SocialGood

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Inspired by the Social Good Summit, +SocialGood unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: Leveraging the power of technology and new media to make the world a better place.

+SocialGood is a place where connectors can collaborate, share best practices, influence local and global agendas, and find new ways to translate vision into action.

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Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India - Progress, Innovation, Excitement
CHRISTOPHER ELIAS March 25, 2014 “Who would have expected a toilet to one day filter water, charge a cellphone or create charcoal to combat climate change?” So wrote Associated Press last week in a story about the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India. The foundation has funded 16 research organizations around the world to “ reinvent the toilet ” and these toilet prototypes – toilets that aren’t connected to water, sewer, electricity, that reuse the waste for energy or fertilizer, that are affordable for the poor – were on display last week in New Delhi for a two-day event. Read the full article here . Read More
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SXSW +SocialGood
As SXSW +SocialGood came to a close one thing became very clear, social good is here to stay. In 2013, events like Good By Global showed the hunger for social good programming at SXSW. In 2014, four days of SXSW +SocialGood programming showed it was an integral part of the conversation. Read More
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Library For All
On a recent trip to Australia I happen to connect with someone from Library For All and got to learn first hand about what it's all about and what's happening.... A little more info: Library for All is a non-­profit organization that exists to unlock knowledge to those without access to books in developing countries. To achieve this ambitious goal, Library For All is building a platform that will enable the delivery of ebooks to developing communities, at a much lower cost than building physical libraries. The content is accessed via mobile phone networks found across the developing world, and is made available on low-cost devices such as tablets, mobile phones and PCs. One of the biggest social challenges of our time is that 250 million children worldwide are not learning basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. Illiteracy leads to limited income potential, poor health outcomes and marginalization for individuals as well as limited economic growth for communities. Lack of access to books and educational materials is a major barrier to improving literacy levels as it limits student learning as well as teacher training and support. Most recently they launched their #sixdegreesofeducation campaign, which is putting to the test the theory that everyone is connected by six degrees or fewer. They have identified 15 individuals (KeyListers) who are advocates for education, and who have specific areas of expertise that will help LFA expand the Library. The plan is to harness the support of an interconnected global network, to help deliver an invitation package to each of the Keylisters. The route is unknown as is how many steps it will take, but that’s the fun of the campaign. To find out more, I spoke to the Australian Director, Kitty van Cuylenburg just before the campaign launched. What is the vision for Library for All? Library For All has an ambitious vision to provide educational resources for 250 million children globally - children who do not have access to quality content to learn basic reading and writing. Literacy and quality education leads to higher income, longer lives and healthier families, which is why we are building a digital library for the developing world. In doing so we have a vision to bridge the ‘knowledge gap’ and provide the tools for individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty. We are bringing together linguistically and culturally relevant content from major publishers and OER providers, which can be accessed on low-cost tablets and cell phones via available mobile networks. We have a vision to reach 5 million users in 5 years! How did Library For All start? The founder of Library For All, Rebecca McDonald, moved to Haiti in 2010 with her husband to help rebuild after the devastating earthquake of that same year. When she was there, she visited schools with fewer than 30 books between hundreds of students - books that were so precious they were kept under lock and key, rarely viewed, and never taken home! Rebecca realised that current approaches to addressing the lack of access to books and resources in developing communities were not working, and often expensive and unsustainable. So she founded Library For All in 2011 - with the vision to curate a digital library from the worlds collective resources, accessible to those living in poverty. Education is a right for all individuals - and technology is enabling us to connect with those who previously could never have access: what technology do you use to make it possible for Library for All to reach your students? Library For All seeks to strengthen the whole school ecosystem with a digital, cloud based Library as a content solution to replace or enhance the building of physical libraries. The technology platform is device agnostic, accessible on a range of tablet devices, mobile phones and in a browser, so that partners can use the Library on devices they already have. We also provide a system that enables access to constantly updated and relevant content, even in low bandwidth environments. A feature of this is centralised content download, which is pushed out locally to other user devices. What are the major successes you've seen with the students who have had access to LFA? Could you share one story? It’s almost unbelievable, but when we piloted in Haiti, these students had never seen a book in their first language (Haitian Creole), as the education language and texts are in French. When we released the pilot, we had obtained 50 children’s books in Creole, which the students quickly devoured and then went looking for more! Not only that, they were hungry for text in English and Spanish (as Haiti borders with the Dominican Republic). We were overwhelmed by the voracity in which students took to the Library. It was by far and away more than what we had expected, considering that tablet technology had not previously been used in the school. Feedback included: “The kids were amazed at the pictures”, and “...