By Chrissi Albus, WEAll Youth

Clean drinking water makes a difference between life and death. 

According to the United Nations, up to 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe, clean, and controlled drinking water. (2) Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General said, Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardises both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.” 

Article 25 of the Human Rights Convention, the right to wellbeing, states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. Clean drinking water is an absolute necessity for that. Therefore, one essential goal of our society must be to ensure the availability of safe drinking water for everybody. However, “in some countries, there is a 61% financing gap to achieve the UN’s water and sanitation goals”. (2) It is an injustice how access to water is distributed in this world, especially related to the huge consumption of virtual water in many high income countries. Everyone needs access to drinking water for their health and wellbeing. It should not be a game of luck who has water to drink or who can afford it. It is an undisputed part and aim of a Wellbeing Economy to ensure this. This is why it is important to advocate for fair availability of water. 

Inspired and empowered to make a difference

“We believe that the human network is the strongest power in the world in our generation. Networking means telling others about others and others telling others about you”(1). 

To tell a story is probably the most powerful and touching way to communicate. So, I want to tell you the story of Prof. Askwar Hilonga and the Gongali Model Inspire and Empowering Center.

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Glory Mushi at work in the Kilala waterstation.

“I remember my father told me that when I drink stagnant water in the valleys (in Swahili, Maji yaliyotwama korongoni au Maji ya Lambo) – which was very dirty – I should assume, he told me, that it is “a tea with milk” (chai ya maziwa)”(1), says Prof. Hilonga.

The region around Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro, where the Gongali Model Inspire and Empower Center is located, has an exceptionally high fluoride concentration in drinking water. This can cause fluorosis, a disease in which the joints stiffen and tooth enamel degrades due to excessive intake of fluoride. But even better-known diseases such as typhoid fever are still diseases today that arise because of dirty drinking water.

Prof. Hilonga grew up in a small village, Gongali, near Lake Manyara in North Tanzania. He himself struggled with several diseases, mainly related to dirty water. With the support of his local church community, he was able to attend university and later, went to South Korea to do his PhD in Chemical Engineering… He is always asking: “What does my PhD mean to my community in Tanzania?”. He wanted to give something back. Prof. Hilonga designed a new solution to ensure getting safe drinking water as a common good for everyone. He is the creator and founder of Nanofilter TM, a water filter using nanotechnology that provides safe and clean drinking water, in Swahili “Maji Safi na Salama”! It removes 99.999 % of impurities (bacteria, heavy metals, various pollutants) from the water. The filter is customised to the local environment issues.

Nevertheless, the water filter alone was not the goal. He established the Gongali Model Co. Ltd company for innovative activities to empower and IMPACT people’s lives. He wants to inspire youth to develop innovative and sustainable business ventures and initiatives that empower their community and to answer the question of what is really needed.  The Gongali Model was actually designed to be a model as a movement for Sustainable Transformational Development, as a concept for a new – wellbeing – economic system accessible for everyone. By October 2020, the Nanofilter project has created 127 jobs for young women in water stations, which are placed all over Arusha as well as in Kenya and Zambia. For many young women it is a way to earn an independent income and become more confident. This is contributing to one of the great wellbeing goals of equalising the gender gap by making sure women take part in economic life.  In these water stations, filtered water is sold in refillable bottles at a low price. Thus should also allow the poorest members of the community to access safe and clean drinking water.

A nanofilter for households

The Gongali Model company (https://gongalimodel.com), is launching the #Thirst for life project starting on 22nd July. #Thirst for Life wants to build 1000 Nanofilter water stations throughout Africa, from Alexandria in Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. The aim is to provide access to clean water to as many people as possible. The project is delivered in partnership with Veronique Bourbeau, who will do a Solo-Run 13,000 km, from the north of Africa to the south to raise awareness to provide safe drinking water for all people. Veronique says: 

“If your why is strong enough, then you can run for a long way.” 

To be inspired and empowered are two of the most important goals of Prof. Hilonga and his wife and business partner Ruth Elineema Lukwaro, from Arusha, Tanzania.He wants to engage the youth to stand up and participate in their local communities, to create new solutions for societal issues . He and his wife Madame Ruth want to touch people’s lives to make a change. Their knowledge and story exemplify a societal vision or further economic changes for wellbeing for all. 

His book “The story of a journey of an African Innovator – From Gongali Village to London & BEYOND” describes his journey. Further information about the projects can be found on the Gongali Model website.

