Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

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WEAll is Recruiting! Communications Lead

August WEAll Talk: Melanie Van De Velde “Successful Sustainability Strategies”

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The WEAll global Amp Team is recruiting for a new full-time Communications Lead.

The position is a fantastic opportunity for someone with skills and experience in strategic communications and who has the energy and ideas to help WEAll build a better system for people and the planet. The successful candidate will be part of an exciting movement, working with people from all over the world who are collaborating to transform the economy. 

What WEAll is looking for

We are looking for an organised, flexible, and highly motivated individual with the vision and skills to take WEAll’s global communications to the next level. They will have demonstrable strategic communications skills, and a passion for economic system change. The focus for the role is to take the lead on WEAll’s communications strategy and delivery to drive engagement with the Wellbeing Economy vision amongst the public and specialist audiences. 

The post holder must be adaptable, creative, good at self-management, and – due to the nature of our small, flat-structured charity – willing and able to turn their hand to a range of tasks and projects as required. We are seeking someone with particular experience and skill in driving successful outcomes across digital platforms, with understanding of how different audiences respond to communications approaches.

We acknowledge that people from a number of communities are underrepresented in our team, in the wider movement of those seeking systemic economic change and the charity sector in general, and we’re committed to addressing this. If you believe you would bring greater diversity to our team, we’re keen to hear from you. 

What WEAll is offering

An opportunity to work with a highly motivated team committed to accelerating economic system change. A team with a set of dedicated values: Togetherness, Care, Honesty, Equality, and Passion. This is WEAll’s core ‘amplification’ (Amp) team. 

The Communications Lead position offers the opportunity to lead on the  management and enhancement of WEAll’s communications approach and the promotion of Wellbeing Economy ideas. Amplification of our vision and the work of our members around the world is critical to our theory of change. 

Start date: As soon as possible after 1 October 2021

Fee: £40,000 per annum (dependent on experience) for a full time role

Hours of work: The nature of this role is that flexibility in hours is both required by the role (for example, there will be some evening and weekend work) but also offered by WEAll. The contracted hours will be 35 hours per week, which can be worked flexibly. Please note that WEAll does not officially operate on Fridays.

Location: Our team is global and we encourage and welcome applications from anywhere in the world (working from home). In Glasgow, Scotland, we can potentially offer access to a shared working space.

Applications close at 23:59 UK time on Sunday 19 September 2021. Interviews will be held on 28 or 30 September. To find out more and how to apply, download the recruitment pack here.

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board *new*

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

Norway announces new wellbeing strategy

The Norwegian government has announced that it will develop a new wellbeing strategy, which includes its approach to the economy.

In its official statement, the Government stated that its measures of success must go beyond GDP because this is an inadequate measure of what makes for a good life.

New Economy Brief

The Economic Change Unit has launched a new online resource hub offering ideas, analysis and proposals for tackling economic and societal crises. Browse the resource or sign up for one of their themed digests.

WEAll Ireland hub report from online welcome event

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The Norwegian Government has announced that it will develop a new national strategy for wellbeing.

Referencing the approach taken by WEGo member New Zealand, the announcement by the Government of Norway states that:

  • A good life is about much more than financial and material goods
  • GDP is an insufficient metric for good lives, as it does not say enough about how people feel
  • There is a need for wellbeing to become a supplementary measure of societal development.

Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie said: “Good quality of life is an important value in itself, but we also know that it strengthens our resilience in the face of stress. Therefore, we need more knowledge about the development of quality of life in different groups so that we even out social differences and create a more health-promoting and fair society.”

Statistics Norway carried out the first national wellbeing survey in 2020, and the results are being used to inform the new wellbeing strategy. Further surveys will be carried out, with the next starting in November 2021.

The Norwegian Government hopes that its new strategy will be “an inspiration for other countries and organisations”.

See the official announcement here.

Please note: this summary is based on a Google translation of the original Norwegian text. Please let us know of any inaccuracies as a result of this translation by commenting below.

