🌏 The second annual Asia Pacific Social Innovation Partnership Award has just ended. Affected by the pandemic, the award process from application submission, judge review to winners’ sharing has completely moved online, but the participants’ enthusiasm has not diminished. We received a total of 95 social innovation projects from 16 countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and India.
☀️ Some organizations solve energy inequality through technological collaboration. For example, consider the “Bottom Up Approach to Solar Lighting in Villages That Have Lost Income” project in the Philippines initiated by the Liter of Light Global Foundation. This project leverages the concept of “family as a factory” to organize women in the cooperative to make solar lights from recycled PET bottles. In addition to making lamps for their own families, the trained women also become trainers to train local youth and solve the lighting needs of impoverished areas.
🕯️ It may be difficult for many people to conceptualize that 25% of the world population have no access to stable electricity. Poor households in some areas even spend a third of their monthly income to buy kerosene for lighting.
💡 This Liter of Light Global Foundation project combines recycling and sustainable energy, so that those in need can not only “illuminate themselves”, but also “light up lights for others.” Currently, its bases have spanned 32 provinces in the Philippines, showing its effectiveness.
🏦 Some organizations use the digital financial system to alleviate the concerns of people who are working far from their hometowns.
📲 Singapore’s BeamAndGo team has developed an innovative payment platform built on payment and e-commerce platforms. It allows overseas workers in the Philippines to directly pay household bills remotely, or convert their salaries into gift cards for directly specified expenditures in local pharmacies or supermarkets. In this way, overseas workers can ensure that their money is used properly.
🔢 Currently, the BeamAndGo team is collaborating with the Philippine government and more than 7,100 stores, as well as connecting with multiple banks and remittance centers. In addition, they also provide micro-loans for migrant workers to alleviate their risk of having to pay high interest to borrow money in the past. This project overturns the traditional financial model of migrant workers’ remittances to their hometowns, and is a model of technological solutions to social problems.
🔄 Given the severe pandemic this year, the Asia Pacific Social Innovation Partnership Award review committee awarded a special award to the Community Resilience Fund in Hong Kong. This emergency fund, established by the Social Ventures Hong Kong and the Sustainable Finance Initiative, provides zero-interest emergency loans for social enterprises. Furthermore, when a social enterprise repays the loan, the money will be returned to the fund and continue to assist other social enterprises.
🏆 These projects have shown me that social innovation does not necessarily require new inventions or special tools. As long as we recognize social values, make good use of existing foundations and technologies, and invite partners everywhere to collaborate, we will have opportunities to solve social problems and help more people. We look forward to more people joining us in these activities for social good.