  1. Prof. Askwar Hilonga. 2020. “The story of a journey of an African Innovator – From Gongali Village to London & BEYOND”
  2. United Nations. 2020. Goals – 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

About the author: “My name is Chrissi Albus. I am WEAll Youth member based in Lund, a small town in the south of Sweden. In my opinion, it is very important to be motivated  to create something great or to participate in a movement you believe in.  And that is why I would like to tell you the story of Prof. Askwar Hilonga. He and his wife were my bosses when I worked in their company Gongali Model in Arusha. They inspired me to get engaged with their project, and showed me that motivation and inspiration is the foundation for every project I will get involved in.”

Short Bio:

Natalia Marsellés is a 23-year old Master’s student in Sustainable Business and Innovation in Barcelona, Spain, and a member of the social media team of WEAll Youth. 

Have you ever thought about where your clothes come from? Who made them? What is the real cost of your wardrobe, not only economically speaking but its social and environmental impact?

Fashion Revolution Week is a time when we come together as a global community to think about the fashion industry practices and raise awareness to demand a better fashion industry.

In 2013 we saw one of the worst industrial disasters in history following the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh. Sadly, more than 1100 people died and another 2500 were injured. This is when Fashion Revolution was born, quickly becoming the largest fashion activism movement in the world. Fashion Revolution envisions a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.

During the Fashion Revolution Week, a clear and decisive message is launched, with hashtags that have now become a symbol of revindication and the confrontation against fast fashion: #WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

This year’s Fashion Revolution Week theme “Rights, Relationships, and Revolution” promotes the connection between human rights and the natural world. The campaign aims to amplify unheard voices within the fashion industry while exploring innovative solutions to promote sustainability. 

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To delve into the meaning of Fashion Revolution week and learn more about sustainable fashion, I sat down with Dr. Federica Massa Saluzzo. Dr Saluzzo holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from IESE Business School, a post-doc from the University of Bologna, and teaches strategic management at EADA Business School. 

Her research interests include social value creation, sustainable fashion, and social innovation, and shared with WEALL Youth her thoughts on the fashion industry. 

1. What does fashion mean to you?

For me, it is a way to express your authentic identity, your culture, and your values. Just like your language or the design of your home, for me, fashion is a language that speaks up for you and who you are. 

2. What are your views on fast fashion?

Ah! I am not fast in general! see the benefits of enabling a large number of people to access “some” kind of fashion, but since for me fashion is a means to communicate your culture and authenticity, nothing fast can convey culture and authenticity effectively. Fast fashion may provide the illusion of being fashionable but it does not truly sell fashion. What is sold through fast fashion is something else:  it does not sell authenticity, because a lot of the trends are copied from smaller brands,  it does not sell quality, because anyone who does not pay a decent salary to any of the actors of the supply chain cannot speak of high quality, and it does not sell uniqueness, because no matter how quick you are, there are thousands of copies of the same garments. 

3. What does sustainability mean for you?

If I avoid citing all the literature defining sustainability and only speak my mind, sustainability means caring. Caring for the people whose work makes my life so easy, and caring for the planet that offers us everything a human being needs.

4. Is fast fashion sustainable? Can it be sustainable?

Well, no! 

5. What is the future of fast fashion? In spite of the growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, most consumers don’t want to pay more for it. So, what’s the solution?

I work in education, so I believe that education is the way. Through the Asociacion Moda Sostenible Barcelona, a great effort in educating the Spanish market is in place.  They have organized the MODS (Moda + Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS)), short and cheap podcasts for whoever feels they can make a change through sustainable fashion, they also have a sustainability dictionary initiative in their social networks, where they explain the real meaning of some of the key buzzwords in sustainable fashion, and they constantly strive to sum efforts to make sustainable fashion relevant. 

6. What can we, as consumers, do to change this trend?

Reuse, recycle, reduce, restyle.  When you are about to buy something ask “where does it come from? Where will it go?” And then decide, maybe you can look for something more sustainable, maybe you don’t need to buy, maybe you can learn to stitch or maybe you can just add a unique detail to something you already own…and make it truly yours. 

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This week, WEAll Youth joins the Fashion Revolution movement by sharing our members’ thoughts on fast fashion and the transition towards a more ethical and sustainable garment industry for all of us. 

What do you think about fast fashion? Share your ideas with us and join the revolution! 

#WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

#theworldyouwant #fashionrevolution #slowfashion #weall #weallyouth #wellbeingeconomy #peopleandplanet #peoplebeforeprofit #planetbeforeprofit #neweconomy #circulareconomy #youth #changemakers #makeachange #ethical #sustainable #fair

By Mkyeku Onesmo Kisanga, WEAll Youth

“Wellbeing Economy” directly translates to ‘uchumi wa ustawi’ in Swahili which is an official language in Tanzania. Tanzania is found in the Eastern part of Africa with approximately 61.5 million people with over 120 unofficial languages (tribes inclusive). Being one of the largest countries in Africa, seeking to achieve a wellbeing economy can be difficult.