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

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Brazil Build Back Better

How can Brazil recover from the pandemic and build a wellbeing economy? An incredible team of Brazilian authors explore these questions, and outline seven principles for Brazil’s path forward, in the latest WEAll Briefing paper published this week. Available in Portuguese and English.

Register for our upcoming event on September 8th to learn more about the paper.

Global Commons Survey

Katherine Trebeck meets Sustainababble Podcast

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By Calum Rosie

Calum Rosie is a writer based in Edinburgh, and is a correspondent for Immigration Advice Service. He writes about his personal views on social housing as it relates to a Wellbeing Economy, for WEAll’s ‘Wellbeing Economy Correspondents’ guest blog series.

Wellbeing Economy Correspondents is a series highlighting the first-hand experiences of individuals who have witnessed Wellbeing Economy principles, practices, and policies being implemented in all different contexts around the world. Our correspondents support WEAll’s mission to establish that a Wellbeing Economy is not only a desirable goal, but also an entirely viable one.

All views or opinions expressed in the ‘Wellbeing Economy Correspondents’ blog series are personal views of the guest author and do not reflect the views of the WEAll global Amp team.

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Access to safe, high-quality housing is incredibly important for the wellbeing of any human being, and yet, there are thousands upon thousands of people sleeping rough every single night all across the world. 

In England alone, over 200,000 people are classified as homeless, with that number rising over the past year thanks to economic instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Wellbeing Economy, housing would be an absolute priority and the housing system would work for the betterment of all by guaranteeing a safe, secure home for every person, and by establishing the importance of the tenant’s wellbeing over that of the landlord’s profits. This would be in contrast to the UK’s current housing system and government policies, which have allowed our society’s most vulnerable to be thrown out of their homes at the whim of a landlord.

Housing the ‘Unhoused

Several charities and other social enterprises across the UK are stepping in to address this issue and provide housing to our society’s most vulnerable. Edinburgh-based charity Social Bite has partnered with social care charity, Cyrenians, to combat the city’s housing crisis by building the Social Bite Village, an incredibly ambitious project designed to provide a safe and supportive place for Edinburgh’s ‘unhoused’ to live and recover.

Social Bite, along with many other charities tackling the housing issue, prefer the term ‘unhoused’, because ‘homeless’ implies no causation, whereas ‘unhoused’ implies the individual is without a home due to the failure of those meant to provide them. 

Social Bite’s founders began by employing unhoused people in their café, and then offered the option for customers to pay forward food and drink to be given to those who would otherwise struggle to pay. These efforts have escalated into a nationwide initiative to tackle homelessness in the most direct way: by providing high-quality homes with additional mental health support. 

Celebrities like George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio have supported the charity in the past, due to its universal appeal and strongly moral yet simple message:

everyone can and should be given a second chance in life. 

While still in the planning stages, the idea for a “Social Village” proved incredibly popular and has garnered huge international support

The first Big Sleep Out event to raise money for the project saw the likes of Liam Gallagher and John Cleese perform in front of thousands of people camping out in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. 

What is the Social Bite Village?

The ‘Social Bite Village’ can accommodate up to 20 people, all living together in a community. It is designed to get previously unhoused residents used to living with other people and encourages them to work cooperatively, with residents socialising, cooking, and gardening together in a shared space. The aim is to tackle the isolation that often comes with being unhoused – sometimes just throwing someone in a home isn’t quite enough to help them improve their lives.

To that end, mental health support workers supplied by Cyrenians are onsite 24 hours a day to help teach residents important life skills for use in the future, and to provide general mental health support if it is needed. 

This is an incredibly important aspect of the village: 85% of unhoused people report having mental health problems.

So, it’s fantastic to see that Social Bite is dedicated to supporting the residents holistically and ensuring that their mental and physical wellbeing is looked after.

This sets the Social Bite Village apart from other social housing projects in the country, many of which are little more than money-making schemes which disregard the needs and the safety of their tenants. To understand their priorities, see the Trustpilot reviews of Clarion Housing Association, one of the UK’s largest and most profitable housing associations…

and compare them with the CEO’s salary.

