Posts

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.”

Francesco Temperini

About the author: Francesco Temperini is a 24-year old MSc graduate in Environmental and Development Economics and a member of WEAll Youth, located in Rome, Italy

I joined WEAll Youth because I think that sharing ideas between people moved by the same interests could lead to a new shape of economic thinking: with Multidimensional Wellbeing as a focal point around which all people and institutions converge.

From my academic experience, I developed a passion for and interest in multidimensional analysis of wellbeing, which I applied in an empirical study in the city I live in, Rome.

Often, economic indicators are synonymous with quality of life, and many times the development of a country is taken into account to measure the wellbeing of that country. 

Multi-dimensional analysis speaks to the importance of reshaping the way we measure quality of life and can promote economic thinking centred on how people feel about their lives and how much they are satisfied with it.

Having studied Rome divided in its 15 municipalities and having chosen a representative sample for each municipality, there are lots of inequalities between municipalities for any dimension of wellbeing such as the multidimensional index. This is the aggregation of 9 different dimensions (including: safety, environment, housing, education, satisfactory work, enjoying free time, health, social engagement, travel mobility).

The interesting findings are shown in the image below: in the richest municipalities (highest level of income) there weren’t the highest levels of wellbeing (multidimensional wellbeing indicator). Firstly I was surprised by this result, but then I realised this outcome confirmed my research thesis: profit is merely a tool to reach the state of wellbeing.

The findings can be seen in these two maps: the left one is the level of income maps for municipalities (the darkest colour represents highest values of wellbeing); and the right one is the multidimensional well being map, showing the aggregation of all the nine dimensions I found in my research (the darker colour are higher values of wellbeing).

How can you understand multi-dimensional wellbeing where you are?

For anyone interested in measuring wellbeing in his/her neighbourhood, city, region or country, here is a summary of the measurement process.

First step: take a sample of the population you are interested in to measure the wellbeing. It’s difficult to interview all the population, so it could be good to take a representative sample, divided by age, gender or professional status.

The sampling processes are different, you can choose which one you prefer for example from the this book’s chapter nine. In Rome, used sampling by quota.

Second step:  create qualitative research with your sample using a focus group investigation method (group interview composed of a moderator and 6-8 people). In these groups, it’s important to study the aspects of individuals’ life values (the subjective and objective ones). It is crucial to make a group analysis to understand how people interact in the same dimensions of their wellbeing, as well as to underline the individuals’ different points of view and the minority groups’ ideas.

These steps were necessary in my case study because it’s helpful to see how people that live in the same city interact and express the same concerns but different issues related to living in an urban area, as I found in my research, different municipalities have different levels of wellbeing.

Third step: After all this qualitative research, there is an evaluation with all the outcomes of the focus group. The reader will summarise the same issues on a singular dimension and then measure it with more than one indicator( as an example of a dimension: “safety in Rome” is composed of two indicators, a subjective one and an objective one).

Fourth step: Following this process line, it’s time to create a survey based on the focus group’s outcomes, with the survey you can measure the achievement of any wellbeing dimension of the people interviewed.

Fifth step: Then, the sampling population fills out the questionnaires for your city, region or country.

Sixth step: Finally, when you have collected enough data (survey could be filled out either physically or online) of the sample that you choose as representative, you can analyse and aggregate the answers.

Remember that the wellbeing of an individual is currently a much-debated issue. Over time, an attempt has been made to define and measure it at a national as well as an individual level, and even today, no common solution has been found: it clearly is a definition that encompasses several dimensions within it, as well as the approach of human development.

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.

Dr. Katherine Trebeck

A major report published this week calls for the Scottish Government to introduce wellbeing budgeting to improve lives for children as part of a radical systems change in the wake of the coronavirus.

The new report, Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing, by WEAll Advocacy and Influencing lead Dr Katherine Trebeck, with Amy Baker, was commissioned by national charity Children in Scotland, early years funder Cattanach and the Carnegie UK Trust.

Click here to download and read the report

It makes a series of bold calls focused on redirecting finances to tackling root causes of inequality and poverty as Scotland emerges from Covid. Key recommendations include:

  • A post-Covid spending review, with all spend proposals assessed against evidence of impact on children’s wellbeing
  • Training of the civil service to ensure effective budget development and analysis, and moving to multi-year budgeting aligned with wellbeing goals
  • Establishing an independent agency, modeled on the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, to support activity and scrutinise effectiveness of delivery of wellbeing budgeting by the government
  • An overarching change to the ways of working in the Scottish Government budget process to ingrain greater transparency; cross-departmental working; and a participatory approach involving the public and the diversity of children’s voices.

