Finally Good News http://finallygoodnews.net Your dosage of good news and positive perspectives from the frontline Mon, 14 May 2018 13:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 http://finallygoodnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-finallygoodnews-logo1-32x32.png Finally Good News http://finallygoodnews.net 32 32 48449532 Mobile-based FinTech is closing the Economic Gap in Africa http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/05/14/mobile-based-fintech-closing-economic-gap-africa/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/05/14/mobile-based-fintech-closing-economic-gap-africa/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 13:09:29 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3181 Mobile Phones are Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty in African Nations In a 2016 TEDx Talk, Sivan Ya’ari, the founder of ‘Innovation: Africa’ shares a fascinating story about her efforts to bring electricity to villages in Africa. She was initially disturbed by the absence of essential medicines in Africa’s remote […]

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Mobile Phones are Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty in African Nations

In a 2016 TEDx Talk, Sivan Ya’ari, the founder of ‘Innovation: Africa’ shares a fascinating story about her efforts to bring electricity to villages in Africa. She was initially disturbed by the absence of essential medicines in Africa’s remote villages. She was told that this was due to the lack of refrigerators. There was no electricity, so refrigeration was impossible. And yet, despite the lack of electricity, Ya’ari discovered that villagers carried mobile phones.

So, if there is no electricity, how were they re-charging their phones? Astonishingly, villagers would walk for hours to one village where there was electricity and a charging hub, each paying 10 cents to charge their phone. Capitalizing on this, Ya’ari realized that the village in which she was working could also set up a hub with solar-powered electricity. This would provide a steady stream of income, with which they could buy lightbulbs and other necessary items for the villagers.

Ya’ari’s story is one of the simplest examples of how mobile phones are disrupting poverty in Africa. This, and stories like it, are encouraging signs for the economic future of Africans.

Mobile-based Financial Services Are Closing the Income Gap in Africa

Despite lack of basic services across most of Africa, mobile phones have been around for decades. The African continent proved fertile ground for mobile communications companies to expand their market share. The growing mobile technology market in Africa opened unprecedented doors to mobile financial services, and this has created lanes for economic empowerment for Africa’s impoverished population.

Cashless Payments and Access to Financing

With mobile financial services, Africans can make cashless payments for even the simplest things, such as taking a cab or public bus. Through their mobile phone, they can access small loans from banks or microfinance institutions to start small businesses.
M-PESA, for instance, is a mobile-based money transfer service. Africans can access savings and microloan services. Taking it a step further, M-Akiba, another mobile-based fintech platform, allows people to make investments. This means that a rural citizen, with a skill and dream to become an entrepreneur can now, through his or her mobile phone, access a small loan. When the business becomes profitable he or she can invest in the future. Rural Africans – a historically cashless society – are no longer marginalized from economic opportunity.

Empowering Africa’s Poor through Access to Fintech

In January 2018, Arise, an African investment company, formed a partnership with Above and Beyond Tech, an international technology company headquartered in America, and with the Dutch Development Bank, FMO, to launch a mobile-based fintech initiative. FinForward is designed to digitize all banking services, making it more accessible to underserved communities.

A “Businesslive.co.za” article published in January 30, 2018, says that between the years 2008 and 2014, 2% of Kenyan citizens moved out of poverty thanks to access to fintech on their mobile devices. Access to mobile phones has led to a tremendous growth in technology hubs, with 300 hubs and incubators in Africa.

The hi-tech community likes to talk about disruptive technologies, and it’s safe to say that mobile-based financial services have totally disrupted the cycle of poverty in rural Africa, thereby paving the way to a brighter future.

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1% For the Planet http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/04/04/1-for-the-planet/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/04/04/1-for-the-planet/#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:09:40 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3176 Believing in Collective Impact 1% for the Planet is a global organisation with a mission to build a healthy planet. The initiative believes that the viability of our planet is facing an existential threat and that it is up to all of us that occupy it to do something about […]

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Believing in Collective Impact

1% for the Planet is a global organisation with a mission to build a healthy planet. The initiative believes that the viability of our planet is facing an existential threat and that it is up to all of us that occupy it to do something about it. 

Who They Are

Founded in 2002 by Craig Mathews and Yvon Chouinard, 1% for the Planet encourages members to donate 1% of their profits towards creating a better world for us all. Because our expertise lies in a variety of fields, it is not always easy to develop strategies and methods of making a positive impact on the planet. Few have the resources to explore the vast array of options to make a difference. By creating the organisation, accessible and credible means of supporting the environment was created. 1% for the Planet maximises the impact of support by connecting members to trusted non-profit partners.

Why They Exist

Climate change is putting our very existence in danger, our food supply systems are under threat and our animals and plants at risk of extinction. Because these issues are not being adequately addressed, it is up to the global community to take responsibility to drive positive change. Through this initiative, a diverse network has done amazing work for over a decade. With a firm belief that putting dollars and doers together can make a tangible local impact, 1% for the Planet is becoming an unstoppable force in the fight for our planet’s survival.

What You Can Do

Whether you are a company, a non-profit organisation, or an individual, you can support the initiative. There are several ways to join 1% for the Planet. As a company, you can join with a product line, through your brand or as the whole company making an annual contribution. In most cases, donations are tax deductible. Individuals can either pledge 1% of their salaries, commit to giving a percentage of their purchases or sign up for a charity charge credit card which will automatically donate 1% to the cause.

 

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AI Companionship According to Dr. Susan Lim http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/03/27/ai-companionship-according-dr-susan-lim/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/03/27/ai-companionship-according-dr-susan-lim/#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 12:51:46 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3166 Dr. Susan Lim Hopes You’ll Indulge in the Doors of Imagination How many of us had a childhood companion in the form of a plush toy, or even an invisible imaginary friend? These inanimate or make-believe objects/friends provide company when we are lonely, a listening ear when we need to […]

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Dr. Susan Lim Hopes You’ll Indulge in the Doors of Imagination

How many of us had a childhood companion in the form of a plush toy, or even an invisible imaginary friend? These inanimate or make-believe objects/friends provide company when we are lonely, a listening ear when we need to talk, and a shoulder to cry on when we’re sad.

Remember Cast Away?

In the epic American survival drama movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a systems engineer who is stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific. He ‘makes friends’ with a volleyball he names Wilson to get through the four years of solitude with his sanity relatively intact. Just like Chuck, we all need companionship. But as we grow up, it becomes more difficult to form bonds, leaving many adults alone and lonely – and apparently, this can be dangerous. According to a study conducted by researchers in the U.S., loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a major public health hazard. And this is not limited to America.

via GIPHY

Relief for Lonely Singles – How China Does it

With the singles economy surging in China, there is a growing trend of solitary diners seen in restaurants with life-sized plush toys. This fad is driven by the massive growth of China’s adult population living alone – a population which is projected to grow from 77 million to an estimated 92 million by 2021, as estimated by the Boston Consulting Group. If having dinner with a plush toy is a small relief to a lonely person, imagine what a more life-like companion can do to ease the pain of isolation.

Art and Science Come Together to Solve the Sadness of Solitude

Dr. Susan Lim

Dr. Susan Lim

Passionate about introducing new concepts of life, Dr .Susan Lim wears many hats. She is a well-known robotic surgeon, prosthetics specialist, researcher and a renowned speaker. Dr. Lim also believes that we can do things better. Diving into robotics and stem cell research, she believes that synthetic life is not far-fetched and that AI companionship may be the solution to the growing concern of loneliness. According to Dr. Lim, we are not only on the cusp of a robotic revolution, but that AI combined with synthetic life is the next step in global evolution. And what better way to create AI companionship than for it to resemble real life as close as possible? Like the realistic androids that are more frequently seen at tech conventions, or Sophia, the robot who was given citizenship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you were lonely, would you not want Sophia as a friend?

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The World’s First Totally Green Underground Farm http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/02/07/worlds-first-totally-green-underground-farm/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/02/07/worlds-first-totally-green-underground-farm/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 07:44:58 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3156 From Long-Forgotten Bomb Shelters to the World’s First Subterranean Farm During World War II, the Nazi regime set out to destroy Britain, unleashing barrage after barrage of bombs on London and surrounding cities. How do you protect a large civilian population from such an onslaught? You build bomb shelter tunnels […]

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From Long-Forgotten Bomb Shelters to the World’s First Subterranean Farm

During World War II, the Nazi regime set out to destroy Britain, unleashing barrage after barrage of bombs on London and surrounding cities. How do you protect a large civilian population from such an onslaught? You build bomb shelter tunnels 100 feet below the ground.

During 1944, subterranean bomb shelters provided protection for London’s besieged citizens. They were equipped with kitchens, medical facilities, bathrooms and bunk beds. 12 stories below ground, the tunnels provided sanctuary for as many as 8,000 people.

The war ended, Europe slowly recovered and rebuilt, and London’s underground bomb shelters were forgotten. Until now.

The First Underground Farm is Born

The seeds of “Growing Underground” were sown three years ago. Founders Steven Dring and Richard Ballard were looking for a way to offer a steady supply of fresh, healthy produce to a rapidly growing urban population. Co-founder Richard Ballard was particularly motivated by his concern for sustaining urban centers. Cities like London, for instance, offer no farmland – yet a growing population requires food. While scouting locations for a movie production, they stumbled upon the long-abandoned Clapham bunker. They met with the owners of the tunnels—London’s TFL transportation agency—and received an invitation to move forward with their project.

“Growing Underground,” an urban, subterranean farm, could not have come at a better time. Unfavorable weather conditions resulted in a very poor harvest that year throughout southern Europe. Vegetables were being rationed in UK grocery stores. The fact that the tunnels would provide an environment in which produce could be grown year-round – as well as delivered to consumers within 8 hours of harvest – was very good news for London’s consumer base.

Tunnel Depth Creates the Perfect Growing Environment

The bomb shelter was constructed 100 feet below the surface. At that depth, temperatures remain at a steady 16C. This allows crops to grow year round with no temperature fluctuations to deal with, no issues of drought or extreme cold. The rooms are sealed, and a special bespoke filtration system is employed to provide optimum protection against disease. LED lighting, powered by green energy, replaces sunlight.

Currently, the farm produces herbs, radishes, mustard greens, lettuce, coriander, pea shoots, celery, parsley, and rocket. The vegetables are grown using a hydroponic system – meaning without soil – as seeds are planted in trays placed on hemp. Water which seeps into the tunnels naturally is collected, purified and used to irrigate the farm.

A Totally Green Underground Farm

The mission of the farm is to grow produce with zero impact on the environment, utilizing only green technologies. It is the world’s first underground farm, only a short distance from the center of the London metropolis. Long-range plans are to develop the tunnels into 2.5 acres of cultivated farming along, handled by a small business manned by a handful of people. Initial customers are restaurants and fresh produce suppliers. Once this channel operates smoothly, they plan on making the farm’s produce available to individual consumers via a designated internet outlet.

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Winning the War against Animal Cruelty http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/01/11/winning-war-animal-cruelty/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2018/01/11/winning-war-animal-cruelty/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 08:11:49 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3145 The post Winning the War against Animal Cruelty appeared first on Finally Good News.

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Moving From Linear to Circular: Reducing Textile Waste http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/12/18/moving-linear-circular-reducing-textile-waste/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/12/18/moving-linear-circular-reducing-textile-waste/#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:25:01 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3133 The Circular Fibres Initiative launched by the Ellen McArthur Foundation seeks to revolutionize the wasteful and costly fashion design model with a circular model.

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Helping the Poor Who are too Poor to File for Bankruptcy http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/12/03/helping-the-poor-who-are-too-poor-to-file-for-bankruptcy/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/12/03/helping-the-poor-who-are-too-poor-to-file-for-bankruptcy/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 14:44:11 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3129 What do you do when you are drowning in debt, the collectors are at the door and your entire world is closing in on you? You turn to the Bankruptcy court. But, what if you are too poor to file? This was the problem that plagued Rohan Pavuluri.