Success to date

Social Bite’s success is hard to argue with: they claim that over 400 people are now housed thanks to their stay in the Social Bite Village.

Other charities are now following their example and constructing their own social homes. The next step is to convince governments the world over that housing every single person, regardless of wealth or circumstances, whether they are already a citizen, or are seeking indefinite leave to remain, deserves to be housed safely.

In a Wellbeing Economy, this type of housing system would be commonplace, and would be a part of a holistic care system that ensures that everyone in the country is supported, happy, and healthy. 

Social Bite proves that this is not only possible but very realistic, if only we can reframe our priorities and our assumptions of what can be done to help our most vulnerable citizens.

The “Brazil Build Back Better” policy paper is the collective effort of a small group of Brazilians, called the Legal Impact Lab, an action tank that aims to produce thoughtful reflections to inspire tangible change. 

The authors said: “The auspicious encounter with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) and its intellectual breakthroughs provided a major disruption and possibility for the group to set its eyes on the “narratives” that our home country needs to pivot in order to start producing real regeneration wide across the national territory.

“The paper recognizes that national policies are an amalgamated construction of centuries of unconscious bias, piled up through endless struggles of politics, racial segregation, ecocide and oppression.  

“Inspired by delicate activism and systems-thinking, the paper’s intention is to understand the narrative the Brazilian people wishes to shift to, for a Wellbeing Economy will only be possible once we address directly the structural issues that maintain inequality and hinder the development of the country.”

The paper outlines 7 principles and with policy examples of the kind of economy the authors hope to inspire in Brazil. 

  1. Regenerative Development: Recognize the historic debts to the land and its people, redefine our purpose as a nation, and commit to caring for all aspects of Brazil’s identity. 

2. Climate Emergency: Recognize the social consequences of climate change and understand social inequality in Brazil, especially in peripheral communities such as in north-eastern Brazil. 

3. Racial Equality: Create an economy that builds affirmative actions to correct behavior and social barriers, anti-racism policies to repress racist manifestations, and policies that celebrate the contribution of the Afro-descendent nad indigenous communities in Brazil.

 

4. Regenerative Approach to Drug-Related Issues: Ensure the state supports public security, the prison system, social assistance in the payment of pensions, sick leave and retirement to assist victims of violence. 

5. Diversity and Empowerment: Empowerment of marginalized groups to ensure institutional behaviors are anti-raicst and anti-sexist. 

6. Triple Positive Impact Investments in Businesses: Strengthen change in corporate culture and use market mechanisms to resolve complex social and environmental issues in order to create inclusive, regenerative and equitable economy for people and planet. 

7. Participatory and Peaceful Societies: Build real and thoughtful dialogue to bring forth a new era of extrajudicial mediations, facilitations, reconciliations, conflict management and even, the figure of restorative justice, composing a more humanized paradigm for the judicial system. 

Over the last year, we’ve given a lot of thought about what it will mean for Brazil to ‘Build Back Better’ toward a society that prioritises human and ecological wellbeing. Read both the English and Portuguese version of the paper, and register for our upcoming event on September 8th to learn more about the paper.

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

Top Picks

The IPCC Report and the Wellbeing Economy

Urgent Need for Post-Growth Climate Mitigation Scenarios

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Written by: Isabel Nuesse 

This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report titled: “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”. Quick recap? Our planet is in a ‘code red’ situation and if we don’t act quickly, human survival on earth is questionable. 

It states: “Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.”

So, we need to act now. 

It’s entirely overwhelming. What does doing more look like? 

First and foremost, we cannot continue to live in an economic system where GDP growth remains the only goal of our economic system. 

What does that mean for governments? That means actively working with their citizens to re-identify the purpose of the economic system. If our purpose is to promote better lives for people, we need to develop real objectives such as improving quality of life, reducing inequality, generating meaningful jobs and restoring our natural environment. We need to create policies that reflect the needs of the people. Check out our Policy Design Guide to learn how to begin this process. 

