December 22, 2009

The policy discussions at the summit

The global unemployment crises immediately and urgently calls out for a powerful response. The consequences of up to a billion unemployed and disenchanted youth in the world is unimaginable, in the north as well as in the south. Moral imperatives mandate urgent action, as does the need for social stability

We are facing an immediate social crises. This unfolds against the backdrop of an equally urgent but more long-term imperative: the required structural shift of our global economy towards ecological sustainability. Furthermore, it does so at a time when the financial crisis has already streched national accounts to historic levels and where the level of risk in the global financial and monetary system is extreme.

This situation poses very serious challenges for policy makers. The prospects of handling these in a piecemeal way are not promising. Instead, we need policy instruments that allow us to get to the logic of the present system responsible for generating the various imbalances.

Therefore, just as the summit takes its starting points in tangible ventures which carry within them answers to multiple challenges, the task of the policy discussions is to look for the policy frameworks and governance models that can solve multiple challenges, and help the emerging models on display translate into systems impact.

In other words: given the financial environment, what actions available today could simultaneously address the employment crises and support the emergence of a new kind of value creation?

The discussions will proceed form documented cases of promising policies in this area, documented and discussed in a Tällberg policy paper to be presented in the spring of 2010.

The expected outcome of the policy discussion is the general principles for a holistic global jobs programme, designed to respond to the confluence of social, financial and ecological crises - in terms of governance structure, finanical mechanisms and implementational strategy.

December 8, 2009

Changemakers in Moldova

Most of the world is now focusing on the COP15 developments. Meanwhile, in Moldova, a small country between Romania and Ukraine, where little attention is given to climate change or global negotiations, an important step on the road to sustainable solutions and environmental improvements was taken this Saturday.

In the capital Chisinau, 200 participants took part in the first nation-wide gathering of its kind, to strengthen entrepreneurship and development of small enterprises throughout the country. A much needed effort in a country that has long ranked as Europe’s poorest. Its agricultural industry – once its pride – is almost collapsed, and today a quarter of its population is working abroad (often illegally). Adding to that, the country is squeezed between the borders of EU and the almost-nextdoor neighbor Russia, with whom Moldova has frosty relations but is totally dependent on for its energy supply.

If change in a sustainable direction is to take place around the world, part of the solution lies in the entrepreneurial initiatives that are about creating brighter and more reliable futures in places such as the countryside of Moldova. If that is to happen, there need to be crowds of creative and confident entrepreneurs in the country. The need is evident, and the potential is great. These future entrepreneurs are the ones to start solar energy generation facilities to allow for secure, cheap and climate friendly energy; to start ecological farming of premium vegetables to be sold in Europe; and to open up the IT service centers of the future.

The meeting, that was held to launch the first Moldovan platform to support sustainable youth employment, provided a possibility for the 100+ participating entrepreneurs to learn about concrete possibilities for financing, incubator support and networking opportunities. Among the presenters were representatives from banks and financial institutions. They made it clear that lack of money is not Moldova's greatest problem. Funding programs in the ranges of EUR 100 million were presented. But the links between the funds and the entrepreneurs are not there, the models of the big institutions are not accessible for the small businesses. Maybe the presentations and discussions that day took a small step towards bridging that gap.

Maybe links between resources and entrepreneurs were also made by the fact that the Prime Minister, Vlad Filat, participated and explicitly offered support and asked for feedback to help make improvement in the legal frameworks –he participated together with ministers and vice ministers of finance and youth. The government is young. The Prime Minister has been in office only two months, and is eager to quickly achieve real change in a direction “towards Europe”. I hope they will.

This event was put together not by the government, not by an international organization. It was organized by a young serial entrepreneur and change-maker. Igor Casapu is in the restaurant business – and at the age of 27 he has already successfully bought, built and sold at least three cafés. He has also built an impressive network of 140 young entrepreneurs around the country, supporting them with necessary connections, advice and training. Revenues from his restaurants are making this work possible. When institutional funding is slow, his business income makes it possible to achieve change quickly. That is a social entrepreneurship model that is worth copying – for quick change in the right direction.

November 26, 2009

Project 390: Young People the focus of IKEA and Young Foundation

'Damaged but recoverable' young people are helped into Ikea jobs by Project 390, reports Chrisanthi Giotis of Social Enterprise Live

A social enterprise born out of a corporate social responsibility programme in multinational furniture company Ikea has just received backing from the Young Foundation. Youth charity the Vine Trust has run a work experience scheme with Ikea in Wales since 2006. That scheme has expanded to other stores and has provided 300 young people from tough backgrounds with work experience while being supported by a team of youth workers.
30% of the young people have gone on to gain full-time work with Ikea thorough the scheme.