The report argues that the Scottish Government’s stated aims of improving wellbeing across society and addressing the fact that one quarter of children live in relative poverty cannot be met unless we create conditions for our youngest children to be healthy and supported from the outset.

To do this, it makes the case for directing funds at root causes that diminish child wellbeing, rather than targeting symptoms ‘downstream’, which is inefficient, stifles implementation of policy and legislation, and slows ambitions for societal change.

First steps towards wellbeing budgets would involve holding a conversation with the public about budget-setting to absorb lived experience; interrogating data to ‘map’ the distribution of wellbeing in Scotland; and ensuring policy development was properly connected to evidence on what would actually change outcomes for children and addressing the root causes of what undermines their wellbeing.

The report’s lead author, Dr Katherine Trebeck, said:

“If the Scottish budget is to be a mechanism that brings about change, we need to create a context where children can flourish in Scotland. Then we need to think about a few fundamentals. The budget needs to be holistic, human, outcomes-oriented, and rights-based. It needs to be long-term, upstream, preventative and precautionary. Finally, a bold budget for children’s wellbeing needs to be participatory – children’s voices in all their diversity need to be at the heart of setting the budget agenda.”

Katherine speaks about the report in more detail in this short video:

Sophie Flemig, Chief Executive of Cattanach, said:

“This report shows why it is necessary to set out a high-level vision for wellbeing outcomes and hardwire it into government processes. Countries need to acknowledge that the economy is in service of wellbeing goals, not a goal in and of itself. Meaningful public involvement is key. Ministerial responsibility for wellbeing outcomes drives progress. And cross-departmental work is essential for success.”

Jennifer Wallace, Head of Policy at Carnegie UK Trust, said:

“This project has focused on one important lever of change – the finance system, the way that we think about money and spend in Scotland, asking: what is value for money when we’re talking about our children’s lives? We know it’s not a silver bullet, but we do think it’s important that we consider how we spend that money if we’re going to begin improving outcomes for children and putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to children’s wellbeing.”

As the election campaign approaches, and following Tuesday’s vote to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law, the report’s calls and the case for wellbeing budgeting informs Children in Scotland’s manifesto for 2021-26, backed by organisations across the children’s sector.

The report is published as Scotland takes stock of the damage the pandemic has done to individuals, families, communities, and the macroeconomy, and an increasing number of people recognise that we must not revert to pre-Covid ways of working.

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“Now is the time for us to reset our economy and the way in which we prioritise our budgets. Katherine’s work gives us a real manifesto for how we will secure children’s rights and wellbeing. We call on you to read the report, particularly the section which identifies what the crucial next steps are. We don’t need any more research or evidence – we need to work together to put a budget for Scotland’s children into place, this year, and we look forward to working with you to make that happen.”

This content is reposted from Children in Scotland

Are you a young person who wants to play a leading role in solving the problems of the 21st century?

This summer, The Useful & Kind foundation is hosting a summer school for individuals between the ages of 16-30 in York, UK from 6-10 July to give you the skills you need to lead.

Useful & Kind originates from President Obama’s suggestion that we all be ‘useful and kind’ to one another. It is a basis and value set to stand upon in any kind of position. The Useful & Kind foundation is keen to teach how to be a Useful & Kind leader in order to solve problems in your local community. The goal is to build a large constituency of those wanting to make a better life for us all.

Over the weeklong training, the leaders will work on awareness building, idea creating, research conducting and strengthening debate skills. The aim is to create a better, fairer and more sustainable future, starting with understanding how to be a leader in community.

Duncan Fraser, Director of U&K Unlimited, will lead the summer school. He invites guest speakers, to share their experiences with the group. Additionally, the larger group of 24 individuals is broken into smaller groups who are led by junior mentors, all whom are experienced in the field and with the U&K approach.

This opportunity is a great way to learn how to develop leadership skills of the future. With many problems to solve, we need all the leaders we can get. If you’re interested, sign up using this link:

https://www.usefulandkindunlimited.com/projects-1-2

 

By Anna Murphy

Where does money come from? What’s the purpose of economics? What is economics? Is growth the means to an end or an end in itself? Why are there people still homeless and hungry when the world has so much wealth? Why have we developed economic and political systems which disregard nature’s power and beauty? Can we fix the system with the very tools that built it? What does ‘the system’ even mean? 

What can I, as an individual, do to create positive change? 

Welcome to WEAll Read. WEAll Read is WEAll’s new book club, a community reading and discussing books relevant to the wellbeing economy: in essence, the goal is to answer the questions above…and the many more that crop up with each new book! It’s about making economics everyone’s business, because it is too important to be left just to the experts. 

A core premise of the wellbeing economy is that economic growth must not be an end in itself: but rather a possible means to the ultimate goal of creating human and ecological health, wealth and fulfilment. This challenges a deeply embedded assumption of traditional economics: that it is a science, devoid of values. At WEAll read, we believe in the need to bring values back to economic thought, knowledge, theory and practice.

Where did it come from? 

As a recent graduate starting out with a sustainable finance project, my 2019 New Year’s resolution was to learn about sustainability and economics (and ideally to build a community with whom to chat about this slightly niche topic). It all started with a LinkedIn post. I promised wine. The Impact Economy Book Club kicked off in Edinburgh and 8 months later, we welcomed Katherine Trebeck to the local bookshop. We were so inspired by her ideas and organisation, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, that we joined forces! It was immensely exciting to discover an organisation turning the things we were reading about into action. 

‘Together we are greater than the sum of our parts’ goes the WEAll mantra, and this collaboration felt like exactly that. 

Where is it going? 

Think hundreds of local book clubs, far and wide, with people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines coming together to learn and take action with the wellbeing economy. 

We’re up and running in Edinburgh (join this Whatsapp Group to get involved), and start in Glasgow this month. Beth Cloughton, the Glasgow organiser, is also planning a book swap and online dial-in, already showing the power of creativity! You can join their Facebook Group here

We’d love for you to get in touch if you’d like to set up either a place-based or online club, and also have a Goodreads Group for anyone to join (you can find the books we read in 2019 there).

How we are at WEAll Read

  • Brave and respectful: we listen attentively and respectfully, and challenge bravely
  • Curious and skeptical: we are open to new ideas whilst also rigorously challenging them
  • Grounded in knowledge and action: each month, we conclude our conversations by making personal intentions to take action, based on what we’ve learnt

Where we could do with some help

Challenging conversation isn’t always comfortable. A few months ago, in Edinburgh, a book club attendee criticised it for being a feminist echo-chamber: we had apparently been read too many books by females. After establishing robust argument against this critique, the whiteness and Western-ness of all the authors whose books we had read was obvious, and problematic. This is why we believe brave conversations are necessary: uncomfortable moments produce stronger arguments and reveal important blind spots.

If anyone from the wellbeing economy community has books to recommend from perspectives we might have inadvertently missed, please reach out, we would love to hear from you. 

Join us on Monday 27th in Glasgow to discuss Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson’s ‘The Spirit Level’ or Tuesday 28th in Edinburgh, for Naomi Klein’s ‘On Fire.’ Looking forward to some new faces!

Books we read last year: 

  • Winners Take All, Anand Giridharadas
  • Lean Impact, Ann Mei Chang
  • The Purpose of Capital, Jed Emerson
  • A World of Three Zeros, Muhammad Yunus
  • Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth
  • The Value of Everything, Mariana Mazzucato 
  • There is No Planet B, Mike Berners Lee 
  • The Economics of Arrival, Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams

Discussions so far in Edinburgh

Katherine Trebeck comes to the book club in Edinburgh 

Summary notes of The Economics of Arrival 

Summary of Discussion, The Value of Everything, by Mariana Mazzucato

Summary of Discussion: There is No Planet B 

 

By Sam Butler-Sloss, Co-Lead of WEAll Youth Scotland and Organiser at Economists for Future

I got involved in the Wellbeing Economy Alliance because the case for repurposing and redesigning the economy to deliver wellbeing for people and planet is overwhelming. Yet, as a student of economics, it is unclear to me to what extent the economics profession agrees with this. 

In my experience, most economists want to enhance the wellbeing of humanity through analytical contributions. Yet, in the past several decades, dominant economic theory and practice has made a number of consequential errors that have compromised the discipline’s ability to fulfil this goal. Chief among them is the de-prioritisation of the single greatest threat to the wellbeing of humanity in the 21st century – the climate and ecological crisis. 

 Across teaching, research and public and policy engagement, economists have failed to adequately engage in this issue. The most cited journal in economics has never published an article on climate change. The teaching of economics remains abstracted from ecological foundations. And even as other academic disciplines have become increasingly vocal on this issue, economists have remained too silent. 

Worse too, when economists do engage, they often distort the problem. To name a few examples, their models tend to leave out tipping points, catastrophic risks and treat all threats as ‘marginal’. As a result, many economists’ contributions have been used as evidence to scale back, rather than scale up, climate ambition. 

The economics profession’s insufficient response to the climate crisis puzzles me – it appears they are not even living up to their own standards.  

Firstly, over the last several decades, economists have tried to convince the world that they are ‘scientific’. But, if they pride themselves on being scientific, then they must take the most important science of our day seriously.

Secondly, if the purpose of economics is to further human prosperity, then in an era of environmental breakdown, the exclusion of the natural world is only undermining that very goal.

 Thirdly, the priorities of economists are often governed by cost-benefit analysis, but there is no scenario that is more expensive than unabated climate change. Even when using this dangerously narrow framework, the economic imperative for urgent action is clear. With the inclusion of harder-to-quantify aspects, such as distributional justice, this imperative for action is only amplified.  

You might ask, why focus on economists? Is the inaction not the fault of politicians? Is it not a lack of political will? Sure, political willpower is in serious shortfall. As COP comes to an end, all eyes are on the world leaders. Rightly so. They must show leadership: they must take decisive and ambitious action or step aside for those that will. But pressure groups must also dig one layer deeper and ask how policy-makers make their decisions. For better or worse, economics has a central role in this process. If we are going to radically ramp up the ambition of climate policy, we must change how it is designed. We must change economics. 

That is what motivated us, a group of students from across the world, to found Economists for Future. To arrest the climate crisis, economics must move from getting it wrong to making it right. 

At Economists for Future, we are critical optimists. We have a deep belief in the power of good economics to make the world a better and more humane place. But we believe that we are currently not living up to our responsibility to help create and communicate a policy framework that accelerates the transformation to a more sustainable, prosperous and fairer world. 

At this stage, failure to step up to this responsibility and to seize this opportunity is to let down the world. If economists cannot engage in this economic transformation the science requires—then who? If we do not raise our game now—then when? The likelihood is it will be too late. In which case, history has every right to judge us harshly. 

In our one-page open letter we lay out the case for economists to raise their game. 

We are encouraging everyone to sign and share it. 

 

Sam Butler-Sloss, who is leading the emerging WEAll Youth group in Scotland, has written a powerful piece in today’s Independent.

In his opinion piece, “Criticise the climate strikers if you like. In five years we’ll all be at the ballot box and the world will change”, Sam makes a strong case for economic system change and advocates for the strength and power of young people in driving change.

Read Sam’s piece on the Independent site here.

A message from WEAll Youth:

“We are thrilled to announce that Wellbeing Economy Alliance Youth (WEAll Youth) has been selected as one of the 50 Youth Solutions featured in the Youth Solutions Report 2019. 4300+ solutions originating from 170+ countries were submitted and based on a rigorous review process, 50 were selected to be featured in this year’s report. We are so excited to be selected among many inspiring youth solutions. Young innovators all over the world are working towards a sustainable future – we’re proud to be part of the change!

You can read all about us at www.youthsolutions.report (WEAll Youth can be found on p85).

We are so proud we have been selected and can’t wait to see what the future will hold. All of the solutions selected are so promising which is amazing to see as our world often portrays all the negative sides. We are excited to see so many young people getting involved @ their future.”

More about the report:

NEW YORK, USA; September 26: The third edition of the ​Youth Solutions Report,​ which identifies ​50 youth-led projects that are accelerating global progress on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)​, has been released today, at the ​74th UNGA High-Level Side Event on Social Business, Youth and Technology.

This year, the selected solutions have been chosen by an advisory panel of 24 leading experts across all SDG sectors and geographical regions, among a pool of applicants that included over 4,300 submissions from ​174 countries​. Winning projects were particularly focused on introducing innovative approaches to lifting vulnerable communities in developing countries out of poverty, with solutions targeting areas such as digital health and education, financial inclusion, innovation in agricultural practices, sustainable livelihoods, and circular economy.

Like its 2017 and 2018 predecessors, this year’s Youth Solutions Report provides ​selected initiatives with a powerful platform to secure funding, build capacity, communicate experiences, and scale efforts. In addition, the new edition includes an in-depth analysis of the role of youth-led innovation in achieving the specific SDGs that have been reviewed at the July session of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, focusing on the role of young people in improving access to quality education, promoting decent work for all, reducing inequality, combating climate change, promoting peaceful societies, and supporting a renewed global partnership for sustainable development.

One key aspect of the Report consists of its discussion of cross-cutting challenges to youth-led innovation and the importance of seeing young people as a fundamental component of the broader innovation systems that are required to implement the 2030 Agenda. ​

Mariana Mazzucato, Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London​, said: ‘The SDGs are the world’s challenges, and can only be achieved through directed, mission-oriented, innovation activities, taken on through bold new partnerships between the public sector, business and civil society. The Youth Solutions Report provides a loud, dynamic forum for youth to be heard and learned from in this critical solutions-oriented process.’ Ms Mazzucato’s auspices were echoed by ​Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and recent founder of Imagine,​ who recognized that ‘creating the right policy frameworks for engaging young people in SDG implementation will a big enabler of the entire Agenda’. According to Mr Polman, ‘the Youth Solutions Report serves as a platform that will increase exposure to youth-led projects that will hopefully push policy reform in the future.’

Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth​, added that while young people are already contributing to the implementation of the SDGs, they still face common challenges that prevent them from realizing the full potential, including the lack of visibility, limited access to finance, and the lack of training and technical support. ‘The 2019 Youth Solutions Report will help investors, donors, and supporters better understand the multi-faceted role of young people in sustainable development and give them additional opportunities to showcase and scale their work’ concluded Mr. Loni.

As further testimony of SDSN Youth’s commitment to concretely supporting its growing global cohort of young innovators, this year’s report was prepared in collaboration with Junior Chamber International (JCI), which ensured that ​5 of the selected solutions could be provided with grants from the Global Youth Empowerment Fund. ​The Fund, founded by JCI in partnership with the UN SDG Action Campaign, offers grants and training to youth-led projects that advance theSDGs.​EarlSawyer,Interim Secretary-GeneralofJCI​,said:‘JCIisproudtocollaboratewith SDSN Youth on their 2019 Youth Solutions Report. We are excited to offer young people the recognition, tools, training and resources needed to scale their SDG-focused projects in order to tackle global problems’.

Dear Adult,

We are WEAll Youth and hereby we are inviting you to join the global climate strikes on the 20th and 27th of September.

In recent months, Greta Thunberg and millions of other students have been striking for the climate.

Right before our governments will gather at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit on September 23, we will strike again.

Join us at the global climate strike on the 20th and 27th of September.

This is not just a call for students and young people, this is a call for everyone. We need to show our politicians something needs to happen now, to show them that business, as usual, is no longer an option.

Let’s make them see that we all need economic system change, that we all need to transform the current profit focussed economy to an economy that puts people and planet first.

WEAll Youth will be there, will you join us? Use #WEAll and #WEAll Youth on your banners and let’s see how many places we can take the message that in order to tackle climate change we all need economic system change. If you can’t be there in person, you can participate in the digital strike.

For more information and to check if there is a strike near you check out this website: https://globalclimatestrike.net/ 

We can’t wait to see you there,

WEAll Youth

Esther, Pien and Mara are part of the WEAll Youth core team. For more about WEAll Youth see here.

 Blog by Sam Butler-Sloss, Economics for Change

Economics for Change – a student-led campaigning organisation based in Edinburgh focused on the need for economic system change – is enormously excited to be joining the Wellbeing Economy Alliance to lead their efforts to establish a WEAll Youth Hub here in Scotland. This Youth Hub’s mission is to mobilise young people behind the historic opportunity to drive economic systems change.

 

Why young people? And why is it such a historic opportunity?

We are all acutely aware of the multiple crises that face us in the 21st century, from spiralling inequality to run away climate change. Yet however well documented these challenges are, bizarrely, awareness has not been enough to drive the adequate action. Since this insufficient level of action has become the new normal, it has taken our generation to stand up and say the current efforts are simply not enough. They do not begin to meet the scale or the urgency of the challenges that we face.

This year has been a striking demonstration of young people’s’ capacity to be at the forefront of social change. We have shown that we have the expectations and ambitions for a better, cleaner and fairer world that dwarf those who are currently at the helms of power. It is in this same spirit that Economics for Change is bringing young people together to take a stand against a failing economic system; to stamp out the tendency of simply ‘muddling through’ and to advocate for an economy that enables both the people and the planet to flourish.

It is often easy for us to feel overwhelmed, but at the centre of WEAll’s narrative is the idea that whilst the challenges are certainly demanding, the opportunities they present are enormous.

To overcome these great societal challenges requires us to transform our economy–and the climate challenge gives a decade to do so.

A decade to redesign how we produce, consume and share in the 21st century. The chance to fundamentally redesign our economy does not come about often, and with it, comes the once in a lifetime opportunity to redraw a better world.

As the economic consensus fractures and the old principles that defined our economy expire, a space is opening up, in which the case for systems-change has never been stronger. As this space widens, a new era is emerging.

This new era is generating new norms, new business models, new energy sources and new ideas of shared prosperity. It is outcompeting today’s system and is paving the path to a wellbeing economy. Yet the question remains, will this change happen fast enough?  

There is no doubt that were are approaching a paradigm shift between a system built on extraction, exploitation and exhaustion and one that is regenerative, circular and inclusive. And this is where young people must step up and have a catalytic effect.

WEAll Youth is a vehicle to enable us to do so: we are a global, interconnected network of young people fighting for a new kind of economics from all corners of this world. We are thinking globally, with a shared vision for change, whilst acting locally to catalyse this transformation from the ground up. We acknowledge our assets: our votes hold power; our voices form new narratives; and our connectivity brings untamable potential to mainstream new ideas and paradigms with the urgency that does these challenges justice.

While fundamental redesign is no modest task it holds the keys to transforming our future; to keeping us within a 1.5 degree world; and to enabling all humans to live a prosperous and dignified life. As young people, we have the most to gain and the most at risk. This is no dress rehearsal, there will be no second chance. The time to come together to drive systemic change is now–we would be mad not to seize this opportunity.

In the coming month, Economics for Change and WEAll Scotland will be establishing the WEAll Scotland Youth Hub. If you share our passion for an economy that serves people & planet and want Scotland to lead the way, get in touch at scotland@wellbeingeconomy.org and join the movement as  WEAll Citizen at www.weallcitizens.org 

If you’re a young person (16-34) and want to get involved with WEAll Youth wherever you are in the world, contact weallyouth@gmail.com 

.

 

New Economy and Social Innovation Forum: WEAll Youth participation

Last week was the NESI (New Economy and Social Innovation) Forum in Malaga, and we met a lot of interesting people. In these three days we travelled to the year 2030. The big questions were: what does our economy look like in 2030 and what did we do in 2019 to get there?

NESI is held every 2 years in Malaga. The Wellbeing Economy Alliance is one of the partners of the Forum. The programme of the Forum was as follows: each day started with a plenary opening, there were conversations, speeches, and interviews on stage, and there were 3 working sessions, 1 on the first day and 2 on the second day.

For the working sessions, you could choose between 6 different tracks: the future of food sovereignty, the future of urban and housing, the future of finance, the future of work, the future of sustainable textiles and the future of resources and energy. Within each working session, different questions would be tackled: What is happening right now (2019)? Which are positive aspects and which do we want to keep and grow? What will it look like in 2030? What do we need to do to get there? These questions were answered in every track. You could choose to go to the same track every day or you could switch it up.

In between the working sessions and the plenary session, there was time to network, walk around and take a look at the different booths. At this time we were often at the WEAll booth, talking to people about WEAll and WEAll Youth.

One of the highlights of NESI was the WEAll gathering. After NESI was done, we spent Friday afternoon with everyone from WEAll. We had a WEAll members meeting like any other, with the exception that it was in real life, instead of through zoom. It was amazing to see all of the people you normally see on zoom, in real life. The meeting was about updates from every aspect of WEAll. We also got some time to talk about WEAll Youth, which was a great opportunity to tell members from around the world about the things we are doing and planning to do in the future. Besides the WEAll gathering, we also attended the WEAll dinner which was also a very nice way to connect with everyone at WEAll. At these gatherings, we made crucial connections with people from the WEAll community and got so much support and praise that it was overwhelming! We are very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to meet all these amazing people and were uplifted by their work and their kind words towards WEAll Youth.

 

Tracks – our take

Pien: Personally, I was mostly interested in the sustainable textiles track. This is because fashion has a big influence on my life and it has a much bigger influence on our earth! Next to it being one of the biggest polluting industries, it is a big player in human slavery. We are caught in some sort of cycle where supply and demand are getting out of control.