What does that mean for business? It means creating ownership structures where employees are prioritised ahead of shareholders. No longer can we create businesses that are focused on short-term, profit-focused objectives. In a Wellbeing Economy, finance would serve and incentivise the economy which then serves society – and the environment- as part of its intrinsic purpose. Learn more in our Wellbeing Business Guide for how your business can begin to make these changes. 

Second, we cannot continue to blame the consumer for the problems of global industry. 

Are we going to hold mulit-national corporations (MNCs) responsible for their impact on our environment? In our 7 Ideas for the G7 paper, we suggest two things to harness control of the MNC’s that have grown to levels that are politically sustainable and ethically unacceptable. 

  1. Create a Binding Code of Conduct for MNCs that can create space for upholding democratig governance of economics, but also ensure more ethical production practices worldwide. 
  2. Global Competition Regulation which would ensure that no single corporation could control more than a small percentage of global production and exchange. 

Lastly, we need to be sharing success stories of what is working in our world to ensure that we’re inspiring each other to continue to push for drastic change to our economic system. 

As the Stories for LIfe tells us, it’s time to drop the horror stories and carry the #lovestories

This emphasises the importance of hope over fear – in a week where the IPCC report is generating necessary fear, I find hope in the fact that so many amazing organisations and people are already doing the work to build a Wellbeing Economy. If you haven’t seen our member list, check it out here. And if you’re interested in joining our membership you can apply here

  • A few #lovestories that I’d like to share with you today, to spread some of that hope, are: End Overshoot Day just launched this incredible initiative that offers over 100 days solutions that share how we can use existing technology to displace business as usual practices we can no longer afford. 
  • Pure Element 5 has been creating a number of incredibly creative Youtube videos that offer small insights, lessons and trends for anyone interested in building brighter futures. 
  • Common Future is launching a $800,000 character-based lending fund (CBL) that was designed from the ground up, by and for underfunded BIPOC businesses and ecosystems. 
  • The European Environmental Bureau  wrote a whole report on building a Wellbeing Economy “Towards a Wellbeing Economy that serves people and nature

The IPCC report is right: our situation is desperate and it is urgent that we act. There is hope. The action has begun – it needs to be scaled up. It will require each of us to do what we can and to continue to feel like the future is bright. If you’re looking to get involved, join our WEAll Citizens platform, become a WEAll Member, or consider developing a WEAll Hub in your community. We’re here to support the transition to a Wellbeing Economy.

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

Top Picks

Ecological Civilization From Emergency to Emergence – David Korten

Real Economy – Real Returns: The Business Case for Values-based Banking

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Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

Top Picks

Water in a Wellbeing Economy – WEAll Briefing Paper

Now more than ever we need to reach out across the barricades and our ethnic and racial divides – By Kumi Naidoo

The aftermath of looting on Queen Nandi Drive, in Durban on July 14. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

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Each week WEAll posts a Weekly Update – subscribe here. These updates share the latest publications, events, and videos relevant to a Wellbeing Economy.

As a part of that update, we will share jobs and opportunities to get involved. You can use this continuously updated post to make sure you’re in the know of what new opportunities within our network are out.

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Want to get involved with the WEAll Network? Read our Engagement Guide here

By Rohit Rao and Hugh Coppell

There is nothing on this planet more crucial to life than water. It is a fundamental human need necessary for our biological survival. It exists in the bodies of all people, animals, and plants and is a crucial element of almost all the products and services that we rely upon today. If managed sustainably, it also allows us to create thriving economies that generate social and ecological wellbeing for everyone.

Therefore, a Wellbeing Economy must ensure that people have safe and secure water access, and that sustainable water flows are created and maintained.

However, we currently face challenges that we must overcome in order to make this happen. The emphasis on short-term economic and monetary gain over long-term ecological and social wellbeing mean that is difficult to truly define and evaluate the value of water in terms of the holistic benefits it provides. This is compounded by environmental factors such as erratic rainfall patterns brought about by climate change and anthropogenic pollution, poorly designed transnational water legislation and urban water infrastructure, and a narrative that pushes expensive technology at the expense of nature-based solutions.

