Young Ethiopian Tech Genius Teaches Others

Betelhem Dessie, is a young tech tutor in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dessie has been a tech tutor for three years. Using iCog, Dessie has partnered with two projects. One is iCog Anyone Can Code, teaches children between ages eight to eighteen the basics of coding and robotics. The second is Solve It, a democratized technology on solving community problems by the local people. The aim of the projects is to educate and build human capital in Ethiopia and Africa. Importantly, to address technology biased where less women and people of color are represented in technology.

Young people, male and female in Ethiopia are learning to use technology to address community challenges.

Betelhem Dessie Photo retrieved from

This social start up uses technology tutoring to address technology inequities, or technological bias against women and people of color.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Front Lawns Feed Neighborhoods

Crop Swap La is an organization based in Los Angeles replacing traditional front lawns with vegetable gardens to feed entire neighborhoods. According to Jamia Hargins, founder of Crop Swap, his company partners with homeowners who have front yards and are interested in turning them into something positive. Crop Swaps establishes micro-farms where neighborhoods pay a monthly subscription to ultra-local food. In addition, homeowners get the share of the produce and a part of the profit. With a monthly subscription of $36, residents get a three-pound mix of fresh organic greens.

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Homeowners use their front yards for something more meaningful. Neighborhoods have access to organic greens and vegetables at an affordable price and get some profit from the sale of the vegetables. There is less water wastage because the vegetable growing uses only 8% of the water needed to maintain traditional lawns.

This enterprise uses less water to produce more positive results that impact health, the economy, and the environment.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Happy Community Project Enables Community Champions to Build Happier Communities

Community Champions under our guidance initiate projects that engage over 50% of the community to be more socially connected, belonging and caring. Community Champions clarify outcomes, engage a core group of citizens who intern attract volunteers to initiate new ongoing projects. Projects are designed to be ongoing and facilitate connections and engagement between citizens and develop a culture of looking out for each other. We have supported Community Champions in 4 countries on 3 continents.

We have attracted up to 700 volunteers in communities of 10 000 people or less. The community story shifts to reflect a new cultural norm. The community attracts new business visitors and professionals as word spreads about what is happening in the community. The community takes on a new vibrancy and pride in itself. And there is a greater awareness for the wellbeing of their fellow citizens.

When you build the community from the inside out founded on core values of connectedness and belonging, more space is made organically to include marginalized people.

Please find more information here.

Story shared by Barry Braun, Canada

The Energy Garden Empowers Commuters to Combat Climate Change

The Energy Garden is based in London and tackles climate change that educates and unites London communities through gardening. This project began using spaces next to the railway station platforms to increase urban planting and offset emissions from the transport sector. This has expanded to include 30 solar-powered gardens. In addition, the Energy Garden initiative has expanded to include school workshops and youth training programs to teach youth sustainable practices.

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The Energy Garden sites now host bat huts, swift nests, hedgehog houses, honeybee, and bumblebee shelters essential in London because its bee population is under threat. The Energy Garden also grows hops for making its own craft beer. Above all, there is community enthusiasm for the Energy Garden initiative.

This is a creative, community-based initiative that produced multiple benefits- community connections, biodiversity, education on sustainable practices, with the ultimate goal of combating climate change.

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Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Liberating Lawns: Addressing systemic oppression in the food system

Cheyenne Sundance is a 23-year-old advocate for urban farming. Sundance began Growing in the Margins so that people like her affected by the systemic oppression in the food system can grow their own food. In 2019, Sundance began a 12-week free mentorship program that trains low-income urban youth in the art of urban agriculture. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sundance launched the Liberating Lawns to address food insecurity within Toronto. Liberating Lawns matches individuals who want to grow food but lack space with people with gardens to spare.

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Many people enrolled in the mentorship program so that the initial plot behind the church was no longer enough. As a result, Sundance’s initiative took over a greenhouse within the city, a year-round urban farm. It is hoped that farming education given to the youth will be a seed of revolution that will address that oppression within the food system.

