The United Nations Development Program, in partnership with “MEGA Silk Way”, Künde, “Public association of disabled people “Bakyt” and the Medical Center of Mental Health, have organized a crowdfunding campaign to open a coffee shop in Astana that promotes the integration of people with special needs. The coffee shop is Künde Café, an inclusive socially responsible café in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project
Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project

Künde Café is an innovative social entrepreneurship projects that offers work opportunities to people with mental or special development needs, in order to better integrate them in society.

The project started one year ago in collaboration with the Astana Medical Center of Mental Health, providing opportunities to people with special needs who are part of the Medical Industrial Workshops. One of the partners is Künde, a network comprised of 102 workshop personnel, their parents and friends, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, along with students of Nazarbayev University and catering professionals.

Besides raising funds for the project, the campaign aims to increase awareness of the issues that people with mental and development needs face everyday. A concert was held within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose core message is to ‘Leave No One Behind’ and thus help provide good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities, wherever they are needed.

Promotion piece about the café
Promotion piece about the café

“When given an opportunity, people with special needs can become fully included into the society, and bring in transformative ideas, great knowledge and a wealth of experience. UNDP has been working to create and promote such opportunities for people with special needs for a long time and in over 170 countries around the world“, stated UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Norimasa Shimomura.

“My aim is to work in the social café, get on my feet, make money, and improve my quality of life. I want to achieve all of that by myself. I would like to create a family. My goal is to achieve all of that and not give up,” declared Kuanysh Nogaibayev, one of the future workers at Künde Café.

To date, approximately 600,000 people with special mental needs live in Kazakhstan. Less than 3% of those people have jobs. When launched, Künde Café will give them an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, to socialize, and to successfully integrate into society.

If you would like to support this campaign, become a part of Künde’s success story, and be a donor, go to this link.

News from Astana is a content project by Horyou, the social network for social good and host of SIGEF 2017, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The 4th edition of SIGEF will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-7 September.

Flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs"
Flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs”

A new UNDP document launched during the COP 22, in Marrakech, links climate action with sustainable development. The flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs” is in its second edition and highlights local initiatives relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“The report showcases how each of the actions taken to address climate change has profound and concrete results that benefit human, social and economic development”, said UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator Magdy Martinez-Soliman. The UNDP document looks at efforts that empower communities in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including education, healthcare, food security and women empowerment. By using country examples, the document illustrates with infographics and stories how the more than 800 UNDP programmes are contributing to achieve the 17 SDGs.

Examples abound: In Ecuador, the Zero Hunger initiative whereby farmers are increasing their water supply access by reviving traditional water control and combining small dams and dikes with modern reservoirs and irrigation techniques, is a fine one. Samoa, where youth and women are supported by educational programmes to start micro-enterprises in agro-businesses is another.

The UNDP impact reached more than 140 countries through access climate grant finance, providing a 2.8 USD billion portfolio. Almost 40% of the portfolio on adaptation efforts, while 22% are linked to forestation projects and mitigation actions for sustainable energy. 11% support issues like institutional strengthening, finance and capacity building, and nearly 11% help countries to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement.   “Thanks to the Paris Agreement, we now have a path for the world to work together on an integrated solution to climate change,” said Martinez-Soliman. “It is now our responsibility to work with our partners to follow this path and to help achieve climate and development priorities.”

The report reiterates the COP 22 message for the climate – the deal is done; the time to act is now.

Written by Vivian Soares

Social Good Summit cover

One part of technology, two parts of social innovation, mixed with a generous deal of good intentions and a pinch of thoughtful investments: voilà! We have a recipe for successful social entrepreneurship. Horyou blog is media partner of the Social Good Summit, an impact investment and social innovation event which took place in Geneva on the 6th of October, during which we followed the journey of real-life changemakers and now share their stories!

Organized by Impact Hub in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the one-day event was focused on promoting social entrepreneurship and impact investing for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dozens of entrepreneurs, investors, media and organizations shared success stories and inspiration to transform the world into a better place.

The Social Good Summit took place at Impact Hub office, in Geneva
The Social Good Summit took place at Impact Hub office, in Geneva

The opening speech was delivered by Sarah Bel and Maria Luisa Silva, from UNDP who called for the engagement of all actors to pursue the agenda of SDGs. The private sector and innovators are key participants on this social good path as “we will need an incredible amount of innovation in the next 15 years, and that’s exactly what the private sector does better”, said Maria Luisa. Karen Wilson, from the OECD, asked: “Why invest in social innovation? Because it makes good business sense – it is an innovative and increasingly accountable way to diversify portfolios”.

The Summit was then open to the real stories of young and brave finalists of Accelerate 2030, a social impact supporting program which received more than 177 applications from 10 countries. The 5 best projects were presented during the Social Good Summit. There were amazing stories such as Agruppa’s, a Colombian startup who has helped small food shop owners to buy 30% cheaper and be more competitive only by aggregating their demand in a mobile technology solution; or Ignitia’s, a tropical weather forecast company much more accurate and with a strong focus on small farmers from climate change vulnerable areas in Africa.

Agruppa was one of the Accelerate 2030 finalists
Agrippa was one of the Accelerate 2030 finalists
All the entrepreneurs gave a short pitch to the audience and then answered questions about their business models, challenges, potential grey areas and future developments. All of them were looking for investors and shared their prospective plans with a very engaged public.

Many of them face the challenge of maximizing their impact. “Good leadership, quick learning and simple business models are important drivers”, said John Ayliffee, CEO of Swiss Idea Box. Access to talent and to financing are also challenges, according to Krisztina Tora, from the UNLTD, especially in developing countries – difficulties like finding good back office professionals were mentioned by some entrepreneurs during the event. All of the speakers shared a vision for 2030: a world with equal opportunities for all social entrepreneurs, shared business models and markets. Deeper and broader positive impact on society.

