Commitment for a future worth living

Two women work on climate protection concepts on the computer
© Getty Images/golero

Five experts, five questions: question 5

How are you personally involved in creating a more worthwhile future? What are you seeking to achieve through your commitment?

Raju Gurung

We live in an unequal world where far too many women and artisans in the developing world have unequal access to opportunities. On the other hand, the rise in mass consumption has put enormous strain on our planet and on people. We believe the world would be a better place if we created inclusive and equal societies through responsible and impactful choices, and through fewer but better choices. With this in mind, we founded back in 2019 to bring purpose back to the centre with our ikigaai philosophy.

Secondly, I also run the 10x Innovation Lab consulting practice, which helps universities, food-tech and biotech companies and start-ups, venture builders and start-up ecosystems to drive impactful commercial innovation and to help them enter and succeed in markets. Prior to that, I worked with companies like Chr. Hansen and Oterra, helping global food, beverage, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries to adopt natural ingredients in their products to improve food and health.

Tamara Ferreira Schmidt

I try to involve myself in initiatives that support a more worthwhile future and are related to social innovations. I'm a mentor in entrepreneurship and startup areas at the , which was developed to support women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industry at all levels. I also believe in the power of education and sharing knowledge, so I dedicate some of my time to creating free and accessible content on innovation, startups, investments, digital currencies, blockchain and alternative financing on my .

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Evans Quartey Hammond

I am especially motivated to pursue my goal of preserving the environment through the lens of the SDGs, especially SDG 7 (seven), which focuses on providing clean and affordable energy for all. I therefore choose to manufacture and sell bio-briquettes made from agricultural waste, primarily cocoa pods, that emit little to no smoke and have a high calorific value (high burning output) and a high bulk density (long lasting when in use) when compared to conventional charcoal. This initiative should help to reduce Ghanaians' reliance on smoke-producing firewood, as well as deforestation of some existing vegetation and the use of liquefied petroleum gas for cooking. The bigger picture is that GHG emissions will be minimised due to a reduction in the utilisation of LPG for cooking and in deforestation. This also foreshadows a shift toward more sustainable fuels that Ghana will be compelled to use in the future. I am also an activist for the promotion of green hydrogen project development, energy efficiency, and solar deployment in Ghana's energy mix.

Magdalena Parcheva

I believe that civic engagement is very important, each of us can contribute to a better future and together we shape the society in which we live. I am a member of a civic organization and with my supporters we defend positions and propose measures based on democratic values, solidarity, everyone's right of access to education and health care, and social justice. We have implemented initiatives with a social focus: donations, support and opportunities for children from vulnerable groups; support for the elderly and looking for ways to bring them joy during the holidays. As a lecturer, I have led seminars on basic steps in the profession and social skills for children from minority groups in the Varna region- Bulgaria, some of whom live in remote areas of the city center and need social integration. As a researcher, the focus of my research interest at the moment is work-related social innovation, the impact of digital technologies and artificial intelligence systems on change and social challenges in the workplace, the new meaning of work in the digital age. I want future initiatives of an applied nature in this area and I am open to cooperation for their implementation.

Ingo Steffgen

As mentioned earlier, I believe that social innovation starts on a one-to-one basis: if each of us helped just a single person, our world would certainly be a fairer and more peaceful place. If we are then all willing to step out of our comfort zone and be open for new things, then I think we are right on track. In addition to this attitude, I support young businesspeople on their path towards social entrepreneurship, and I often do so free of charge. I also consult charitable organisations regarding conversion of their business models to become social enterprises. Finally, I believe that a healthy body nurtures a healthy mind and thus promotes social innovation, too. As a personal trainer and nutritionist I do not only help my clients, but also my new friends that I meet on my travels around the world.

Get to know other committed Germany alumni

In our expert interview, five Germany alumni report on where they see inequality and need for more social justice and how they are working with their projects and initiatives to promote more equality. They also give specific tips for those who also want to campaign for equal opportunities.

From cultivation to roasting and packaging: the multiple award-winning Rwandan speciality coffee Angelique’s Finest is produced exclusively by women. The co-founder of the Fairtrade project is Allan Mubiru, alumnus of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s International Climate Protection Fellowship. In order to launch the product in 2018, the economist and climate finance expert launched a successful crowdfunding campaign.

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