In our newly launched briefing paper, Water in a Wellbeing Economy, we propose some solutions to these challenges. Using case studies and examples from around the world, we show that, bit by bit, a Wellbeing Economy for water is both desirable and achievable.

The paper builds on the six Principles of Water Ethics set out by Jennings, Heltne, and Kintzele. These are:

  1. Respect for human dignity by providing all people with water, the essence of our basic needs
  2. Equity and proportionality in distribution
  3. Solidarity between various stakeholders
  4. Common good – with rules for governance and management 
  5. Responsible stewardship
  6. Inclusive and deliberative participation of entities 

It focuses on solutions that exist in the areas of good governance; ecosystem services accounting; health and sanitation; agriculture; industry; cities; and individual action.

These areas do not encompass an exhaustive list of solutions. Rather, they provide a starting point as more solutions and areas of focus are emerging every day. We have merely provided a taster of what exists and seek to create the space to facilitate a larger conversation between the general public, policy makers, and researchers towards building a Wellbeing Economy for water.

To find out more about practical steps that are being taken in these areas, and places were bold policies are already making an impact, read the full paper.

If you’re curious to hear firsthand from us, as well as share how your organisation is contributing towards a Wellbeing Economy for water, attend our upcoming event on August 10.

By Isabel Nuesse

Over the last week, massive protests have  broken out in South Africa. It began with calls against the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma. He was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment for contempt of court after an inquiry looking to a wide-range of allegations of corruption during his 9-year tenure from 2009 to 2018. 

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military gear from five European arms firms when he was president. Supporters of Zuma vehemently oppose his imprisonment and have taken to the streets to protest his arrest. However, events have quickly escalated to encapsulate greater issues of poverty and inequality,.  People are frustrated, and demanding government action. 

What is unfolding in South Africa is not unique, however. The ongoing insurgence in Nigeria, the ethnic-based calls for self-determination in Myanmar, the assassination of the state president in Haiti, and recent anti-government strikes in Cuba– social unrest is sparking all over the world.

What’s the root of this?

A call for democracy? Social equity?

I spoke with two WEAll members Xola Keswa and Lebohang Liepollo Pheko about their thoughts and experiences as South Africans during this time. I wanted to understand how this current disruption speaks to the larger picture of social unrest globally.

Xola explained that the uprisings initially began when supporters of former president Zuma began protesting his indictment. But as the citizen action grew, so did the scope of the frustrations. South Africans began to speak to issues stemming from COVID-19 restrictions, vaccination roll out, foreign investment deals, healthcare access, food shortages and general economic insecurity. 

As it stands, more than half of the South African population lives in poverty. Unemployment is more than 32%– and South Africa holds the classification of being the most unequal country in the world, with a Gini coefficient of 63. As Liepollo said: “The dye and stitching branding South Africa as a rainbow nation is coming apart.” She adds: “This is about the crisis within the crisis.”

On the ground, people are desperate. Xola shared the urgency of what he’s seeing: 

“What’s happening in South Africa is becoming a free for all. People are looting because they don’t know when they’re going to get their next meal. They were already hungry.” 

“Once the food they looted is out, it won’t be replaced again.” 

The chaos is resurfacing the undertones of apartheid. Since Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) has remained in power. However, while in power, their policies have not really dismantled the oppressive economic structures of apartheid. “The ANC has a lot to answer for. There is always room to renegotiate. Always room to say no,” Liepollo said. The theory stands that if you have enough foreign direct investment, control currencies and interest rates, and do the things meant to constrict state involvement in the economy, the market will function and redistribute the wealth itself. However, these  things are not true. Yet transnational corporations and subscription to the ‘trickle down theory’ is still pervasive in South African politics. Liepollo urges the government to stop accepting this as the status  quo. When these deals continue to perpetuate inequality in South Africa it leaves a total lack of accountability and erodes the faith in South African democracy.

