hope

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.

Cancer is still a taboo in many parts of the world. Especially in Asia, where there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the disease and to support people cannot afford to get the right treatment. For 10 years now, EMPOWERED – The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia, has acted on these critical issues, helping and enlightening communities who are suffering from the lack of information and hope. In this interview with Wallance Cheong, project executive at EMPOWERED, a new member of our Horyou platform, shares the values and missions of this organization with our community.

Empowered team during Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening & Treatment Project

When was Empowered founded?

EMPOWERED was officially registered with the Registrar of Societies Malaysia in 2008 and is governed by an Executive Committee Board consisting of elected volunteers. It was founded by Dr. Christina Ng, a Consultant Medical Oncologist and our program started from year 2009 onwards. The organization is an ally of the poor who are afflicted with cancer.  EMPOWERED is committed to helping them to cope with cancer and life through the society’s many structured and personalized programs, and we bring these programs right into their homes. Our mission is to save lives, to prevent cancer and eliminate suffering amongst the poor.

Empowered’s Milestones

Your organization raises awareness of a condition that is considered taboo by many. How do you set the tone to discuss it with the general public?

The cancer awareness level, particularly in Asia, remains a challenge and some may perceive cancer as a taboo to be discussed. All the myths and misunderstandings about cancer are generally due to the lack of the right education and knowledge. Thus, we constantly raise public awareness and advocacy through our tailored campaigns and projects, educational exhibitions and talks, workshops etc. Furthermore, in accordance with society’s vision and mission, we actually bring these programs and supports right into the underprivileged communities home. We enable our EMPOWERED professionals to touch the hearts of the public.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening & Treatment Project

Do you have any plans and projects for 2018 that you would like to share?

We will carry out our annual signature campaign – Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening and Treatment Project (CCASTP) 2018. However, unlike previous practice, we would like to heighten public awareness level of cancer issues by organizing a Charity Run. The run is planned to be carried out in November, in conjunction with EMPOWERED’s 10th Anniversary and the Lung Cancer Month, and we are expecting about 2,000 people to join us.

You are a new organization in our Community. Tell us about your expectations and projects for Horyou.

We understand Horyou is an esteemed, established platform and action-oriented social network for the social good; EMPOWERED is honoured to join as a member of this big family. As time goes by, we expect to reach a wider public, raise public awareness and advocacy of cancer and generate funding and support for the sustainability of EMPOWERED’s projects with the aid of Horyou. 

Depuis dix ans, l’association “Action sociale” soutient des enfants et adolescents, notamment dans les communautés plus vulnérables au Cameroun, en leur offrant un accompagnement psychologique et psychosocial. En 2018, cette organisation active sur notre plate-forme Horyou fête son dixième anniversaire avec des résultats impressionnants – plus de 100 familles d’enfants vivant avec un handicap ont été accompagnés, pendant qu’environ 2000 entretiens psychologiques ont été menés auprès d’enfants et enseignants dans les écoles camerounaises et que plus de 1000 enfants on été sensibilisés contre les maladies sexuellement transmissibles. Horyou a interviewé le président de l’association, Eustache Essouma.

 

Action Sociale au Cameroun

Pouvez-vous nous présenter brièvement “Action sociale”?

L’association “Action sociale” est née en janvier 2008 du besoin de rendre la communauté accessible à la psychologie. C’est une association à but non lucratif. Ses principales cibles sont les enfants et les mamans adolescentes. “Action sociale” rêve d’une société exempte des maladies chroniques et mentales où les populations sont épanouies et adoptent des comportements positifs et responsables. L’association mène des actions de communication sociale, de prise en charge psychologique ou psychosociale et d’insertion socio-économique dans la communauté par les psychologues, les chercheurs, les consultants, les volontaires, les bénévoles et les membres en vue d’améliorer le bien-être des populations. Sa mission est de lutter contre les maladies chroniques et mentales des populations en organisant des campagnes de mobilisation et de sensibilisation, ainsi que des séances de suivi et d’accompagnement psychologique ; d’épanouir les mamans adolescentes à travers l’insertion socio-économique et de changer positivement les comportements des populations à travers la conception et la production des jeux de société. “Action sociale” intervient aux niveaux de la communication sociale, la santé mentale, la santé communautaire, l’insertion socioéconomique des mamans adolescentes, la formation et la recherche.

Vous éduquez des jeunes sur les sujets sensibles comme le HIV et ses conséquences. Comment aborder ce genre de questions d’une façon effective et délicate en travaillant avec ce public?

Nous utilisons des films et des jeux pour sensibiliser nos cibles. Pour nous l’image et le jeu sont faciles pour une prise de conscience et pour faire passer le message.

Y a-t-il eu une réalisation qui a eu une importance toute particulière pour vous ces dernières années?