As of last week the project also received the support of the Young Foundation. The plan is that the programme will break off from the youth charity and become its own self-sustaining social enterprise spin-off called Project 390. (The figures 390 make up the internal code used by Ikea to describe furniture that has been damaged but is recoverable.)

Project 390 will compete with commercial organisations that provide staff to the furniture company. It plans to expand to many more UK Ikea stores and eventually other large companies.

Young Foundation director Geoff Mulgan said: 'The answer to Britain's growing youth unemployment crisis lies with social enterprises like Project 390.

'We have invested in Project 390 because it shows that with some innovative thinking and corporate responsibility we can provide unemployed young people with their first rung on the jobs ladder.'

Project 390 has received £30,000 from the Young Foundation's Learning Launchpad programme: £5,000 as a grant and also £25,000 in quasi-equity - that money will be recovered by the Young Foundation through Project 390 revenue when it becomes self-sufficient. The social enterprise will predominantly work with ex-offenders, care leavers and teenagers with serious barriers to employment.

The Learning Launchpad announced another £80,000-worth of funding to three other social enterprises working with young people last week. These were Space Unlimited, a Scottish creative consultancy staffed by teenagers, women's leadership project Ignite, and Social Links, which helps young unemployed people with social networking skills get jobs in creative businesses in East London. The next round of applications closes on 8 January 2010.

The Young Foundation is a parter of the 5th Global YES Summit, Rework the World.

November 20, 2009

Rework India - exceeding expectations

I've just come back from Delhi, India, where 120 leaders came together for an exciting Rework India meeting at the India Habitat Center, a key milestone in the run up to the 5th Global YES Summit, Rework the World, in Sweden in 2010.

A broad spectrum of partners have it a real flavour of cross-sector action: the Confederation of Indian Industries, the Ministry of Rural Development of India, YES Bank Ltd., New Ventures India, the Dishtree Foundation.

The highlights: 1. the diversity of participants, 2. the frank dialogue between real government decision-makers, social and environmental entrepreneurs, youth leaders and investors; and 3. the center-stage focus on creating an investment marketplace, from participating banks to venture capital funds, angel investor networks and foundations, all of which gave the meeting a real edge around planning the scaling up of some of India's most promising social innovations.
Among the participants:
A forum of investors and an 'investor game' provided some adrenaline for the afternoon. Here real investors competed (with fake money) to deliver cutting-edge investment strategies, responding to the proposals developed collaboratively by participants during the meeting. The Investors included:
Many thanks to the YES team in India, PK Joseph and Shuchi Smita for their fantastic work in pulling the meeting together, and for their work going forward. Please contact the YES India team if you want to know more about this meeting and what ideas are being taken forward towards 2010.

October 30, 2009

YES Peru advocates for youth green jobs!

The RTW Peru team is working very hard to advance the green agenda for youth jobs. VIDA –the host agency for YES Peru- is coordinating a network to make this possible. The interest in the environment sector is getting to the employment agenda. Still, we find it is challenging to link “green jobs” with the workers rights and the decent work agenda.

We are using two radio programs to promote Rework The World, the 5th Global YES Summit in 2010. We are organizing planning meetings with the support of institutions and leaders like Congressman Falla Lamadrid, the GEA Group, JARC, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, CCSA, the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP International) and FREDEMAR. More than 100 people from diverse organizations have so far been involved in building towards Sweden 2010 and the Latin American regional meetings this and next year.

We have already identified some 40 green projects in 4 fields: renewable energy, forest, urban waste and Ecoturism. We see these are key areas where Peru can develop new opportunities for youth green jobs and we’ll seek to mobilize the government and investors to support these projects. Towards the end of November the top 5 initiatives in each area will be showcased in the Peruvian Parliament.
We will showcase these projects on this blog soon, but you can follow the Peruvian process at:

October 29, 2009

Do you know?...

Some of the most critical Green Jobs are to be found in the energy, mining, agricultural, construction and transportation sectors. These sectors has made an important impact in helping to cut the consumption of energy, raw materials and water through high-efficiency strategies designed to ‘de-carbonize’ the economy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to minimize waste, pollution, to protect and restore the ecosystems. The lessening of the impact of the human footprint on the environment arising out of Green Jobs which is generally thought to be gradual. Different jobs contribute to the process to different degrees.


Green jobs are the forms of employment that are mindful of the importance of minimizing the impact of the particular activity on the environment... What Green Jobs seek to do, is to reduce environmental fallout to levels that are regarded as sustainable as far as possible, to repair environmental damage.

"Rework" The Practical Solution to Youth Unemployment and Poverty alleviation

The Rework Process is very critical in focusing the world to start tasking and stop talking. YES Kenya seeks to create over 2000 Solar Entrepreneurship Opportunities. The Problem of unemployment continues to bedevil our continent. If this project pulls through, it promises to be the next anchor for a revolution to create green jobs for many Youth in Africa. Created on the premise of extinguishing 1 million kerosene lamps in rural Africa, the project is ambitious and at the same time realistic to the challenges that Africa faces today.

The Rework process will be the benchmark to create the partnerships that will see different players to focus on how young people can engage constructively on creating opportunities at community level. We look forward to partnerships that will see and follow up to get involved in this project.

Renewable energy will be part of this process as well on how young people can create eco charcoal and save the nvironement.

Emmanuel Dennis

Rework & The Green Jobs Initiative

A key input to the Rework the World initiative is the international Green Jobs Initiative --a joint initiative by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Employers Organization (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has been launched to assess, analyze and promote the creation of decent jobs as a consequence of the needed environmental policies.

It supports a concerted effort by governments, employers and trade unions to promote environmentally sustainable jobs and development in a climate-challenged world. Work under the Green Jobs Initiative so far has focused on collecting evidence and different examples of green jobs creation, resulting in a major comprehensive study on the impact of an emerging green economy on the world of work.

UNEP, ILO, IOE and ITUC are planning a second phase of the Green Jobs Initiative. The project will move from information gathering and analysis in the green jobs report to assistance in policy formulation and implementation through active macro-economic and sectoral assessment of potential green jobs creation.

October 28, 2009

TechnoServe joins Rework to advance youth 'green' entrepreneurship

TechnoServe--the leading organisation providing business solutions to poverty--has joined Rework to create synergies between the initiative and its work on the ground.

TechnoServe is a recognized leader and innovator of business solutions to poverty. Through 40 years of work it has empowered the success of entrepreneurial men and women who − with the right business model, skills, network, financial services and access to markets – can build sustainable businesses that generate income, opportunity and economic growth for their families, their communities and their countries.

In 2008, TechnoServe assisted businesses generated $149 million in revenues, and bought $64 million from almost 200,000 low income suppliers. TechnoServe has been supporting entrepreneurship and enterprise development in Kenya and East Africa for decades. It has a successful business plan competition model for identifying and nurturing high potential entrepreneurs, provision of aftercare to launch their businesses and building local business service provider capacity to build the ecosystems required to support their scalability.

The skills and assets that TechnoServe brings to Rework the World include:
  • Dedicated support infrastructure on the ground and a network of leading private and public sector partners dedicated to Kenyan enterprise development
  • Proven results in design and implementation of East African youth entrepreneurship and enterprise programs, including young women-focused programs
  • An integrated approach to small and medium enterprise development, built around a plan competitions, with a strong focus on follow practical entrepreneurship training
  • Strengthening local Business Development Services (BDS) providers to sustain and scale small enterprise growth.

October 26, 2009

Granja Porcon in Peru: an agro - tourist experience

Rural cooperative offering an agro-tourism program in Cajamarca's northern highlands, including farming and animal husbandry. These activities include sowing and harvesting potatoes and other roots and garden vegetables, seed selection and soil preparation. It also features cow-milking by hand, selection of breeding stock, visit to a plant nursery and participation in the pine wood rehabilitation and management program, which carries out a very successful project. it is a mini-zoo with animals of regional fauna. It is also possible to go on country walks or simply relax and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility of the beautiful scenery surrounding the community.

The inhabitants of the Granja Porcón farm offer an agro-tourist program where visitors can take part in a series of farming activities such as planting and milking cows by hand, live side-by-side with members of the community, giving them a window into their lifestyle, traditions and daily activities. The stay will also enable visitors to take part in festivals and rituals in addition to daily farm chores. It is a unique chance to swap living experiences in a balanced relationship with nature.

The most important part of this initiative is the 10,000 hectare forest area. The trees here are not indigenous but were planted for their value in the paper and furniture industries.Nonetheless, this is an effort in the direction of reforestation. Thanks to this, local farmers are getting new incomes improving their economies.

October 19, 2009

The International Labour Organisation partners Rework

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has become a strategic partner of Rework the World.

In this capacity, the ILO will bring its experience and networks on employment policy in 183 countries, and specifically leverage its work on ILO's:
  • The Youth Employment Programme and experience with the youth entrepreneurship agenda;
  • The Green Jobs Initiative and networks focused on greening the economy;
  • The Sustainable Enterprise Programme and technical cooperation resources with large scale outreach.
As a strategic partner, the ILO will also convene its constituents to the 5th YES Global Summit, including governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations in 183 member States who can take Rework's goals and agenda forward.

SEED initiative joins Rework to push for youth green jobs

The SEED initiative, an international sustainability prize hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly with UNDP and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), has joined Rework the World to connect leading entrepreneurs in areas such as energy, agriculture and water to the youth green jobs agenda.

The main goals of the SEED Initiative are to build support for social and environmental entrepreneurs, to integrate them into the green economy, and to promote their role as contributors to the wider development process.

Through a competition, SEED every year selects the most promising start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs around the globe and provides them with tailored capacity building packages to meet their most urgent needs, to grow their networks, and to heighten their profiles, so helping them to consolidate and scale up.

Through this partnership, SEED will work with its entrepreneurs to explore how to accelerate the youth employment components as a driver of their scaling strategies. SEED's aim is to encourage the growth of micro and medium sized enterprises to contribute to shape a green economy.

October 16, 2009

Join REWORK THE WORLD -500 Million Young People Will Look For Work In The Next 10 Years

We all face the common challenge – to rework the world as we see it today.

The path to a global sustainable society must be built by creating sustainable business, jobs and living. The journey starts with what matters most to us as individuals - our jobs and every day security in our local community.

Our goal is to mobilize young people to demonstrate their green ideas and to involve existing business and capital to create new companies and new jobs.

Our challenge is put global and local issues in the same picture. Both the global and the local perspectives must be concrete and easy to understand.

We need practical and doable ways to deal with these issues.

This is why we need to Rework the World!

/Ulla-Britt Fräjdin-Hellqvist - Team Rework the world

October 14, 2009

African Demographics vs. Green Economy: What Future for Youth?

One African in two is a child. The Economist recently illustrated how Africa’s baby bonanza threatens the continent with meltdown. It reports, for example, that forests in Kenya have shrunk by at least 60% since 1990, mainly because more people are cutting down trees for fuel; doubting whether Kenya’s government will have the strength to save the forests on which Nairobi depends for water and hydroelectric power.

A country’s risk of conflict rises four percentage points for every one-point increase in the youth population, according to the Norwegian demographer, Henrik Urdal. If young people do not get jobs or find productive paths for their lives, they may turn to violence. So, argues The Economist, Africa’s population pyramids, which are wide at childhood and adolescence (see graph) may be more promising than Italy’s, but are also more ‘combustible’. In some African cities, where the rate of unemployment is 70%, people are recruited to militias for a day’s wage. Kenyan politicians and businessmen were accused in last year’s elections of paying young men to turn parts of the country into war zones.

The links between population, the way we produce and consume energy, and the fragility of the natural resource base is at the heart of the problem. But there are also solutions. Innovation can play a key role in cutting through this gordian knot, and is the main goal of the work that the Pathways to Scale Program is doing with the Tallberg Foundation. Just like mobile phone companies could leapfrog development from the crumbling state-owned telecoms, new business models emerging in renewable energies such as wind and solar power, biofuel cookers and rainwater tanks offer similar potential.

In Tanzania, 300 hectares of forests a day are lost to the production coal for cooking, which sustains rural livelihoods. Joint Environmental Techniques (JET), an organization associated to Rework, is promoting a way of producing charcoal briquettes with agricultural waste, which burn longer and are cheaper than coal in the market, providing sustainable livelihoods to poor rural families. Rework aims to convene the clusters of actors that can help JET, among other businesses, scale up the impact of its model on youth employment, faster. Their potential is to change the equation between the demand for energy and the depletion of natural resources, while generating the much needed ‘green’ youth employment.

The transition to a ‘green economy’ will remain a distant promise if young people, which are already the majority of the population in many developing countries, don’t find a way of getting involved. Our partners, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and TechnoServe, are joining the initiative to push this agenda in their respective spaces, whether by creating enabling business environments for these initiatives and accelerating skills building on the ground or by advancing the necessary global public policies, investment opportunities and coordination. Much more remains to be done, not least by putting the challenge of creating youth green employment high on the development agenda.