7.7 billion reasons to foster social inclusion

Monday June 24 2019



Christian de Boisredon

Christian de Boisredon 

By Christian de Boisredon

Globalisation has been a boon to some economies, tearing down barriers and shortening distances between countries and people. At the same time, it has highlighted tremendous inequalities, sparking polarisation and exclusion in societies around the world.
Some cannot resist the temptation to look inward, building walls of fear and mistrust against anyone who thinks, looks or acts differently. Last year, United Nations and human rights experts warned of an alarming rise in racism and xenophobia across the globe. Growing economic and territorial inequalities, coupled with a crisis of faith in public institutions, are only worsening the situation – paving the road for further inequality, isolationism and upheaval.

People are increasingly moving from rural to urban centres, where markets are stronger and job opportunities supposedly better. Fifty-five per cent of the population worldwide now lives in cities, according to the United Nations, a number expected to reach 68 per cent by 2050. If we are to meet the needs and uphold the basic rights of the 7.7 billion people who inhabit the planet, we must find ways to address major challenges such as affordable housing, decent employment, access to education and health care, and civic representation.

Instead of walls, we could be building bridges. Some people are doing just that. Coming from different countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, they are devising effective local responses to global issues. In this way, they are showing that it is possible to develop inclusive social, economic and civic solutions and to reduce the gap that is marginalising enormous segments of the world’s population.
Transgender school dropouts in Argentina now have the possibility to finish their education without fear of discrimination, thanks to the world’s first public trans-oriented high school. In Uganda, a group of dance lovers is travelling the country, using traditional dances from each region to help the local youth out of drug abuse and poverty. A startup in Belgium has come up with a programme for senior citizens to mentor unemployed immigrants and guide them through the challenges of finding a job and integrating into their new home.
Initiatives such as these have the power to create a more sustainable, fair and resilient future for all.

That is why, over the next week, Daily Monitor joins forces with Sparknews and 15 news media outlets across the world to bring these and other initiatives to readers, as part of the editorial project 7.7 Billion, supported by the Schwab Foundation. Like the people behind these stories, these newsrooms have different backgrounds, cultures and languages. Still, they have chosen to come together to explore the issues that divide our societies and investigate constructive ways to address them.
If two heads are better than one, imagine what 7.7 billion could accomplish.

Christian de Boisredon is the founder of Sparknews

Editor’s Note: Every year, for the past few year, Daily Monitor has joined other newspapers from across the world in the Impact Journalism Movement to bring stories of hope and communities that have found solutions for themselves.
This year is no different. Media has been accused of being bearers of bad news, with the old saying, ‘bad news is good news’ being the explanation. Yet this is not always the case. Journalists always look out for stories of people or communities finding solutions for themselves no matter what life throws at them. However, stories about what is wrong with our society usually get more attention.

The current ‘popular’ problem is the youth of these days, as most people put it. This is usually said with disdain and in a resigned tone. Like there is no hope for today’s youth. Yet this is far from the truth. Many young people are coming up with ways to tackle the problems in their lives while uplifting their communities.
That is why we are proud to be part of the Impact Journalism Movement. Every June, we get to intentionally look out for stories of people and communities finding solutions. This year, our team was intent on proving that today’s youth are seated on their laurels despite the problems they face.

Indeed they found an example of a group of young people using what they know most people their age enjoy —dancing. The group is also aware that it is important to include the older people in their societies so they use both traditional and modern dance to make an impact.
And this is just in Uganda. Over the next week, we shall be running stories from China, Egypt and Switzerland, among other countries of people who are doing things differently in order to foster social inclusion. In today’s paper, besides the story of Kuhamahama, the nomadic dance movement in Uganda, we also have a story of Al Jisr from Morocco. Al Jisr equips school dropouts with computer skills and also recycles computer parts.

Apart from the stories from around the world, this project also allows us to get a glimpse of how different newsrooms work. Even with the different languages, different physical, political and social settings, the stories are similar in that they are all about ordinary people trying to make a difference. These stories show that there is hope for the 7.7 billion people in the world.

The Impact Journalism stories are on page 8 and 20 and in the Teaching and Learning magazine. These stories will run until June 30.

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