More than 5.8 million people – including farmers, traders, students, teachers, doctors, patients, and people of determination – have benefitted from the work of 140 social entrepreneurs supported under Expo 2020 Dubai’s global innovation and partnership program Expo Live, WAM reports.
The Expo Live grantees – named ‘Global Innovators’ – have committed themselves to making their communities and planet earth a better place. They were chosen from a pool of 11,000-plus applications from 184 countries, highlighting the program’s global engagement.
Projects within the program have since helped more than one million individuals worldwide receive medical assistance and counseling, playing a crucial role in communities during the pandemic. Agricultural innovations have improved the livelihoods of 760,000 farmers worldwide, with 611,000 individuals also given a chance to advance their education and upskill thanks to new ways of sharing content online and offline.
Sustainability focused efforts have had significant positive environmental impacts: more than 190,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been averted from entering the atmosphere; and due to agricultural innovations and cost-efficient ways of planting trees in degraded areas, 3.6 million hectares of land – an area roughly the size of Belgium – has been restored.
Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “I am extremely proud of our Expo Live Program and its growth, not only in numbers but also in character. Expo Live reminds us of the impact of individual dedication and commitment towards the right causes of our time, an attribute that is so commonly found in the example of our Global Innovators.”
Yousuf Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “Our Global Innovators remind us that creating a radically better future requires collective action, determination, and relentless optimism. We are proud of what we have achieved as a program, firmly believing that social entrepreneurship is a powerful instrument for positive change. This valuable investment yields a social, economic, and environmental return.
“For many, the Expo Live grant was their first major investment, which started the ball rolling to attract more financial support farther down the line. The Expo Live team is delighted that our Global Innovators were successful in raising on-average six times more in additional funding, enhancing their work, creating more positive impacts, and helping to create 3,000 jobs within their own enterprises – as well as 160,000-plus jobs in the communities they serve.”
Since 2016, and following a thorough, comprehensive evaluation process over five selection cycles, the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme shortlisted and awarded grants of between US$100,000 and US$500,000 to organizations from 76 countries.
These include Almighty Services Plus, which has increased access to clean and sustainable fuel made from locally sourced biomass for marginalized communities in Benin since 2013, and JaanPak, which provides clean, fuel-saving cooking solutions in low-income communities in Pakistan, reducing respiratory illnesses and significantly slowing the rate of deforestation.
Lebanon-based Compost Baladi converts biowaste into bioresources using a patented technology – a container compost device – that is locally manufactured by refurbishing used shipping containers. The team collects and transforms food waste animal manure into compost and fertilizer. The process diverts waste from landfills, protects groundwater from contamination, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and improves soil health and soil biology for local farmers, while also reducing reliance on imported fertilizers, creating jobs, and contributing to food security.
Compost Baladi’s Founder and CEO, Marc Aoun, described the grant from Expo Live as “a turning point” that enabled the company to grow from working with households and small-scale establishments to municipalities and large commercial establishments.
“The financial support provided by Expo 2020 Dubai’s Expo Live played a major role in the growth that we have reached and the success we have achieved so far. It helped us validate our expansion business model and develop our large-scale solutions, allowing us to increase the number of communities receiving our support.
“Every innovator needs to gain a certain credibility before they can access a certain scale or even scale effectively, and that comes through either private investment or somebody that really believes in what you’re doing – and Expo believed in us,” he said.
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