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Trees Return to the Amazon http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/11/21/trees-return-to-the-amazon/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/11/21/trees-return-to-the-amazon/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:48:11 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3123 Reseeding Millions of Acres in the Most Deforested Area in the World Decades of abuse and misuse have resulted in the loss of millions of acres of Amazon forests, as well as the destruction of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystem. And because everything is connected, this abuse of the largest […]

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Reseeding Millions of Acres in the Most Deforested Area in the World

Decades of abuse and misuse have resulted in the loss of millions of acres of Amazon forests, as well as the destruction of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystem. And because everything is connected, this abuse of the largest rainforest in the world decimated the economy of local populations and spiked Brazil’s contribution to greenhouse gases. Now there is good news as billions of seeds are being planted in Brazil’s Amazon forest.

A massive project is underway to re-seed roughly 70,000 acres of forest land with 73 million new trees. The project is taking place in what is known as the “arc of deforestation.” Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International’s CEO said, “This is a breathtakingly audacious project.” He said this the most ambitious forest reforestation project ever undertaken in the world. If they can get it right here, he says, the Amazon’s 25 million residents and the entire world will reap immeasurable benefits. The project will also go a long way toward helping Brazil meet its 2030 Paris Agreement obligations.

The Arc of Deforestation

Brazil is home to the world’s largest rainforest. Hosts of native populations, many of whom have never deviated from thousands of years of tradition survive on Brazil’s richly biodiverse environment. Tragically, conflicting values and priorities resulted in one of the largest deforestation undertakings in the world.
Almost half of the entire world’s tropical deforestation has taken place in what is known as the “arc of deforestation.” Brazil’s forests were cleared to make way for agricultural lands, the result of competing interests of becoming a global giant in the production of coffee, beef, sugar, and poultry. The lack of strategic planning meant that not only were the rainforests destroyed, but farming also suffered. Deforestation resulted in the entire ecosystem going out of balance, which impacted soil health, resulting actually in lower yields of agricultural produce. Further, Brazil became the 4th largest contributor to climate change.

Seeding Back to the Future

The project is employing a new technique known as muvuca, which was developed a few years ago in Brazil. Muvuca means many people in a very small place in Portuguese. Workers will plant 200 native species of seeds over every inch of the deforested lands. Saplings are much more labor-intensive, and they may or may not adapt to the environment. While not all seeds will survive, those that do turn into healthy, robust trees that have become completely acclimated to the soil and environment. The success rate is much higher. The primary focus area of this massive undertaking is in the southern Amazonas, Acre, Para, Rondonia, and continuing through the Xingu watershed. To date, one million seeds have been planted.

More good news is that if the project succeeds in Brazil, it can be replicated elsewhere. Conservation International and its partners, the Global Environment Facility, Brazilian Ministry of Environment, Brazilian Biodiversity Fund and the World Bank hope that the success of this project will become a role model of how to undertake massive reforestation projects at an affordable cost. The plan is to take this success and apply it to other areas of deforestation around the world.

 

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Healthcare Technology is Looks like Science Fiction http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/11/14/healthcare-technology-looks-like-science-fiction/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/11/14/healthcare-technology-looks-like-science-fiction/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:55:23 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3119 Futuristic Technology is Radically Transforming Healthcare Delivery Even the quickest glance at digital and print media will reveal the amazing leaps in technology development coming from the greatest minds in the world today. Perhaps one of the most radicalized sectors is medicine, where cutting-edge, almost science-fiction technology apps and gadgets […]

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Futuristic Technology is Radically Transforming Healthcare Delivery

Even the quickest glance at digital and print media will reveal the amazing leaps in technology development coming from the greatest minds in the world today. Perhaps one of the most radicalized sectors is medicine, where cutting-edge, almost science-fiction technology apps and gadgets are improving healthcare delivery and saving lives. This is good news for billions of people around the world. Here is a brief look at two of the most exciting healthcare apps to emerge this year.

