to face such challenges as the proliferation of slums, or air pollution, or again inequality and violence. How to address the challenge? Innovation and sustainability are the key words to make the SDG 11 a reality.

The good news is that in 2017, 149 countries have been developing national-level urban planning programs, many of which are using available and inexpensive technologies. In the last 17 years, some things did change for the better. The proportion of urban population living in developing country slums fell from 39% in 2000 to 30% in 2014. More cities are supporting healthier lifestyles, calling people to use cleaner means of transportation. Others are implementing incentives to reuse and recycling waste, as well as running water saving campaigns. Still, management of waste and air pollution, for instance, are below World Health Organization acceptable levels.

Universities, governments and international organizations are working together to come up with ideas that tackle the many issues urbanization imposes. There is no panacea, as each community faces its own specific challenges and, ideally, the best solutions have to be worked out internally, best in cities that are hubs of innovation and diversity.

Horyou community is passionate about Smart Cities. Both SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh and SIGEF 2017 in Astana panels covered extensively the topic and helped trigger important discussions about the future of transportation, energy and sustainable construction. SIGEF 2018, due to take place in Singapore, will, in turn, bring together experts, government officials and organizations to propose sustainable solutions and replicable ideas that are liable to make our cities better places to live. It’s Horyou’s commitment to a society that we aspire to build together!

If you want to be part of SIGEF 2018, read more about the #HoryouLightChallenge. You can choose the SDG11 or any other, promote your post on social media and win an all-inclusive trip to SIGEF in Singapore, in September 2018!

There are many faces to inequality, and just as many ways to deal with it

Photo: UNDP

A few days ago, an 11-year old was prohibited entry to a shopping mall, in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil. The security guards claimed he was too young to walk through the mall unaccompanied. The kid was startled as he pointed to other minors hanging out unbothered in that same mall – with no adults. The unspoken reasons, he and his mother later said, were his color of skin and the unsophisticated clothes he was wearing. For he, indeed, is poor, and does not fit into the mall’s ‘dress code’, that middle-class shopper sanctuary.

Income inequality has many faces. It may be a boy who is not wearing the right clothes, and it may be a woman who is not earning a man’s salary for the same position and job; all situations that reflect one of the biggest challenges of our times which is what the SDG number 10 addresses: how to build a more equal and fairer society among and within countries.

According to the UNDP, the poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 and 7 percent of total global income. And inequality is on the rise: in developing countries, it has increased by 11%, with consideration to population growth. Solutions are multidisciplinary – they require strong institutions, regulation of financial markets, development assistance and support on migration and mobility. There must be stronger policies for vulnerable groups like women, children, refugees and people with disabilities, as well as more funding of and support to NGOs whose work has a positive impact on reducing inequalities.

Many members of the Horyou community are tireless workers towards reaching this SDG. And speaking of people with disabilities, the Horyou platform hosts a very active member organization called Nos, Why Not? It is the first photo agency whose workers are photographers with intellectual disabilities. Based in Spain, it offers them visibility and promotes inclusion through training and providing them with work opportunities.

Another active member of the Horyou community is Serviço de Obras Sociais, a Brazilian NGO which seeks partnerships with the government and private sector to support vulnerable populations such as the homeless and migrants.

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 equality 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!

Half of the world’s population lives on USD 2 a day or less. The 8th UN Sustainable Development Goal promotes decent work for all.

Photo: UNDP

Robots taking humans jobs in Europe, a slave market in Libya, child labor in Brazil, youth unemployment in Spain…our society is globally affected by job insecurity and vulnerability. While the global unemployment rate stands at 5.7 per cent, having a job doesn’t guarantee decent conditions and earnings. Young women are the most vulnerable group, with a larger chance to be neither in employment nor in education.

This situation affects the global political and economic stability – labor productivity has been slowing down since 2010, which represents a negative living standard and real wages progress worldwide. Indirectly, it will affect human impact on the environment, education levels, violence, and migration. It’s all connected.

Yet, there are good news. Despite remaining a huge concern, the number of working children has declined from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2012, and it’s even better for girls with a 40% decline versus 25% for boys.

According to the UNDP, better labor conditions require access to financial services and aid for trade. The former has increased by 55 per cent in the last five years, while investment in trade-related infrastructure, banking and agriculture has reached USD 53.9 billion in 2015. Trust funds for the least developed countries are also running their second phase now up to 2022.

In addition to the work of governments and transnational institutions, the creation of quality jobs still remains one of the biggest challenges for all economies. Many organizations are working to qualify people and provide them with skills and access to better jobs.

One of Horyou’s active organizations devoted to the SDG 8 is Association Flamme de la Gloire. Based in Morocco, it provides support and social services to vulnerable communities. Through workshops and internships, it helps to improve the quality of access to work. It is focused on the development of tourism and cultural activities, as well as agricultural cooperatives within the country, constantly concerned with the sustainable aspects of these activities.

In Brazil, NOUS Educare provides educational development programs to strengthen human potential, based on anthroposophy. Through workshops, lectures and activities, it helps its participants to gain confidence, strength and skills to face the new labor scenario which is unfolding for all workers.