Ignitia provides weather forecast for tropical regions
Ignitia provides weather forecast for tropical regions

Investors also had the opportunity to express their views on innovative ventures. Bertrand Gacon, from Lombard Obier bank, sees mainstream investors increasingly accepting the idea of impact investments – he believes entrepreneurs still have to work on liquidity mechanisms to be more attractive. Katherine Millinga, from Schwab Foundation, added that social enterprises should leverage technology, distribution and aggregation solutions to attract more investors.

Aymeric Jung, from Quadia, believes sustainable businesses are a matter of survival. “Impact investing is the new economy”, he said. Ivan Agabekov, from INOKS, explained impact is not a subcategory of investment – according to him, performance and impact should not be excluding.

The Social Good Summit ended with their visions of the future – a more impactful one, with more innovative and profitable social entrepreneurs and a true aim to turn the Sustainable Development Goals into reality. Being a strong supporter of the SDGs, Horyou shares their views and believes that the future lies in social innovation & social good. 2030, here we go!

Written by Vívian Soares

Yonathan Parienti was a panellist at YouthSpeak Forum
Yonathan Parienti was a panellist at YouthSpeak Forum

Organized by AIESEC, a global youth-driven organization, the first Swiss YouthSpeak Forum happened on April 14th, in Geneva. Horyou blog participated in the event and is hereby disclosing what future entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators think about their role on shaping a better world.

The YouthSpeak Forum was a day-long event with many activities: presentations, business cases, discussion pannels and a few problem-solving workshops. Among the participants were young people from all over the world – The Netherlands, Lithuania, India, UK and Brazil were some of the nationalities that were doing good networking. The conversation was easy and fluid during the breaks, and people were really interested in each other’s stories, professional projects and concerns.

The morning sessions were dedicated to presentations. Public figures as the mayor or Geneva Esther Alder and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) director Maria Luisa Silva talked about innovation and sustainability as key elements for development. “Young people need to have their voices heard in order to ensure a future for the planet”, said Silva; she highlighted the fact that the 17 new UN Sustainable Development Goals, launched last September, have a strong focus on youth participation and benefits.

The Mayor of Geneva, Esther Alder
The Mayor of Geneva, Esther Alder

After her lecture, the attendees watched business cases from organizations like Ashoka and Bcorp Switzerland. The latter showed how the new generations value purpose-driven companies. “New business models are arising and companies that want to cause impact following social, environmental, transparency and accountability standards are better on attracting Millenials”, explained Jonathan Normand, co-founder or Bcorp.

The morning ended with the pannel “The role of youth in shaping tomorrow’s society”. Yonathan Parienti, CEO and founder of Horyou, was invited panellist and talked about how everyone from all origins, ages and backgrounds, can contribute to the development. He presented Spotlight, the first global social currency, as a way to support projects and organizations worldwide. “I feel very hopeful with the youth role on shaping better times to come. Horyou platform connects all generations for the same goal: to promote social good”, said Yonathan.

Afternoon sessions were dedicated to workshops on social entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking and ethics for businesses. Horyou blog participated on a UNDP workshop about the Social Good Summit, that will happen in September. The attendees had to present innovative ideas to the event, using communication, content and logistic projects – being a communication and media company, we engaged in very fruitful conversations and helped the UN agency with many ideas in view of the upcoming Summit!

The YouthSpeak Forum was a very rich experience for our team. Being surrounded by the future entrepreneurs, business and political leaders and innovators inspired us to keep promoting the social good through technology and communication!

Written by Vivian Soares

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Last weekend, the Indian capital of Delhi played host to a joint conference between the country’s Finance Department and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The purpose was to examine the current position of India in the world economy and identify ways in which its socioeconomic situation can be improved to keep up with its economic growth.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing large economies and has the youngest, most populous workforce. This sole fact would put India streets ahead of any other country in terms of competitiveness. However, India is still a developing nation and faces huge societal problems such as poor corporate governance, rising inequality and an inefficient health care system.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made a speech outlining the foundation’s interest in India’s issues and the foundation’s pledge to help. “Our investments from the philanthropic point of view are focused on the needs in terms of poverty and inequality.” They realize that, although India may have a demographic advantage, economic opportunity must be created for everyone so that the true dynamism of the country can be captured and turned into prosperity for all.

India is 25 years into its structural reforms but statistics show that income inequality has actually worsened in this time. In defense of this, Prime Minister Modi said that “the reforms put in place in 1991 do not reflect the complex, global realities that we have today.”

As we are now globally interconnected, India is affected by volatile markets and capital flows, drops in commodities and geopolitical conflicts, but is it really as equipped as its more developed counterparts to deal with these issues?

At present, India is growing 3 times faster than its advanced neighbours. Nevertheless, this isn’t being translated into returns for the primary and manufacturing sectors because monetary and price policy are incompatible.

Thankfully, it seems that this is ringing home to the current Government. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his address that “India will make a big shift in corporate tax rates to remain competitive.”

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
This will mean big concessions for service focused foreign companies, which will create jobs until the country is able to strengthen agriculture and factories.

This short term easing of monetary policy will at least mobilise the massive population eligible to work and allow them to internalise all of the opportunities that this global, interconnected market brings.

India is at an extremely decisive moment. It has all of the opportunity but also many obstacles. Initiatives such as that put forward by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are essential to begin to fill in the cracks of this fragmented social base.
Voices of change like Horyou are important to bring the country into the global conversation. However, most importantly, multilateral cooperation from those in power is needed so that every person has the best chance of being a productive member of their society and the potential of India as a global growth market, is truly harnessed.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

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