Nous avons réussi à créer un jeu de société qui permet de lutter contre les inégalités de genre, de stigmatisation et de discrimination des personnes vivant avec le handicap. En 2018 nous voulons en faire la promotion et le vulgariser.

Enfants jouent avec le jeu de societé

Si vous pouviez partager un message avec l’ensemble des membres de la communauté Horyou, quel serait-il?

Horyou est une plate-forme de communication. Elle est très importante pour les ONG et associations. Nous encourageons tout le monde à se l’approprier.

Back in the 1990s, environmental journalism was a brave choice – a relatively new, complicated topic that has only started to engage the global audience, while many broadcasters and newspapers were not yet convinced it was an issue of public interest. Despite all the odds, Mark Kinver decided to pursue the career, and never looked back. The environmental journalist has been working for BBC News for more than 17 years and is always inspired by trees, as much as by people and the mission to report the truth.

Horyou blog is happy to inaugurate the «Changemakers» interview series with Mark Kinver!

Kinver: «People do care about environment»

When and why did you start covering environmental issues?


I started reporting on environmental issues back in the late 1990s. I had always been interested in politics but I became a bit dismayed with the seemingly petty nature of disputes within political parties and within the mechanics of the party political process. I did not want to follow a career in an arena which left me feeling somewhat disenchanted. So I looked around for an issue/topic that I could focus on. The environment had always been a central part of my life. As a youngster, I either spent my time on moorland or beaches, and I loved trees (still do!). I have not looked back since then and have reported on environmental stories all over the world.


In the last few years, environmental issues have been gathering more global attention and making daily headlines. Are you optimistic about the public awareness of these topics?

Yes. People do care about environmental issues. Whether it is about the energy they use, the transport that takes them from A to B, the food they eat, or the plight of threatened species. What environmentally focused organisations and individuals need to remember is that people do care. However, they also care about keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. It may not be the top priority for most people but it is still an issue. Give people facts and they will act. Give people emotion and they will become suspicious.


More often than not, environmental coverage touches on social issues. How to raise the public’s attention to the interconnectivity between the environment and society?

Avoid buzzwords and concepts like interconnectivity and interdependency etc. People just need to become aware of the relationship their have with the land around them. This will take time, and a big question is whether we have enough time left to make us all a sustainable species. I remain hopeful that we will forge a closer relationship with the planet and the means of how it sustains us.


Who inspires you in your work?

People on the front line. Farmers, scientists, business people, etc. They have to face real-world problems on a day-to-day basis, and they have to find the best solution they can. More and more of them are putting environmental considerations centre stage.

What will be your main focus in 2018?


Apart from trees (!) I think food security is going to be an issue we are going to hear more and more about. While there will be a focus on the food supply chains, we will also hear much more about nutrition security – in industrialised economies, experts are concerned that too much sugar and fat is being consumed. This concern will manifest itself in various guises, such as proposed economic instruments, public awareness campaigns and an increase in consumer awareness.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 7 aims to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy for all, to further inclusion, opportunity and empowerment.

Photo: UNDP India

Almost 200 years after the invention of the first electric motor, there still are 1 billion people with no access to electricity. Half of them are in sub-Saharan countries, most in urban areas. It’s ironic that Africa, a region so rich in natural resources, always mentioned as the future test site for clean energy, still has a considerable part of its population in the dark.

It is both a wonderful opportunity and a threat – without clean and affordable energy, our future is at risk. How many innovators are losing the opportunity to put their ideas into practice? For how many more years are we to keep burning fossil fuels to provide our populations with energy? For how long will we continue to consume power without even thinking about its sources or effects on the environment?

According to the last UNDP account and despite all international agreements, the renewable share in final energy consumption has grown modestly from 2012 to 2014 from 17,9% to 18,3%, most of it from water, solar and wind-generated power. In the most developed and largest energy-consuming countries, however, an effort has been made – especially by reducing power consumption through greater efficiency in industry. The challenge is to increase this share even more, especially in sectors like heat and transport which account for 80% of global energy consumption.

Progress still falls short, but there are many remarkable initiatives in large and small scale that give hope and inspiration. One of the active organizations on our Horyou platform, Geres, Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity, is a French NGO that works with innovative and sustainable development projects around Europe-Mediterranean, West Africa, South-East Asia and Central Asia. From building electrified zones in Mali through to developing bioclimatic solutions in houses and farms in the Indian Himalayas, Geres has empowered communities for more than 40 years.

Other initiatives were presented during SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – one of the SIGEF Awards runner-ups was Pocket Rocket, a company focused on energy saving. Its products and services help to reduce the percentage of CO2 released in the air. Another one is Can Heat, a project which facilitates the manufacturing of solar water heater panels through the reuse of waste materials.

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 clean and affordable energy 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!

English version below

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!

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