GHR Foundation & OpenIDEO announce BridgeBuilder Challenge Winners

Monday, July 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ideas, each receiving a share of $1 million in funding and organizational support, include:
Ethical gold mining as a pathway to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Peace Direct
Tree-planting drones for restoring mangroves and livelihoods in Myanmar -- BioCarbon Engineering
Creative skills for peace among youth violent offenders in Cameroon -- Local Youth Corner Cameroon
Lifting up and empowering families on Chicago's South Side -- LIFT Chicago
Connecting displaced persons with Arabic language learners around the world -- NaTakallam

An NGO partnership creating a pathway to peace for ex-combatants through ethical gold production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a multi-national collaboration employing drone technology to restore depleted mangroves in Myanmar are among 5 social innovators whose solutions have been chosen as 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge Top Ideas. The cohort of Top Ideas will amplify its impact with a share of US$1 million and collaboration with GHR Foundation.

The Challenge sought ideas addressing urgent global concerns at the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet in radically new ways. Participants from 185 countries responded with more than 650 ideas.
Stemming from its own Catholic roots, GHR, working with open-innovation platform OpenIDEO, launched the BridgeBuilder Challenge to answer the universal call of Pope Francis to “build bridges” and contribute to making the world a better place for all humankind.

“In his TED Talk earlier this year, Pope Francis encouraged people to apply innovation and collaboration to foster greater social equity and community in the world today,” said Amy R. Goldman, CEO and chair of GHR Foundation. “The cohort of Top Ideas represents literally hundreds of ideas fulfilling the Pope’s invitation to bridge complex, persistent issues in radically new ways. We look forward to partnering with each of these organizations to further develop their ideas and scale their impact.”

The 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge Top Ideas cohort includes:

Ethical gold mining as a pathway to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Peace Direct
Peace Direct provides a pathway to peace and environmental protection in fragile DRC while providing sustainable incomes to ex-combatants – now small-scale, subsistence miners. The miners and their families (approx. 3,400 people total) receive training in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and environmentally responsible gold production as they work toward a fair-tradecertified standard.

Tree-planting drones for restoring mangroves and livelihoods in Myanmar -- BioCarbon Engineering
Creating a strong bridge between prosperity and planet, Oxford-based BioCarbon Engineering employs drone technology to accelerate community-driven mangrove restoration to reforest depleted mangrove ecosystems in the fragile coastal regions of Myanmar, where more than 1 million hectares of forest have already been lost due to rising sea levels. In the process of planting 1 billion mangrove trees annually, fish stocks will increase, a protective barrier against natural disasters will be restored, and local economies will be bolstered, leading to a more stable balance between communities and their surrounding ecosystems.

Creative skills for peace among youth violent offenders in Cameroon -- Local Youth Corner Cameroon
To counter violent extremism in Cameroon, Local Youth Corner promotes participation in peacebuilding by empowering violent offenders with leadership, vocational and entrepreneurial skills. Its Creative Skills for Peace program supports the rehabilitation and reintegration of 300 young offenders across 8 facilities in 6 cities, and trains staff members at rehabilitation facilities on countering violent extremism and peacebuilding.

Lifting up and empowering families on Chicago's South Side -- LIFT Chicago
Bridging prosperity and peace in Chicago, LIFT Chicago uses a two-generation, in-community ambassador approach to increase access to early childhood education services and help parents and caregivers build social connections, strengthen personal well-being, and improve financial security to foster personal and community-level peace and prosperity.

Connecting displaced persons with Arabic language learners around the worldNaTakallam
NaTakallam bridges peace and prosperity and encourages a culture of encounter by connecting displaced individuals (primarily Syrians) with Arabic learners around the world for online language practice, giving the former access to an income while fostering intercultural understanding. By 2018, it hopes to provide 150 refugees with sustainable incomes through their work with 2,000 language learners.

“The response to our inaugural BridgeBuilder Challenge was amazing,” said Jason Rissman, managing director of OpenIDEO. “Throughout the Challenge, the global community offered insights and connections to contributors that added value to the ideas, even if they weren't chosen as Top Ideas. The collaborative and transparent nature of the OpenIDEO platform has far-reaching benefits, and BridgeBuilder inspired participants from nearly every country to address the critical social concerns of our day.”

OpenIDEO: OpenIDEO is IDEO’s open innovation practice, enabling people to collaborate and design solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, and working with partners around the world to bring these solutions to life. Both online and offline, OpenIDEO empowers innovators to use design thinking to generate social impact. www.OpenIDEO.com

GHR Foundation: GHR Foundation improves lives by working toward a just, peaceful and healthy future. Built on faith in entrepreneurial creativity, the foundation accelerates systemic change by nurturing promising new possibilities and partnerships in the areas of global development, education and health. For 50-plus years, GHR’s approach has been guided by the pioneering design-build legacy of Opus Group founders Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst as it collaborates with the world’s experts to design and build opportunities and favorable environments for change to take hold. www.GHRfoundation.org