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Five initiatives minimising social exclusion by helping people speak out

Promoting the inclusion of marginalised people is also enabling them to independently express their needs. Although this may seem obvious, the individuals concerned are often not part of the conversation. Presented in the 7.7 Billion media operation, these 5 initiatives give individuals the possibility to express themselves and be heard in society.

An app as a map of accessible places

After suffering from a stroke, the former marketing director of Apple in Spain created a “Trip Advisor” for people with reduced mobility. Being dependent on a wheelchair after his accident, he was frustrated to not be able to know in advance which buildings, beaches, restaurants, etc. would be accessible for him or not. His app, Mapcesible, now lists more than 20,000 places. It enables people with limited mobility, in a wheelchair or with a stroller, to plan their travel in advance. The founder Willy Ruiz highlights the importance of knowing what to expect in the street and avoiding surprises, a given for most of us. To learn more about this project, read the article on Yicai GlobalThe Straits Times, and The Daily Monitor (in English), El Tiempo and La Nacion (in Spanish), La Regione (in Italian) or L’Economiste and Le Soir (in French).

The former Marketing Director of Apple in Spain, Willy Ruiz, creator of an app of accessible cities, in Madrid. © Santi Burgos

A multicultural radio to bring us together around our differences

Radio Chiara is a Swiss radio station broadcasting various multilingual content. Launched by the Baobab cooperative, the project facilitates the integration of foreign individuals in Switzerland. The programmes include conversations between locals and migrants, music from different cultures as well as stories coming from all parts of the world. The station’s creators have the goal of bringing people together around their differences and making it a strength rather than a source of conflict. Their next programme will give explanations on how to use local services as well as cultural integration tips for newcomers. To learn more about this project, read the article in The Daily Monitor and The Straits Times (in English), or in Le Soir and L’Economiste (in French).

The hosts of Radio Chiara are migrants who go on air to share their culture, music, personal stories and experience. © Pablo Gianinazzi, Ti-Press

Giving the people their political voice

Cohear is a group that reintroduces dialogue in political topics. These exchanges of ideas and point of views gather people that are not often heard. The conversations range from local urban planning to bullying in school. During these discussions, people in a position of power are confronted to new point of views. Indeed, they can learn a lot from these “everyday experts”. The objective is to empower local people and help policymakers make better decisions. This project is part of a larger trend of citizen involvement in politics and the promotion of concrete and effective initiatives. You can read the full article about this project in Yicai GlobalThe Straits Times and CS Monitor (in English), or La Regione (in Italian).

The Cincinnati Water Works Director, Cathy Bailey, engaging a group of residents about replacing lead service lines in their homes. © Cohear

Creating a dialogue between European citizens.

Many topics such as Brexit, climate change or immigration often create divisions among European citizens. To reduce tensions and encourage dialogue between opposite points of view, a group of journalists from 13 different countries created Europe Talks. 21,000 people registered to be paired up with a person from a different country and having an opposing political opinion. The duos were then encouraged to meet, in person or via video-conference. The aim: encouraging discussions on controversial topics. Led before the European Elections, this experiment did not necessarily change participants’ opinions. It did, however, reduce stereotypes between politically opposed individuals. Discover the full project in The Straits Times (in English), L’Economiste (in French) or La Regione (in Italian).

Hundreds of the participants of “Europe Talks” came to the BOZAR Centre of Fine Arts in Brussels. After the show, all the participants gathered on stage. © Lena Mucha, Zeit Online

A deadly illness countered by a local drug

Egypt has found a remedy against the hepatitis C epidemic that had already cost 40,000 citizens’ lives in 2016. The solution: a locally manufactured drug costing 1% of the price for the international equivalent. The drug used beforehand only had a 50% success rate with unpleasant side effects. To spread this treatment, the government launched a campaign offering free screening and treatment for more than 52 million citizens. In 2019 this project was extended to the 7 million refugees and foreign residents in Egypt. Social inclusion begins with health! You can read the full article in The Straits Times and the Daily Monitor (in English) or in Almasry Alyoum (in Arabic).

A refugee undergoing a Hepatitis C virus test at a medical centre in Cairo. © Ayman Aref, Almasry Alyoum

The articles presenting these projects were published as part of 7.7 Billion, an international and collaborative initiative gathering 15 news media outlets from around the world to focus on solutions for social, economic and civic inclusion. The operation is coordinated by Sparknews with the support of Impact Hub and the Schwab Foundation.

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