As a result, people are taking to the streets. They feel that the ANC has not adequately delivered on the promises that they’ve made over the last 24 years. South Africans are tired. 

And as Liepollo mentioned: “There is a much deeper narrative with how states behave when they are deemed to have power over people. While South Africa is run by African people, there is an inherent radicalized disdain for black bodies.”

Which further perpetuates the historical context of racism and white power in South Africa.

 “Race is the red herring,” Liepollo said,  “We need to stop treating this as a civil rights issue. It diminishes the toxicity of white supremacy. It’s been 350 years of white supremacy. It’s ongoing.” People are looking for accountability and support from the government in South Africa, but little action has been shown.

How and why is this relevant for wherever you are in the world?

Social unrest is bubbling up in many places around the world. Power dynamics are shifting. Brexit illustrates this change. Trump’s presidency also illustrates this change. Western centralized power is weakening. The unrest in South Africa isn’t unrelated to what played out  in the United States last year following the death of George Floyd.

From the convoluted language defining ‘protests’ vs. ‘riots’ to the excessive force of military intervention, parallels can be made. Liepollo pointed out: “It’s regrettable and reprehensible that more people in the US aren’t making these connections. There are many more links to be made.”

Xola stressed: “We need to become real. The situation is real. Right now the eyes are on South Africa, but just a couple of months ago we were looking at Israel.” He continues: “We need to act as if the world is collapsing, even if it’s peaceful where you are. Act as if we’re in a state of emergency because the problem isn’t what we think it is.”

Until there are major shifts in power, resources, and land, social upheaval will continue to take place. Until the world begins to make links between economic success and social and emotional wellbeing, this will continue to happen. These things can no longer be divorced from one another. As Liepollo warns: “We have to be very careful – particularly the global north. These sorts of insurrections and fault lines will continue to manifest.”

Join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

I made millions betting against trickle-down economics – now I’m tackling wealth inequality – Gary Stevenson

“All of these problems can be resolved, and both the economy and collective wellbeing can be improved enormously, if we only start treating wealth inequality as a serious issue and policy goal”

Bulgaria’s Future History Textbook

The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns – Ellen MacArthur Foundation

“This white paper demonstrates, with new Bocconi University analysis, that circular economy strategies can curb investment risk and drive superior risk-adjusted returns.”

Measuring Narrative Change: Understanding Progress and Navigating Complexity

Better understanding and measuring progress is an important part of strengthening narrative change strategies. This brief offers insights into some of the questions facing practitioners, funders, and others interested in measuring this kind of work.

Job Openings & Opportunities

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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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pasted-image-0.png
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.”

Written by: Alison Davis

A Wellbeing Economy is an economic system that prioritizes wellbeing for all beings – including people, wildlife, and planet – over short-term financial growth. The economy is currently seen as the end-all-be-all in terms of success on a national and societal level. This means that economic growth is the goal in and of itself, and how we achieve that growth or what we do with it is not important. The Wellbeing Economy movement, on the other hand, provides a framework in which the economy is simply a tool to promote wellbeing for everyone in society. Rather than use the economic system to generate massive profits for the wealthy, a Wellbeing Economy seeks to inclusively improve the lives of all people.

OneNature is proud to be a member of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll). WEAll is an international network of groups and individuals who seek to connect their stories to elevate a global narrative whereby the factors that determine success are health, happiness, and connection. With this partnership, we hope to ensure the metrics of a Wellbeing Economy will include wildlife. Understanding the overall value of wildlife and nature to economic systems and to wellbeing will be essential if we are to shift to a Wellbeing Economy.

Here at OneNature, we are thrilled to see all the work that has been done in recent years to promote the inclusion of nature, particularly wildlife, in wellbeing values. Multiple studies and reports demonstrate the critical importance of natural systems to our wellbeing. For instance, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released a report in 2019 titled Animals are Key to Human Development. The report states, “With the sixth extinction crisis upon us, it is more critical than ever for policy makers to link conservation and animal welfare with sustainable development.” This idea has gained momentum as the global pandemic showed exactly what can happen when wild animals are irresponsibly captured and consumed for their economic value. Earlier this year, the World Bank published a study that concluded wildlife conservation through ecotourism would be an effective method of restoring the post-pandemic economy. The conclusions and recommendations in this study highlight the links between wildlife and the wellbeing of people.

