The UN’s #1 Sustainable Development Goal is a commitment to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere” by 2030, and the 2017 Summit will address this challenge by asking the question: “How Can We Innovate Our Way Out of Poverty?”
Shortlisted from over 100 people, delegates and their counsellors addressed the Summit on how they are using technology and microfinance to change the prospects of disadvantaged communities. The auditorium listened attentively to the moving and powerful speeches made by the young innovators from around the world, with contributions from global figures, including Sir Bob Geldof, musician and activist, Facebook global marketing chief, Carolyn Everson, and Amnesty International Secretary General, Salil Shetty.
Daniel Montes - Bringing entertainment to isolated communities
Daniel Montes, founder of Ruta 90 and Colombian native was the first to take to the stage. He lives in a land of 1,100 municipalities, where only 5.3 percent of those have access to cinemas, unable to enjoy the magical experience of the big screen, due to their isolated communities.
The Cine Colombia Ruta 90 convoy is a mobile cinema project, and consists of two large trucks equipped with giant inflatable screens. Travelling for thousands of miles across Colombia, Ruta 90 brings joy to vulnerable communities - it has now reached over 250,000 people.
“The project has also offered people living in isolated and deprived circumstances a way out of poverty,” he shared.
Ruta 90 project has brought to these communities, not just the happiness and laughter that comes with the shared experience of big screen family entertainment, but has broadened their horizons.
He claimed, "It gives them new hopes and dreams, and offers a platform that can educate and put them in closer contact with the wider world."
Rumaitha al Busaidi - Aquaculture key to alleviate poverty
Campaigner for food security and women empowerment, Rumaitha al Busaidi showcased her passion for aquaculture as the key to alleviate poverty.
Rumaitha pleaded, “We will need an innovative mindset to ensure that aquaculture becomes a means of escape from poverty.”
An aquaculture specialist, she’s passionate about sustainable development. Rumaitha has worked with rural farmers to transform agricultural land to fish farms, in order to help them regain income and utilise the water they have, and become their way out of poverty, she explained.
She believes in finding opportunities to increase food security and alleviate poverty through agriculture in a sustainable way.
Rositsa Zaimova - Reliable data is the heart of achieving economic growth
Rositsa Zaimova claimed that data is the heart in achieving economic growth. Rositsa began by explaining that 50% of Africans now have access to a mobile phone, and this percentage is still rapidly rising. Technologies have many direct benefits, including communication between farmers, migrants, loved ones and exchanging money safely over long distances.
She says, "In a connected world, key societal decisions can be made better because we are all generating, recording and sharing the necessary data."
The right use of this technology can save thousands of lives, especially in troubled crisis zones, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Rositsa and her team are continuing to build bridges between this private data and the public need for it, by setting up transparent privacy policies and making sure that the data created by the individuals is used for good.
Suman Kumar - Education offers the best way out of poverty
Delegate, Suman Kumar, spoke movingly and vividly, having witnessed the aftermath of the devastating Nepal earthquake, which killed 9,000 people and left millions without shelter.
Suman revealed that twenty-five Nepalese primary school students whose previous classroom had been completely destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, have now been able to resume their education in a safe environment. Thanks to his innovation, he has sought to rebuild schools using earthquake resistant technology.
With the support of 130 organizations, and 100 shelters, his project has gone from strength to strength.
“With their donations, we were able to build over 5,300 shelters and they housed over 26,000 earthquake victims.” he said.
He added, “Now I’m working towards making the earthquake resistant technology more scalable so that more schools can be built strong enough to withstand future earthquakes.”
Fernando Tamayo - YAQUA empowers humanity to choose a world without poverty
The 2017 Summit also heard from Fernando Tamayo Grados, who created the bottled water social enterprise named YAQUA. YAQUA empowers humanity to choose a world without poverty. Growing up in Los Olivos, he has been exposed to poverty from a very young age.
He added, "Today, we live in a world where our main source of happiness is not technology, nor cars, nor clothes, our main source of happiness is our generation's unique opportunity to help anyone in need."
YAQUA, is a simple model that diverts all profits to providing clean drinking water supplies to vulnerable communities in Peru.
"We have provided clean water to 1200 peruvians and today we mobilize hundreds of thousands and this is just the beginning," he said.
He pleaded, "OYW Delegates, please know that poverty can be eliminated within our lifetimes, let´s believe it, let's do it, one sip at a time."
Charles Akhimien - Mobile technology to provide access to better health care
Charles Akhimien spoke about his fight to eliminate poverty. As a medical doctor in Nigeria, for the past four years, he has seen first-hand the problems that most mothers face accessing health services and reaching hospital in the loss of Nigerian children.
“In Nigeria 2,300 children under-five years old and 145 women die every day mostly due to preventable causes,” he said.
He added, "Poverty has truly devastating effects on any individual, but it affects women the most."
In early 2015, Charles founded OMOMi as a way for mothers to communicate to doctors via an online community. OMOMi, decided to try and use mobile technology to fight its terrible maternal and child death toll.
OMOMi is an innovation that is empowering mothers with relevant maternal and child health information so that they can make better decisions, improve their health outcomes and stay alive.
OMOMi now has an active community of over 31,000 mothers.
Abdullahi Mahmoud Mohammed - Youth is the voice for combating poverty
Abdullahi Mahmoud Mohammed, is the founder of #CaawiWalaal. He was born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the height of the civil war. Both campaigns, known as #Caawiwalaal and #Abaarha, are largely voluntary-based and raised money from Somalis and non-Somalis alike through online crowdfunding and social media campaigns.
He said, "It is a shame and disgrace to see children and mothers die for lack of food and water in one corner and people living with plenty in the other corner of the world."
The campaign has two objectives: first, to bring forth information about the deteriorating situation of drought affected families in Somalia; second, to organize and coordinate help, for faster response to save lives and alleviate suffering. #Abaaraha maps and identifies where the need and gaps among the affected community.
He added, "The youth are often victims of every crisis and natural disasters but when given the chance, they are thinkers, problem solvers and a voice for combating poverty and hunger."
"I believe in people, the human potential and the possibilities of the future. We all have the power," he added.
This article was written by Elinor Jane Stephens. She is a Magazine Journalist, trained at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC).