What Difference Will You Make?
This is a participatory post, so I hope you're prepared.
I want you to think about yesterday. What was the very best thing that happened?
Are you smiling? Good.
Now, what was the worst thing that happened? What was inefficient, annoying, an obstacle, or just plain bad?
Has it happened before? Frequently? If not, what is a common annoyance you deal with on a regular basis? How does it negatively impact your life? Have you wasted hours because of this inefficiency, or troubled others because of it?
Would a solution to this problem only benefit you, or would it benefit other people around you too? What kind of solution is needed? Is it something you can build? Or a program you can implement?
So what will you do about it?
This is how we jump-start social innovation. We all encounter problems on a daily basis, some more persistent or debilitating than others, but we all do. And we all can do something to change those problems. That is how development happens.
I have been greatly inspired by Jessica Matthews from Uncharted Play and the way that she used social innovation to solve a problem, and not only that, but to motivate others to do so as well.
With inspiration from Uncharted Play and their phenomenal work, EDGE is headed to Gambia to run a Social Innovation Summit for Gambian teens from across the country.
The Gambia is ranked at 165 out 187 countries on the UN's Human Development Index. Poverty has been a long struggle, primarily because the majority of the country's income comes from agriculture, and with unpredictable weather and planting seasons, it is an unreliable income source.
And yet, Gambian youth are the among the most passionate and enthusiastic I've seen. They are capable of so much, and what they need is the world opened up to them, revealing how many options there really are, and someone to believe in them.
Gambia is also at a pivotal state right now, having just welcomed in a new president and looking forward to monumental changes in the way the country is run, now is the time to capitalize on the belief that the future really is bright, and theirs for the taking.
EDGE is going to Gambia in May to help students not only brainstorm problems and solutions, and begin the process of Social Innovation, or invention and programming that will benefit their communities, but to instill an entrepreneurial spirit that will take these ideas and capitalize on them for the benefit of their futures, their families, and the country as a whole.
With a program reaching across the entire country, we believe that this could have wide and deep impacts and we can't wait to see the fruit of this Summit as the students attending graduate and begin implement their ideas and changing their world.
Interested in sponsoring our trip - want to sponsor a small grant for the students' best ideas for inventions or programs? Contact us!
Want to sponsor a similar Social Innovation Summit somewhere else? Get in touch!