[they] didn’t want Library time to end!” The wonderful part of this is the difference the Library has made with students like Roberline. Roberline is a grade 9 student at Respire Haiti School. Before LFA came to Respire, she was studying for a Biology exam and was having trouble naming the organs of the body. She askedMegan, Respire’s Founder for help. Megan suggested she bring her textbook and they would study together. When Megan saw the textbook it became instantly clear why Roberline was having so much trouble. The text book was so poorly printed that the ink was smeared inside the outline of the body, completely covering the organs. Library For All can now provide these textbooks in full colour, which won’t degrade, and Roberline can have access to the resources she needs to realise her dream of becoming a nurse. What has been the most difficult challenge for LFA? Essentially, finding the right balance between building the Library and rolling it out. Many start-ups face this challenge - where the desire to have a perfectly built platform competes with the need to get user feedback. Like many new organisations, we are working by a Lean Startup philosophy. What this meant though was our first pilot in Haiti faced challenges with regards to our network topology. Despite efforts to create a robust offline experience for local devices, we found that several key Library functions still relied on an internet connection, making the App essentially unusable with the school’s intermitted internet connection. Therefore, during the pilot we decided to change tack and preload the content so we could ensure we obtained user feedback. But we have now overcome these issues - user feedback is incorporated into our Phase 2 Application, as is a working local hub, which completes data transfers between the hub and tablets! What countries are next? Over the next few months we are rolling out our second iteration of the Library to 60 schools in Haiti. After that, we are looking to pilot in two more countries in Africa by the end of the year. For our pilot programs we look for partnerships which enable us to sustainably and effectively provide Library access to multiple organisations in a particular country. At the moment we have confirmed Rwanda for our next pilot, and are working through which partnerships are best placed for our third pilot country in Africa. Watch this space! What can we help to get the word out? Well, we have just launched our #sixdegreesofeducation campaign! In a nutshell, we want an invitation package, accompanied by some tenacious bookworms from Library For All to find their way to our campaign KeyListers. These KeyListers are individuals who have the capacity to expand the Library across the world - people such as Laura Bush, George Lucas and Queen Rania of Jordan. We want to invite them to meet with us - to work with us to unlock knowledge to the developing world. Together, Library For All and these Keylisters can provide resources to lift developing communities out of poverty. YOU can help us by sharing the campaign with your networks, tweeting and following, - or sign up to take one of the packages if you think you can get it a degree closer to these KeyListers! Get involved at: http://sixdegrees.libraryforall.org More about LFA: https://libraryforall.org #sixdegrees on youtube: ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJNgOwRaBlc Help spread the word and make this vision become a reality! Read More
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300 Million People Need Your Help, Are You In?
Last week in Paris marked the second meeting of the G20 Employment Taskforce- one of the six official working groups of the world’s premier economic and financial forum. At the St Petersburg G20 Summit in 2013, world leaders committed to come to Brisbane in 2014 with a concrete action plan referred to as a ‘comprehensive growth strategy’ that outlines the steps they will commit to taking to drive economic growth in their respective countries. Within each of these plans lies an ‘individual country employment plan’ that focuses on boosting employment and lifting participation. It’s the latter of these two strategies that the taskforce on employment is responsible for. As Chair of the G20 Youth Summit, I headed to Paris with a clear objective: to push for the mandatory inclusion of measures to address youth unemployment in all country employment plans. Why? Because we stand on the brink of a lost generation. Despite the fact that youth unemployment has been flagged as a critical issue at the last three G20 Leaders’ Summits, youth unemployment numbers have continued to climb, rising to 73 million in 2013 and showing no signs of slowing. Currently more than 300 million young people are neither studying nor in employment around the world. While we often hear about the issue purely in relation to Europe (where in countries like Spain the youth unemployment rate is at 60%) the truth of the matter is that in every G20 country the youth unemployment rate is 2-3 times the adult rate. In the EU alone the disengagement of young people from the workforce is costing them €150 billion a year! As the CEO of Coca Cola pointed out in Davos earlier this year, reducing the youth unemployment rate by 1 percent adds $75 billion to the global economy- not to mention improving the lives of millions of young people worldwide. An IMF report released early this year showed that young people who face unemployment early in their careers can be “permanently scarred”, resulting in career-long ramifications that include ongoing challenges in finding jobs and earning up to 20% less than their counterparts who never experienced unemployed. This all serves as a pertinent reminder of how employment—particularly youth unemployment—cross-cuts through all sectors of the global economy, whether it be business, civil society or government itself. So, how’d the pitch go? In exciting news the G20 taskforce have committed to both mandatory youth employment measures being included in the employment plans and to youth employment featuring prominently in the messaging that will come out of the Employment Ministers Declaration at their September meeting. So, what does this mean for you? The Paris outcome is a big procedural win, but the key now is the substance of these recommendations. Youth unemployment is not the sort of issue that lends itself to a “one-size-fits-all” solution and the people who are best placed to help come up with measures that are going to work are you; the young leaders of the world who are close to the issue itself and who, like me, care passionately about the future of our generation and our global society. There is a clear need for multi-pronged and balanced job creation strategies and targeted, time-bound youth employment plans that feature recommendations around heightened levels of apprenticeships, skills training and measures to better empower young entrepreneurs. So what should could measures to address youth unemployment look like in your country? Tweet @Y20Aus or hashtag #Y20jobs to join in the start of this global conversation as we look to get this issue on to the G20 world leader’s agenda in November and help to create substantive plans in the lead up to this debate. We need your voice, opinions and ideas and we need them now! Read More
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