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 decent work and economic growth 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!

Horyou team is at the GES!

The entrepreneurship world is moving fast and social innovation is now a matter of survival for most businesses. The level of personalities attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on its first day in the Indian city of Hyderabad, alongside Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President of the United States, and Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, who took to the stage to address a large number of businesspersons and innovators before the international media, was a strong sign of the importance that social entrepreneurship has now reached economically, as well as politically.

On the 29th of November, today, the summit will hear Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, the social network for social good, who will raise the attendees’ interest in the topic of “Go For It: Tapping Alternative Financing Solutions” and announce the official launching of Spotlight, the first digital currency for impact that supports philanthropy and economic inclusion. «We are very happy to share Spotlight with the world, a digital currency that we put the necessary time and effort to develop and test, and that aims to bring equality and inclusion for millions of people in the next few years », announced Parienti.

Narendra Modi at the GES

«Think how much better the world would be if all of us, men and women, are empowered to dream big, aim high, and work together towards a more just and prosperous future», said Ivanka Trump in her speech on the opening day. Spotlight is perfectly in line with that statement in that it has been developed to financially support organizations, projects and people whose work is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals on empowerment. As economic inclusion is one of GES’s major themes, especially regarding empowerment and opportunities for women, Spotlight is to be showcased as an alternative solution, notably in generating social and gender equality.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the inviting country, highlighted the importance of private investment on promoting sustainable growth, especially in areas like sanitation, transparent policies and entrepreneurship. “Invest in India, for India and for the world”, he summoned.

GES is on!

We will keep you updated on Horyou’s contribution to the summit on www.horyou.com and our social media channels.

On the 25th of November, we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As part of its support of the cause, Horyou interviewed Juncal Plazaola Castaño, UN Women Specialist on Ending Violence Against Women.

Orange the world is a UN Women Campaign for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

What is UN Women’s approach to the elimination of violence against women?

We focus on four areas of work. The first of them is to work with partners, governments, civil society and stakeholders to revise or approve legislations and policies that meet international standards. It does not only regard violence but also equality and opportunities issues, like divorce and custody. We also work to improve services provided to women, namely legal, social, police and security services. Another area is prevention of sexism, men privilege and men dominance. We do that through women empowerment and by promoting more positive masculinity. The fourth pillar is about evidence and data. In order to know the magnitude of the problem and make governments and actors aware of it, we need to collect evidence. We do this with our partners, mostly academic.

Have you scored any recent progress in these areas?

In the area of legislation, UN women was an important actor on defining legal age of marriage in Malawi and some places in the Caribbean, focusing on preventing child marriage. We also helped to implement Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces, a program that aims to address sexual harassment. We are working with 27 cities in developing and developed countries, like in Winnipeg, Canada. The city has very high sexual harassment rates, especially with indigenous women and we involved with indigenous organizations to understand the scope of the problem and to set new public transportation initiatives. In Quito, Equador, we were partners of the municipal observatory of violence, which includes violence against women, too. They have a municipal budget allocation to the program, which shows great ownership and sustainability.

What is UN Women biggest challenge on eliminating violence against women?

One of them is accountability of perpetrators. It requires involvement of other actors and all of the pillars I mentioned before. If no legislation is involved, for example, the violence will continue as the perpetrators will think there is no penalty or consequence. We also need to address stereotypes, men dominance, men privilege and other social norms. Another big challenge is to reach those there are left behind, women who are exposed for their condition as women with disabilities, from ethnic minorities, lesbians, bisexuals, or women who are very young or older who experiment different types of violence. The last challenge I will mention is monitoring impact. We expect something to be achieved in 3 or 4 years, some change of social norms and attitude. I think we need to find the impact the work we are doing in a more realistic way.

Orange the world campaign. Photo: UN Women

Can we be hopeful that one day we will eliminate gender violence?

I am hopeful and I have observed some recent signs that gave me even more hope. One of them is the #metoo campaign. It shows the power of women’s voices and how to reach a momentum as the topic is not being hidden anymore. The campaign calls for accountability of perpetrators. And they are actually being called. It also shows that women are exposed not only related to domestic violence and women mutilation, but also to sexual and verbal harassment, rape and many other aspects. The other sign of hope is agenda 2030. The SDG set one specific goal for women, but there are also other hidden goals in the agenda. For instance, SDG goals dedicated to achieving inclusive and sustainable cities. It recognizes the centrality of equality, and how relevant it is for the international community.

What is the role of social media in UN Women campaigns?

The Internet and social media have a strong power to shape the ways we think. They are enablers of women empowerment. Social media gives voice to women and features stories of positive empowerment. It’s a very powerful tool for shaping stereotypes and the way we think and act, and a way to condemn discrimination. It creates a sense of community.

What does the color orange mean on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?

From the 25th of November, we are ‘oranging’ the world for 16 days as part of the campaign. The color orange is a symbol of bright and optimistic future. The idea is to make social media to initiate a discussion about this future we want to have.

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

More Stories

  Support the SDGs! Take the #HoryouLightChallenge This world is the one thing we all have in common! By working together, we...