Brain Composer

Taking mental telepathy to an entirely new level, Brain Composer is a breakthrough app that allows the user to compose music with only his or her thoughts. Researchers at Graz University of Technology used a technology known as brain-computer interfaces, to develop an app that can read the user’s brainwaves. In this way, the user can control external devices just by thinking about it. This is an incredible technology for the millions of paralyzed individuals. It opens doors to levels of creativity and production never before imagined.

Tissue Nanotransfection

Ohio State University researchers have developed a nanotech chip that can be inserted under the skin of an injured limb. For example, following an automobile accident, in which the leg is severely injured, the nanotech chip would be inserted and the patient’s skin cells would begin converting into healthy cells that heal the wound. This is very good news for the countless number of injuries seen in emergency rooms across the country every year.

The technology consists of the chip itself which delivers specific biological messages to the skin cells. Then there are the instructions. Known as “cargo” these instructions tell the cells exactly what transformation they need to make to bring about healing. The instructions are delivered via a small electrical charge that is unfelt by the patient.

The technology has seen success in mouse trials. Human trials are expected to begin next year.

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Angela Luna Brings Good News to Refugees with Life-Saving Jackets http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/10/23/angela-luna-brings-good-news-refugees-life-saving-jackets/ http://finallygoodnews.net/2017/10/23/angela-luna-brings-good-news-refugees-life-saving-jackets/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:15:23 +0000 http://finallygoodnews.net/?p=3111 Designing Clothes that Save Lives Angela Luna is 23 years old. She was recently named to the Forbes “30 Under 30 Art & Design” list. Angela Luna is a clothing designer. But, Angela is about much more than just fashion. Overwhelmingly inspired by the plight of refugees around the world, […]

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Designing Clothes that Save Lives

Angela Luna is 23 years old. She was recently named to the Forbes “30 Under 30 Art & Design” list. Angela Luna is a clothing designer. But, Angela is about much more than just fashion. Overwhelmingly inspired by the plight of refugees around the world, particularly Syrian refugees, Angela took a radical departure from what she thought would be her lane. Her incredible work is very good news for the millions of displaced persons living in harsh conditions around the globe.

A Senior Year of Revelation and Action

Angela Luna

Angela Luna – Image: Linkedin

Angela began her new mission during her last year of study at Parsons School of Design. She was moved initially by what became a viral photo of a 3-year old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the shore. Heartbroken and stirred to action, Angela pulled together all available refugee statistics. As of late 2016 when she undertook her thesis project, there were 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons and 21.3 million refugees. She decided to use her 2016 senior thesis project to explore the concept of designing clothes that would also save lives.

With Seed Money From her Mother, A New Way to Help Refugees is born

Angela’s mother gave her $7,000 for her thesis project. With this money, Angela was able to design nine prototypes. Among her pilot designs was what she named the [In]visible jacket. The idea for this prototype came about following a trip Angela took before graduation. She spent several months visiting refugee camps in Turkey and Greece. While there, a tragic death of a mother and her child occurred. They were returning to the camp in the dark, following a very long walk to the grocery store. They were struck on the road because the driver did not see them. The [In]visible jacket is 100% waterproof. But more importantly, it has two sides. One side is reflective silver and the other side is camouflage. This way, whether the user needs to hide or be seen, this one jacket offers them the protection they need.

Angela Luna’s line of life-saving clothing includes a collection of jackets that transform into tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks. There is a jacket specially designed to carry children. All of the jackets are waterproof, Unisex, are adjustable to fit a variety of body types and can be worn no matter the environmental conditions.

Disrupting the Fashion Industry Narrative

Angela’s designs were motivated by a desire to develop practical solutions to the problems she saw, such as lack of shelter, warmth, ability to move quickly, transport small children, hide, or to be seen.

However, even more than this, Angela intends to completely disrupt the fashion narrative that the industry is only about creating items for consumerism. She doesn’t want designers to be perceived as being out of touch with the problems in the world. Angela wants to use the fashion industry to drive awareness and build aid for the world’s enormous displaced persons population. She founded Adiff Clothing to actualize this vision.

Angela’s tenacity and forward-thinking approach is good news for the refugees receiving her life-saving jackets. Her work continues.

 

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