We have a good idea of the work that needs to be done. The current economic paradigm tends to treat nature like a financial asset from which humans can take and take. We live in a backwards world where many people believe a tiger – and many other species – is worth more dead than alive. Nature is not infinite, so if this attitude persists, our planet and all its inhabitants, including human beings, will suffer. Instead, we deserve a future where the economic system serves all people, animals, and the planet – not the other way around.

OneNature is currently involved in several on-the-ground efforts to research and determine how wildlife conservation can be included in the policy and practice of a Wellbeing Economy. The goal of OneNature and other WEAll partners is to generate a world where wellbeing for all beings is of greater importance than short-term economic success. Working with other like-minded organizations connected by WEAll will allow us to create change from the bottom up, starting with local communities and together making our voices heard by those at the very top. Building connections through WEAll allows us to practice one of the primary goals of a Wellbeing Economy, which is to stay connected – connected to other people, connected to the planet, and connected to the wildlife that shares our planet with us.

Join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Going Public: Iceland’s Journey to a Shorter Working Week

“Recognition of the coming impact of automation and technological change on our working lives, alongside a burgeoning desire to spend less time tied up in work has put a reduction in working hours firmly on the policy-making table”

State of the World’s Fathers 2021: Structural Solutions to Achieve Equality in Care Work

“While data show that men are participating more in care work during the pandemic, data also show that the world is a long way off from achieving full equality in care work.”

Shifting Power and Capital in Real Estate Finance – Inclusive Capital Collective

“Real estate is the largest source of asset-based wealth and opportunity for American families, and yet Black and other communities of color are systematically marginalized in renting, owning, and financing real estate.”

Fairness and Opportunity: A people-powered plan for the green transition – IPRR

“The commission argues that no plan for addressing the climate and nature crises should be prepared without public involvement; new national and local citizens’ assemblies should be established and communities should have a greater say in how local budgets are spent.”

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From the Archives

Written by: Isabel Nuesse

The dogma of our current economy has seeped all across our world- even in the smallest of spaces. 

Living in Nairobi, the extent of this dogma cannot be ignored. It glares every worker in the face on a daily basis. 

For example, the security guard business is one of the largest employers in Kenya. Known as Ascaris – originally derived from the word ‘soldier’ – they typically work 12-hour shifts, 7-days a week, with 4 days off a month. The actual work they do consists of opening and closing gates and ‘guarding’ the property. Nearly every building, mall, home and apartment complex in Nairobi employs at least one ascari full time. With unemployment reaching nearly 30%, these guards are easily replaceable and therefore have little to no say in their working conditions or salaries. 

The typical wage of these guards is $150 a month. This is wholly unlivable in Nairobi. These low wages ensure that the ascaris live in informal housing settlements, with little to no opportunity to ‘move up’ in society. 

One of the ascaris who works in the housing complex where I live, Nellie, is a woman that I’ve befriended over the last few months. 

She invited me to her home in Kibera – one of the largest informal housing settlements in Nairobi-  one Sunday for chai. (For context, I speak Swahili and therefore am able to communicate quite easily with Nellie). She welcomed me to her single room home – housing Nellie and her four kids – and we spoke about her dreams and opportunities in life. 

Essentially, Nellie is stuck. She wakes up at 4:30am each day, walks 1.5 hours to work (because spending $0.20/ride on transit each way adds up), works 6:30am to 6:30pm, walks home- arrives at 8:00pm, cooks a quick dinner for her children and heads to sleep to do the entire routine again the following day. 

She has no life. She works. 

This is typical for many Kenyans living in Nairobi. It’s so common to work in this way it’s common for people to reference their ‘hustle’– or second job. People have single or multiple ‘side hustles’ to supplement their incomes as the city is expensive and one job is not enough. 

