Plus Social Good

Over the last year, The Global Conversation has connected innovators across the globe around a shared vision: Leveraging the power of technology and new media to make the world a better place. We’ve met amazing people along the way, and are excited to share our latest plans with you.

Later this month, we’ll be re-launching as +SocialGood, and moving our global conversation to www.plussocialgood.org. Our new Twitter handle is @plus_socialgood.

Through a dynamic mix of online connections and real-world events, +SocialGood will provide a place where connectors can collaborate, share best practices, influence local and global agendas, and find new ways to translate vision into action. Sneak a peek at what we’re working on, and tell us what you think!

#PeoplePower: New Media, Technology and the Millennium Development Goals

Watch our Momentum 1,000 G+ Hangout with Afrinnovator’s Mark Kaigwa, and Prayasam’s Amlan Ganguly, Sikha Patel, and Salim Sheik.

In 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, most Internet connections were dial-up. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist. Mobile phones? An expensive luxury.

Now, these tools play a critical role in global development, empowering citizens around the world to help advance the MDGS.

On Friday, April 5th, we marked the 1000-day milestone towards the MDGs, joining with a community of individuals, organizations, and institutions for a 1,000 minute social media rally to celebrate success so far, reinvigorate discussion on the MDGs themselves, and begin to advance a post-2015 development framework that builds on #MDGmomentum.

How Technology Is Powering Up New Solutions to Global Challenges

Guest post by Rick Leach, President & CEO, World Food Program USA

The world as we know it has entered an information age that’s powering up incredible new solutions to tackle global challenges, from solving hunger to ending extreme poverty. In working on these issues, I have seen the many ways that technology is changing how we communicate, how we collect data and how we interact with our world. This year, we are joining with our partners at the United Nations Foundation and Social Good Summit to present GoodxGlobal, an inaugural day of social good programming at South by South West (SXSW), the nation’s seminal conference on technological and digital innovation.

For all of the new ways to address old problems, we know one thing for certain: Technology is changing the way the world fights poverty.

At the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the largest humanitarian organization in the world and the logistics arm of the UN, a new era of innovation has enabled smarter, faster assistance to those hungry and in need. WFP works to predict who is most vulnerable to hunger, long before disasters like drought, famine or flooding, strike. WFP does this using data and advanced technologies such as satellite imagery, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mobile data collection platforms, such as smart phones, tablets and Personal Digital Assistants. With better data and mapping tools, WFP is able to get a clearer picture of how many people require food assistance on a daily basis and in the wake of a crisis.

In 2012, the international community prevented a famine in the Sahel region of West Africa in part through the use of early warning systems designed to predict when a severe hunger crisis will strike.

One such system, FEWS NET—an effort of NASA, USAID and other US agencies—uses a diverse set of indicators, including both raw satellite imagery as well as market trends, to forecast where and when people will be most affected by hunger. This information enabled WFP to act faster to stem the crisis.

New technologies are also helping to empower people affected by emergencies to get back on their feet. In Syria, a major humanitarian crisis created by conflict has scattered families and sent millions in search of refuge from violence and insecurity. WFP is putting electronic voucher cards directly into the hands of refugee women who have fled Syria to neighboring countries, enabling them to buy their families nutritious food from community sources. Vouchers serve to increase access to food for those in need while reinvesting in local markets and offering opportunities of greater dietary diversity.

As we work to end global hunger and poverty, we are proud to be able to collaborate with partners, developers and entrepreneurs to bring game-changing ideas about social innovation to the global stage.

We hope that you will join us on March 10th in Austin or on our live stream for GoodxGlobal, an exciting day of ideas, conversations, and brainstorming on how technology can change our world for the better.

 

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post. 

Rick Leach serves as president and chief executive officer of World Food Program USA (WFP USA), a nonprofit organization that builds support in the United States to end global hunger by engaging individuals and organizations, shaping public policy, and generating resources for WFP and other hunger relief operations. WFP USA educates members of Congress, the administration, and other government officials about international hunger issues and specific policies that could improve U.S. government efforts to address global hunger. WFP USA also advocates sufficient funding to ensure that U.S. government programs are reaching as many people as possible who are in need around the world. Leach established WFP USA (formerly Friends of the World Food Program) in 1997 and led the organization until 2004. He returned to lead it in 2010.