Most of the citizens fall on the poverty line of the GDP of Tanzania which means approximately two thirds of the whole population this has only worsened with the current Covid19 situation. The current life expectancy in Tanzania is around 60 years which means there is a deterioration.

Why is it important?

Wellbeing economy approaches could solve the recurring precarious problems in our communities. With this, we could improve our life expectancy rate, improve our healthcare especially in remote areas, improve digital literacy and remove the huge gender gap (statistics show men have a higher literacy rate than women in Tanzania), and provide reliable employability for the youth and people of Tanzania.

Enabling people to benefit from their hard work and engagement and even during retirement, they are well taken care of. No huge gaps in their salaries reduce and bridging of the difference in salary from the rich to middle class to destitute ones. This provides collective cooperation and cohabitation.

Repairing and make reparations for the current economic situation which is crumbling down. This will shift us to a circular economy.

We envision a future where everyone is well taken care of and don’t have to endure the challenges we are facing lately.

A wellbeing economy for Tanzania would provide a coherent and yet efficient transformation of the economy in Tanzania keeping in mind that the current situation didn’t favour some classes and professions and affected everyone entirely. 

Central to the transformation required would be improving the education systems that are deteriorating and exclusive of gender, tribe and people of a certain class. Our education systems should cater for the needs of everyone collectively without being biased.

Focusing on wellbeing would help prevent all the barbarous acts of crime happening because youth are idle and lack the motivation they need and resort to committing crime to sustain their needs. Regulating the cognitive dissonance in the area prevents people from embracing opportunities and new ways of life.

Residents inclusive of aboriginals, citizens, migrants and the whole diaspora need to apply the holistic approach and multifaceted approach to a wellbeing economy. Including everyone equally will provide longevity of results that are pleasant and positive leading to freedom and less conflict.

How to achieve a wellbeing economy:

Achieving a wellbeing economy simply means treating human beings as the first top priority rather than financial and monetary needs, resulting in a sustainable realm. How does one provide inclusivity while integrating all the tribes and cities in Tanzania and promoting a sustainable economy?

  • Use of Swahili, which is not only prominent in Tanzania but the whole of East Africa . After all, Swahili is already termed as one of the leading and most frequently spoken languages in the world. This will definitely boost the country’s economy by promoting union with neighbouring and other states in Africa and globally.
  • Addressing gender equality and gender gap- making sure women and men contribute equally to the economy and their salaries and reimbursement are the same throughout. Forming policies that accommodate both genders in all professions will reduce harmful social norms and stereotypes and prejudices.
  • Health care- same health care for everyone regardless of their status.
  • Education in learning institutes- use of Swahili language and introduction of this module in every level.
  • Employability, providing enough and accessible jobs that don’t have too many requirements, quota age, experience but provides inclusion of all regardless of their qualifications and experiences. In Tanzania, farmers are the one’s who highly contribute to the country’s economy and yet are disregarded and berated because of the stereotypes in the country. Most value partisans and professions that require one working in a huge company, presented in a formal appearance. While in reality, all are contributors to the economy, thus we need to ensure equal involvement and accessibility regardless of their title and identification.
  • Having youth yarn their creativity side and use their skills to come up with innovative and new ideas in rectifying the economy and also providing them funds and support in every trajectory. This will eventually cater for all tribes and cities establishing a wellbeing economy that doesn’t favour a certain gender, class, tribe or ethnicity.

About the author

Mkyeku Onesmo Kisanga is a 26 year old Tanzanian based in Cyprus pursuing her psychology degree. She is currently looking at how to employ the wellbeing economy in her organisation, Sakonsa in Tanzania which recently started in January 2020. Sakonsa is working with SDG’s 4, 10 & 17 on a voluntary basis through youth willing to make an impact and transforming a better tomorrow. Mkyeku joined in because of her inquisitive and pragmatic nature, she wanted to explore all possibilities and what is out there that is significant and impactful. Connect with her on Linkedin here.

Learn more about WEAll Youth here.

Mobilization Lead

Ulric currently serves as a performance coach and concurrently helms a data science start-up. He is largely preoccupied with understanding what makes humans and systems tick, and is looking to understand how best to assist ventures from the traditional economy model align and inch towards becoming one that embraces the well-being economy. He can at times be found intentionally lost within the woods across various mountainous regions across Asia. Operating between Singapore and China, Ulric is conversant in both English and Mandarin.