The first session was started with a question that made us think about the things that are going well right now, the components that are essential to maintain. Such as, the employment the industry offers, the alliances that are built, the demand for sustainable products, the demand for transparency in the supply chain, the demand for high-quality textile, skills (sewing and repairing) and creativity and innovation. After this, we talked about things that had to change fast like, the volume that is produced, lack of quality, the value consumers put on clothing, working conditions, animal welfare, extreme consumerism and negative externalities which are not integrated into the price.

How will we enable this change? By raising awareness, regulations, technology, influencers and the power of social media, innovations, developments in new textiles, transparency, education, design to recycle and slow fashion. To make this change a success there are still some question to be ask, like, who is responsible? Are consumers willing to change? Are the brands willing to change? Who is going to pay? How do we prioritize? How to ensure equal access? And when is the deadline? These questions are left with us as food for thought…

Esther:  I went to the future of Work, the future of Urban & Housing and the future of Finance tracks. The future of work was very interesting to me. There were a lot of people and every single one of them could contribute valuable information and/or viewpoints. We talked about equality and diversity in the workplace. Shattering the glass ceiling, but also making sure the application process is fair, equal and without any discrimination by age, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, nationality or religion. This was just one of the topics we tackled, we also talked about good qualities of our work and the system as it is now and project or organizations that are already doing great things in this field. One of the things I learned was how important government policies are when fighting this. Things like women quotas or being able to apply anonymously make a huge difference in progress between cities, districts or countries. There were a lot of international people there and it was very interesting to hear the different situations in different countries and even regions.

I learned a lot in the finance track, at first I was doubting to go to this track because I felt like I did not have much to add to the conversation because I find finance to be very complicated. I talked to some people about what track I wanted to go to and someone said to me: “If you are interested, just go, don’t be afraid to do something you think you can’t.” And so I went, I am happy I did. I did not have a lot of things to add to the conversation but it was very interesting to listen to the discussions. The group I was in was also very encouraging and wanted everyone to contribute to the conversation. I confessed my struggle with finance and we started talking about the complication of the current system. Someone said: “They make it complicated and confusing because they do not want people to interfere in their businesses.” This resonated with me and inspired me to try not step away from seemingly complicated subjects in the future. At the end of the session, I had learned so many new things and spoke to many interesting people. I am very glad I decided to go to the finance track.

At the Urban & Housing track we talked a lot about different projects and organisations who are doing projects that are already working in ways that are innovative and belong in our future of urban and housing. We also created questions for the organisations in the urban and housing sector in the future. “Are we working with equality in mind? ”& “Are we putting people over profit?” There were a lot of professionals in this sector at my table so I enjoyed listening to them talk about all of the projects that are going on. Even though I did not contribute much to the conversation and felt a bit odd in between so many experienced professionals, it was nice to listen to them talk about their work field.

Mara: I chose to go to the tracks on the future of food, the future of work and the future of resources and energy. This was very challenging as two of them were mainly in Spanish and translated for the handful of people that did not speak Spanish well enough to engage in the discussion naturally. However, it was very interesting to talk about how our food systems are now, what we would like to keep and what needs to change in the future to transform it into a system that encourages wellbeing. The things that came out of the session were more local production, transparency and clear labelling should be a part of a future food system. For work, it was interesting to talk about what would the perfect future for work look like and what are the important aspects to include. The future of work in the eyes of the participants, me included should put the people in the centre and get away from being profit driven with a more distributed power structure. The last session I took part in was about how do we get to the aspired future of resources and energy. The energy transition equals a value transition, the participants came up with a model where local communities rise up and own their energy together. Through this mechanism, big companies loose power and are more inclined to be a part of the energy transition to local and renewable resources.

NESI gave different viewpoints and solutions for the future. We talked about some of the most important topics for our future, which seems very scary but, in the end, it gave us a lot of hope and inspired us to keep working to create a wellbeing economy. Overall, the NESI forum helped us realize we are not alone in this fight. What we’re doing is right and we need to fight for what is right. Meeting so many great people and all of the interesting conversations and discussions were uplifting and exhilarating.

 

 

 

Written by Esther Snijder, Mara Tippmann & Pien Gerards

WEAll Youth leaders are undertaking research into sustainable lifestyles and behaviours for under 30s.

If you are aged 30 and below, please take part by completing this simple survey: CLICK HERE

 

By Pien Gerards, WEAll Youth

Fashion, you can find it anywhere: on the streets, TV, Social Media and in school. It can make you feel great; you can express yourself and show the world who you are or just make yourself feel comfortable and relaxed. There is something for everyone and nowadays you can change your fashion any day and anytime.