GoodxGlobal at South by Southwest

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Are you going to the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals?  Do you want to do some social good while you’re there?

On March 10, 2013, GoodxGlobal (GxG) will host the first-ever day of events dedicated to the local and global power of social good and entrepreneurship.  GxGwill showcase tech-driven approaches to aid effectiveness, mobile innovation, women’s empowerment, social entrepreneurship in action, and much more.

Over the course of the day, events will bring together local, national and global leaders to showcase emerging approaches, build new collaborative relationships and share knowledge on how evolving digital solutions can power new solutions and partnerships.

Speakers include:

  • Larry Irving, Co-Founder, Mobile Alliance for Global Good (@mobilizeforgood)
  • Michael Wilde, Chief of Awesome, Office of the CTO, Splunk, (@michaelwilde)
  • Beth Kanter, Author, Blogger, Master Trainer (@kanter), and
  • Elizabeth Gore, Chair, Global Entrepreneurs Council and Resident Entrepreneur, UN Foundation (@emgoreun)

Mark your Calendars for #RiseUp on Google+

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Join the United Nations Foundation on Google+ to continue the conversation started at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) side event Rise Up: Advocating for Girls Around the World.

We have invited girl advocates and adult champions from all over the world to discuss the challenges adolescent girls face in their communities and effective advocacy strategies – especially those involving technology and new media – that can be used to help girls overcome these challenges.

Tune in at 3:00 PM EST on Monday, March 4 to hear voices from Latin America, Asia and the US talk about ending violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka, how the film Girl Rising is using movie-making to end poverty, ways American girls can help their peers in Guatemala, and more!


UPDATE - Here is a link to a video of the Hangout: http://youtu.be/8O-wLaEYd3w

The promise of the “G-Everyone” Summit

Guest post by Henry Timms, (@htimms) Deputy Executive Director of the 92nd Street Y.

September’s UN Week used to be about closed doors and closed streets. Up went the barriers as soon as the most important leaders arrived.

We launched the Social Good Summit to try to open the conversation. We believed that the “connected generation” had both a desire to be at the table, as well as something important to say.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the response. Every year during UN Week, almost 2,000 digital leaders and social entrepreneurs join us here at 92nd Street Y in NYC, and around a hundred thousand watch the live stream. Even more exciting has been the way the Summit has become “community-sourced”, with local organizers all over the world now hosting their own meetings.

In 2012, a network of hundreds of events took place simultaneously. From Beijing, to Dhaka to Austin, a new generation of leaders got together—in person—to think about old problems in fresh ways. Then, using new media, the local groups shared their ideas in a globally scaled break-out session. (We invite you to join that conversation as it continues http://theglobalconversation.tumblr.com )

These kind of dynamic movements are beginning to take place all over the world. Their potential is extraordinary. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the results they can create both through events like the Social Good Summit, as well as campaigns like #GivingTuesday.

Last month I had the honor of joining a panel at Davos to share some of what we had learned with the leaders attending the World Economic Forum, alongside Kathy Calvin from the UN Foundation, Mark Suzman from the Gates Foundation, Jeremy Heimans from Purpose and Salil Shetty of Amnesty International.

As we talked about the huge promise in harnessing #peoplepower - and the ways we can expand participation around events like the UN General Debate - I think we identified three especially important themes:

 

1) We can shift the conversation from download to upload

It’s been thrilling to see the conversation change direction. The Social Good Summit is now far more about people in New York listening to what’s happening around the world, than people around the world to listening to what’s happening in New York. Bringing people on the ground into the conversation is crucial. Watch some of the insights we received from these meetings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXcFXNcpgHk 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4LK_5QK9Lc

 

2) Summits can be about more than people at the top

The Social Good Summit is—and perhaps always should be—a work in progress. Each year we find new ways to broaden the conversation, deepen its impact, and make the Summit more inclusive. In the local events that took place, it was fantastic to see so many new leaders come to the table. And most promising of all was the interchange between emerging and established leaders.         