As the Mobilization Lead, Ulric is responsible for the facilitation of WEAll Youth engagement and networking efforts as well as the development of local WEAll Youth Hubs across the globe.

“There is a place to trade perspectives and a place for action. WEAll Youth provides the network and capacity to do both. To build on your understanding of the well-being economy or to take action and align it with existing policies and measures for a concerted effect, we are able to take deliberate actions which translates concepts into reality.”

Opportunity Lead

Nikita is pursuing a degree in Economics at the University of Warwick in the UK. She is currently in her final year. She loves expressing herself through creative mediums, be it calligraphy, mixed media painting, decoupage or learning new languages. Along with English, she also speaks Hindi, Sindhi, Arabic and French, and looks forward to learning a lot more!

As Opportunity Lead, she oversees the writing of grant applications to ensure a smooth and timely flow of funds towards WEAll Youth’s expanding scope of projects.

“Our current economic system conditions us to believe that we cannot all blossom, at the same time, ie, someone needs to be shed, for another one to grow. But that’s not true- we do have what it takes to rethink, to re-engineer and shift the paradigm. To take this vision from 2D to 3D involves going beyond ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ to ‘rediscover, refurnish, and most importantly repurpose’. We need to embrace the economy in a manner that enforces regeneration, not just sustainability. WEAll Youth’s dynamic structure and cooperation-based ethos sets an ideal ground to achieve this vision.”

Communication Lead

Mara has done her BBA in Global Project and Change Management in the Netherlands and is continuing to study in her home country, Germany, for her masters. She enjoys music, playing, listening and dancing to it. Whenever she has time, Mara enjoys going to the gym and travelling the world. In addition to English, Mara also speaks German and Spanish.

As the Communication Lead, Mara is the most likely the first person you will talk to. She responds to emails, takes care of requests and connects you to the right people in our network.

“A stable economic system is the base for a prosperous society, but with our current systems, we seem to hinder any work done for a more equal, clean and healthy planet. I see the work on new economies as an essential part for our generation to take matters in our own hands and make a difference! If we young people work together as the WEAll Youth movement we gain the exposure and means to take action and start to make a change.”

Social Media Lead

Luzia is doing her BBA in Global Project and Change Management in the Netherlands. Coming from Austria, she likes mountaineering and goes bouldering as often as her schedule allows. Besides that, she enjoys spending her free time together with friends or being out to take pictures. She speaks German and English.

As the Social Media Lead, Luzia takes accountability for the social media presence of WEAll Youth. She keeps the social media up-to-date, implements campaigns, and creates content for our various social media channels.

“By building a wellbeing economy we can decrease the gap between rich and poor and give equal opportunities to everyone, while protecting our planet. But to achieve this, we need to collaborate and work together. It is fantastic to see how young people from all around the world come together to work for a wellbeing economy.”

Partnership Lead

After finishing her BBA in Global Project and Change Management in the Netherlands, Helene is now doing her Master in Sustainable Business and Innovation in Barcelona. In her spare time, she enjoys inline skating, plays tennis or explores the newest cafes in town. Whenever her studies allow her to, she travels or visits her friends in different countries. Besides English, Helene also speaks German.

As the Partnership Lead, Helene is responsible for actively reaching out to other (youth) organizations to build strong connections and initiate collaborative actions.

“If we don’t change the fundamentals, how can we expect to create different outcomes? If we as young people don’t get engaged in conversations about systemic change, we’ll most likely only achieve superficial change. We need to start re-centering our systems from the roots up around people and planet and as the managers, professionals, researchers and leaders of tomorrow, young people have a powerful role in bringing about this change. WEAll Youth is a way to engage in this conversation and to realize and act upon this power.”

Community Lead

Alexandra is from Germany and is currently studying a Master in Sustainable Business and Innovation in Barcelona after working for a couple of years in Marketing and Digital Transformation in Hamburg and London.
Her favourite way to get around anywhere in a city is with a bike and she loves cooking and baking for friends. She speaks German and English fluently and is currently learning Spanish and Italian.

As the Community Lead, is Alexandra the contact person for the WEAll Youth members. Any communication and organisation that needs to take place within the community, is her responsibility.

“I wanted to get involved with WeAll Youth, because I believe that we need to come together and jointly work towards a better future. None of us will be able to do it on their own, but together we can achieve things greater than our individual contribution. Fostering synergies between projects and connecting people from all over the world will therefore play an essential role in achieving the goal of a Wellbeing Economy.
Creating a world where we work for the overall good of society and environment instead of profit is the single most important system change of our time. It’s an ambitious one and it is daunting from time to time, but no revolution ever started with an easy goal.”