But do we actually know where our clothes are made and what impact this has on the world?

Facts of the Fashion industry:

  • Environment

According to Marieke Eyskoot (2017), 10.000 litres of water are needed to produce 1 outfit (jeans and shirt), 85 Million trees are cut down every year to produce fabrics, but 140 Million kilo of the clothing we produce will be burned in the incinerator every year.  In addition, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the CO2 emissions world-wide.

  • People

According to Safia Minney (2017) 168 Million children are still working in child labour today. 21 Million other people are victims of forced labour within the industry. This is modern slavery. Children are used to work in supply chains of clothing and jewellery, but also on cotton fields and cacao plantations. Human trafficking, forced labour, excessive labour and bonded labour are happening today

  • Fast Fashion

All of this happens because of the consumerism culture of the current economic system. Fashion brands make you believe you need new clothing 12 or even more times a year. We throw away our clothes faster than ever and the quality of our clothes decreases.

Does this sound like a Wellbeing Economy to you?

Since 2000 the fashion industry became 4 times as big. Nowadays 80 Billion pieces of clothes are produced every year (Eyskoot, 2017), the fashion industry is the third biggest industry in the world (Minney, 2017), and it is part of the world’s biggest polluters.

Personally, I started thinking about my fashion choices because I really care about animals. My research about how animals are used within the fashion industry escalated into finding out all the horror stories going on in this industry, not only for animals but also for our environment and people working in this industry.

But I do not want to depress you with all the negative, there are so many solutions to this problem! Sustainable fashion can be fun and below you can find tips and tricks on how to increase your positive impact on the world through fashion.

What can we do?
  • Do not support fast fashion: Quality above quantity, go for your own style instead of following the forever and fast changing trends.
  • Remake your clothes: Is the zipper of your favourite jeans broken? Repair it instead of buying a new one, as well as this being better for the environment this is also a lot cheaper.
  • Recycle: Do you really want something else? Ask friends, family or co-workers for all the stuff they do not use anymore and organize a clothing swap. This way your ‘trash’ turns into someone else’s treasure. Personally, I am also a big fan of Thrift shopping. Many modern cities have second hand or vintage stores.
  • Ask why before you buy: Do you really need something new? There are (speaking from personal experience) so many items in your closet that can be reused! Check out everything you have before you decided to buy something new, and ask yourself, will this really bring extra value to my life.
  • Support Ethical brands: There are a lot of initiatives rising up who want to show a good example. Below in recommendations a few ethical brands are named. But see which one are close to you! Also you can download the apps ‘rank a brand’ or ‘good on you’ to check if your favourite brand are ethical.
  • Act: Join the Fashion Revolution. The Fashion revolution organisation is campaigning for “a fashion industry that conserves and restores our environment and gives people, especially woman, a voice” (Fashion Revolution , 2019). Fashion revolution starts the 22nd of April! You can see on their website if there are event in your neighbourhood.

Sustainable fashion certainly does not have to be more expensive. Buying new shirts every month for 5 euros of bad quality which you can throw away after using it a few times… or buying one good quality shirt for 50 euros which will last years is something to consider!

A quote that really stuck with me was,

If you do not pay the price someone else will

 

Pien’s recommendations:

Books:

Slave to fashion – Safia Minney

This is a good guide – Marieke Eyskoot

Documentaries:

The true cost (Netflix)

Minimalism (Netflix)

Websites:

Fashionrevolution.org

Ethical fashion websites/brands:

Reformation

Geitenwollenwinkel

Goat Organic Apparel

Know the origin

Less too late

Veja

Hara the label

And there are so much more!!

References:

Eyskoot, M. (2017). Dit is een goede gids. Amsterdam: Keff & Dessing Publishing.

Fashion Revolution . (2019). Home. Retrieved from fashionrevolution.org: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/

Minney, S. (2017). Slave to fashion. New International Publications Ltd.

 

 

WEAll Youth co-founder Helene Schnelle recently appeared on the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things podcast. Listen here!

 

Helene is a university student studying change management with a focus on global issues.  She always had an interest in helping the world in a big way and soon she found an interest in being a part of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.  Helene and her friends started WeAll Youth on their campus and on Instagram to involve young people into creating change in their local environment and the world.  Hear how she’s working to build this movement one step at a time, why she encourages people to change their mindset to take a risk to go after what they’re passionate about, why young people see themselves as global citizens and how we can all help change the world in our own way by listening to this episode.