Invited for the International German Forum held by Angela Merkel

hajoJust before Christmas I received a personal letter from Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. The invitation looked legit but I had to read it twice before understanding I was being asked to join a group of experts on social innovation in Berlin. The goal was to advise Angela Merkel on the future of Germany and Europe on this matter.

A once in a life time experience
I arrived in Berlin on the 19th of January at the Bundeskanzleramt. After clearing security, I found myself amongst a very diverse group of German politicians, scientists and think tank executives combined with social innovators from around the globe. From India to Kenya and from Canada to China.

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Social Enterprise TTC receives large impact investment from ABN AMRO Bank

The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has invested in TTC (formerly Text to Change): one of the largest investments in a social enterprise in The Netherlands. TTC has developed a service that uses mobile technology, to rapidly exchange information with specific target groups in developing countries. The technology is used to execute data collection and social campaigns aimed at health, education, agriculture and emergency relief.

Eric Buckens, Manager ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund stated: “TTC reaches diverse groups of people at a large scale in developing countries. The goal is to support them in their daily lives and truly bring about improvements in matters that directly concern them, such as healthcare. The enterprise fits the aims of the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund completely.”

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Texting to prevent Digital Violence in Bolivia

“Violence is the last resource of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov

“Violence is a weakness.” – Jean Jaures

These are examples of some of the text messages that students from M.M. Postel School in Bolivia received last year. These messages were sent for a Digital Violence prevention campaign, executed under collaboration between Fe y Alegría and TTC. The past years, telecommunication technologies (Internet, mobile technology, online games, etc.) have grown tremendously in Bolivia. Sadly, a negative result of this was a quick propagation of the bad use of these telematics. A new type of violence emerged: digital violence.

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The importance of learning from each other’s successes and failures

Imagine: a nationwide organization with representatives in all corners of the country, but without a proper reporting system. It’s no rocket science to conclude that this lack of information sharing is an enormous setback for an organization.

Malawi
The National Organization for Nurses and Midwives (NONM) in Malawi was experiencing such a shortage of information sharing. The central secretariat had little or no insights into what was happening in the 28 districts.  In addition, the districts had no idea about what activities were organized in their neighboring districts. For instance, it was possible that nurses in Lilongwe district have a general meeting every week while in Zomba district they only meet once every three months. Vast differences in work processes could co-exist and no lessons were learned from each other’s successes and failures. 

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