On one hand, this makes this city incredibly vibrant. Never have I lived somewhere where innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity are so alive. The city is truly booming. On the flip side, it creates a culture of constant work, where value is heavily placed on how busy you are. Threading through this culture is the mantra that wealth is king. 

This brings me back to Nellie and my visit to her home. Nellie, her neighbour and I were speaking of life, making ends meet and the challenges of the present day economy. I noticed that inserted into their Swahili, they started to speak of the need for ‘capital’ – not money, capital. This is the jargon, the language and narrative that is eroding its way into Kibera. The residents are taught the value of having capital – to start their enterprise – to send their kids to school, to make ends meet.  

It was this moment where I felt the pervasiveness of the economic system. Nellie and her neighbour(s) are essentially slaves to a system that entraps them. Their entire lifestyle is centered around work – in upholding the system of extraction. It’s now seeped into their language and the way they express themselves. Using the jargon of the system, to make them believe that is the solution out of the system. “If only I had access to capital.” 

While there is nothing I can do to change the ascari system in Kenya, getting to know Nellie has reaffirmed for me the desperate need for an alternative economic system. This is most urgent in spaces where the dominant extractive system is beginning to wrap its cold hands around the population.

Maybe one day we can envisage a world where the ascari system in Kenya is run on a cooperative model – where the workers make their hours. Or maybe the security guard business becomes obsolete? Maybe the word capital is replaced by words of abundance and opportunity? 

It certainly makes me feel powerless – and pushes me to continue to fight for an economic model for those that don’t have the agency to do so. 

Around the world, there are a plethora of activities that blend environmental benefits with health benefits. This co-beneficial approach is outlined in our recently published paper, 5 Pathways to Health and Environment in a Wellbeing Economy

The paper showcases a number of these case studies that marry these two ideas – proving that we don’t have to choose between just focusing on environmental benefits or only focusing on health benefits. ather, there are ways in which we can develop policies that support both of these objectives simultaneously. 

On June 28th, WEAll hosted with the authors of this paper, a panel that brought together speakers from around the world implementing these practices in their local communities. 

The case studies show that multiple objectives can be achieved if thought of holistically. Social cooperation, food security, health, climate change – all of these can be tackled simultaneously to build a Wellbeing Economy. 

The first case study was Emma Whitman from Moo Foods. Based in the Scottish Highlands, Moo Food works to build community resilience by bringing people together to grow food, knowledge and confidence. 

“Everything we do at MOO Food is based on these three words; Growing Our Future.”

Emma Whitman

They do this by supporting a multitude of agriculture projects in their community. From planting orchards to building growing spaces, to instigating school partnerships, Moo Foods reaches a  wide range of the community –  all centering around food security. This method of practice centers food security while also strengthening  community. 

The webinar then learns from Piedad Viteri from Johannes Kepler school in Ecuador. This school integrates regenerative design into all aspects of their curriculum. They’ve taken the  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the framework to further develop their strategy. They even went as far to declare their school as an ‘SDG Territory’. 

“We have to get together, in order to change things, in order to also regenerate.”

Piedad Viteri

One of the highlights of their program was the decision to move all the classrooms outside. This furthered the education of the students at their school to not only understand the core pieces of their curriculum, but also foster a deeper connection to the earth and to each other. 

Lastly, the webinar introduced Zeenath Hasan who works at Rude Foods in Malmo, Sweden. In Sweden there is an activist culture around food rescue. Rude Foods saw this and thought they could make food rescue a part of the mainstream. 

“Most of the economic activities that are hidden, is mainly what makes up the economy.”

Zeenath Hasan

With this in mind, they’ve built a strategy to rescue food and resell it to the community. This practice they refer to  as a ‘food rescuing catering service’. In this practice, they’re able to reduce food waste and blur the lines between the eater as an activist or the activist as someone who is food insecure. 

These case studies show the creativity involved to develop co-beneficial approaches to achieving both health and environment objectives. If you’re curious to learn more, please read the paper here.

Written by Isabel Nuesse