This initiative addressed the inequities in the food system by mentoring urban youth in urban agriculture and also by linking those interested in urban farming but without space, with those with space to spare.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Rainwater Harvesting in São Paulo, Brazil

Residents of San Paulo, Brazil, experience a chronic water crisis. Because of this, residents of Brasilandia, who have no storage tanks, decided to build their own storage systems. Unfortunately, what was build did not filter the water and did not close tightly causing residents to be seriously ill by using the harvested water. Luckily, Isabela de Menezes of Transition Granja Viana proposed a safer solution. She organized worships that taught residents to make water systems that filtered and stored water directly from the roof. The first two workshops in 2014 were conducted by professor Urbano in Granja Viana and Brasilandia.

Residents learned to build water systems that filtered and stored water. Residents had enough water for household use and watering vegetables.

This is an example of a sustainable solution to a community problem. The solution, given as a skill, made it possible for replication- one neighbor teaching another neighbor.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA.

More info here

Earning his wings: 16-year-old pilot delivers donated medical supplies to Bath County hospital

T.J. Kim, a 16-year-old pilot delivered medical supplies to a rural county hospital. Kim dropped off a bundle of masks, respirators, and other medical supplies to Bath county community hospital. Kim has also made deliveries to other rural hospitals in Virginia. Kim says rural hospitals are often disadvantaged because people tend to donate to bigger hospitals.

Rural hospitals in Virginia received medical supplies during the covid-19 pandemic.

The action by Kim help reduce inequities in the medical supplies by focusing on rural hospitals which, he says are often disadvantaged.

Picture retrieved from inkl – Independent

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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PHLConnectED: Connecting K-12 students to the internet

Business and civic leaders in Philadelphia worked together to ensure that over 35,000 K-12 students can learn online through PHLConnectED. The aim of the project was to provide eligible K-12 households with high-speed internet, ensure K-12 public school students have the devices they need(laptop or tablet), and offer outreach digital navigation and digital skills training for those who needed them.

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K-12 students were able to learn remotely for the fall semester and beyond.

PHLConnectED addressed the lack of internet by providing families with wired, high-speed, reliable internet from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program or a high-speed mobile hotspot for families who are housing-insecure. Also, racial equity and poverty were addressed by provided internet for all needy households.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at

Food Security, Feeding Body, and Soul

Soil Born farms is located within 55 acres of a community farm in Rancho Cordova, CA. Soil Born believes that all communities should have access to high-quality locally produced food. To facilitate this access, Born Soils trains people to grow their own food even within the city. In 2018, 1,795 adults attended classes in Born Soils. An important vision for Born Soil is to train young people on the value of nutrition and how to grow food in the city. They offer summer camp experiences for pre-K through high school. They offer scholarships for those that cannot afford them.

Image by National Civic League

In 2018, there were 59 beginning farmers trained; 1,795 adults attended gardening, cooking, and herbal care classes; 2,557 students engaged in school gardens at 10 campuses; 4,200 students enjoyed hands-on experiences at American River Ranch; 386,060 pounds of fruit donated to families in need, and 130,000 plants of 118 varieties were seeded in their greenhouse.
During the summer camps, the youth reconnected with themselves, the land, and the community.
Also, because of volunteers, there is less wastage of fruit since they collect these from farmers and donate them to local food banks and other emergency food resources.

Many people are interested in locally grown and healthy foods as evidenced by the people seeking information and training. Healthy foods can be grown in the city so long as people are trained on how to do it. Inequalities were reduced by donating fruits to those that could otherwise not afford them and by providing scholarships to students who were interested, but could not afford the summer camp experiences.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or contact at

Liquor Store Turned into a Food Market

Young teenage entrepreneurs in the Austin neighborhood, Chicago, galvanized and turned a liquor store into a food market. With some help from their friends, these young entrepreneurs decided to convert their raw and powerful emotions into a social justice cause. They decided to create the Austin pop-up food market that would provide alternative healthy food options in a place that was otherwise a food desert. Their vision was actualized by the support of some professional athletes who provided the funding, and the By the Hand Club for Kids who brought in architects and branding experts for guidance.

Picture By the Hand Club for Kids

The outcomes included the availability of healthy foods within the Austin neighborhood, the transformation of a food desert into a healthy food zone, the restoration of a gutted building, and giving those in the community an opportunity to contribute, for example, the professional athletes.

Resources can be reusable, for example transforming a liquor store into a food market. The power and vision of the youth- the young entrepreneurs envisioned it and inspired/challenged the community to provide materials for actualizing it.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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