 

3) The big challenge is balancing “scale and substance”

 Mark Suzman, my colleague on the panel, spoke powerfully about the greatest challenge ahead for this kind of movement: how to balance scale and substance. Convening groups in locations all over the world is the first step; now we must ensure the sharpest outcomes.

We’ve seen some initial successes in groups who came together under the Social Good Summit banner and have stayed together to tackle important challenges. But there is great potential in using the inflection of a global convening to drive significant local change. For efforts like ours, this is the task - and prize - ahead.

What is most exciting, as we look towards the future, is how we can expand the concept of the “Summit”. We can now think outside the closed door deliberations of a UN General Assembly, G-20, or a G-8. We can start to imagine open platform conversations that welcome G-Everyone.   

A Valentines for the Social Good Community

Last month, we had the opportunity to sit in on a special panel  at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

We invited our community to come along, asking them to send questions for the panelists, and to tweet about the issues they care about using #PeoplePower and #SocialGood.

We asked Marc Smith at the Social Media Research Foundation to help us track the impact on the overall conversation around #WEF. Here is what we saw.

Two days before the event

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  • In the run-up to the World Economic Forum, the network of Twitter followers talking about #WEF is somewhat insular, with core groups of insiders talking with each other.
  • #PeoplePower & #SocialGood enter the conversation around #WEF on Twitter in the two days prior to the panel.

The day before the panel

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  • The day before the event, the community helps bring entirely new voices (the “isolates” depicted in G1) into the conversation.
  • #PeoplePower and #SocialGood grow to take a place in the top three topics by volume of conversation (G2).

During the panel

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  • On the day of the event, #PeoplePower & #SocialGood conversation spikes to amongst the second-most set of themes discussed  around #WEF.

Two days after the panel

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  • #PeoplePower & #SocialGood remain relevant to the conversation around #WEF even two days after the panel.

So—in honor of Valentine’s day, a huge “thank you” to the #socialgood community for helping to reshape the global agenda at Davos. We can’t wait to see what else this amazing group can do.

Can Social Media Save the Planet?

Join Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition for a Twitter Debate Saturday, February 23 at 3pm GMT (10AM EST)

Guest post by Esther Agbarakwa

imageFor those that are already interested in environmental issues, technology has made it possible for them to be updated instantly on recent reports and environmental issues, such as 2012 flooding in Nigeria (#NGFloods), oil spill in the Niger Delta, etc.

Rallying people together through social media puts a tremendous amount of pressure on corporations and government as in the case of #savebagega (Lead Poisoning in Northern Nigeria) which resulted in the release of funds for the environmental remediation and full support to victims.

Across Africa and In Nigeria in particular, we have seen increased participation of young people in governance, enhanced by access to smart mobile phones and innovative social media tools. Is on this background that the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition (@NigYCC) is embarking on this manageable social media project. The foremost goal is to utilize the amazing change momentum of African youth using social media to begin to think about ecological governance and actions to help save our planet.

We’ll hope you’ll join Twitter users in Africa and across the world for a special debate on new media, technology, and the environment.

Topic “Can social media save the Planet?”

Date: Feb 23rd
Time: 3pm GMT
Hash tag : #AdoptAPlanet

Tweet-debaters:

  • Tim Ruge, Lead Social Media Strategist – Connect4Climate, WorldBank, Washington D/Uganda - @tmsruge
  • Corrie Frasier, Social Good Summit, USA - @global_convo
  • Abang Mercy-Asu, environmental advocate  and  Journalist, Nigeria - @AbangMercy
  • Blossom Nnodim, Partner, New Media Nigeria Ltd. Nigeria  - @blcompere


Facilitator/Moderator - Esther Agbarakwe, Founder and Director, NYCC Nigeria - @estherclimate

Esther Agbarakwe (@estherclimate) is the Founder and Director of The Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC, a network of young people that use innovative ways to amplify youth voices on climate change.  NYCC works to inspire, empower, mobilize and unite young people to take positive action on environmental issues across Nigeria (www.nigycc.net).

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