2016's top social innovators

Aeon Power Bag

Nuclear physics grad Shalton Mothwa got fed up with power running out on his mobile devices – and realised that this was more than an annoyance for students who didn’t have access to electricity. His solution? The AEON power bag, currently at prototype stage, is designed to supply wireless energy for mobile devices remotely from ambient signals.

Related project
AEON POWER BAG
AEON POWER BAG

The project supplies wireless energy for mobile devices remotely from ambient signals through the AEON Power Bag.

Cidade Azul

Brazil’s big cities, particularly Sao Paulo, face huge water crises – despite having an abundance of water in the form of rivers running underneath the city. Cidade Azul, or ‘Blue City’, aims to reconnect people to their water and to how it’s being used by creating audioguides and what they call ‘urban interventions’.

Related project
Blue City
Blue City

We aim to save the healthy relationship with water in urban environments discovering lost urban rivers.

Green Glasses

Climate change is real and yet people still find it difficult to switch over to a more sustainable way of life. Prague-based Green Glasses decided to try and make that easier by creating a directory and blog that signposts all the local green alternatives. Green Glasses are currently crowdfunding, too.

Related project
Greenglasses
Greenglasses

A platform & movement for sustainable living

EcoBrick Exchange

Poor South African areas often suffer from an excess of rubbish as refuse isn’t cleared away by the state. They also tend to have a deficit of quality educational centres, with children often travelling long distances to get to school.

The architect behind EcoBrick Exchange has brought together these problems to create a solution that turns litre-sized drink bottles stuffed with discarded plastic bags into insulated building blocks.

They’re currrently building their first school in Port Elizabeth, and plan to roll the idea out nationwide.

Related project
EcoBrick Exchange
EcoBrick Exchange

An environmental awareness enterprise that facilitates the construction of preschools.

Mapping Frictions

Social tensions can be calmed by good storytelling – at least that’s the idea behind Mapping Frictions. It’s a website packed with video, podcasts and articles offering a different perspective on the often-demonised Western Suburbs of the city. You’ll find fascinating stories about migrant lives, told with real empathy and a first-hand understanding of the issues.

Related project
Mapping Frictions: Stories from Western Sydney
Mapping Frictions: Stories from Western Sydney

A website that celebrates local voices and provides the opportunity to re-invent storytelling about Western Sydney.

Selokong Sa Dimelana

A looming lack of crude oil, high unemployment and a lack of alternative fuels were the problems that occupied South African Thabang Mabapa. His solution? To plant and harvest fields of castor bushes and to extract the oil from them directly. He negotiated a thousand hectares of land from the tribal chief of Muila, Limpopo and now has over sixty volunteers turning the idea into a powerful reality.

Related project
Selokong Sa Dimelana
Selokong Sa Dimelana

We are focused on the farming and processing of castor oil and castor cake for biodiesel purposes .

The Freebird Club

Loneliness is a real problem for older people in many Western countries, as is financial pressure as pensions thin out. Irishman Peter Mangan realised that the Air B&B model could be adapted to help solve both of these problems by creating a safe and simple way for older people to offer their spare homes and local expertise to other older people who’d come and holiday with them. The project, which was established this year, has already won a number of awards including the EU’s Social Innovation Prize 2015.

Related project
The Freebird Club
The Freebird Club

A peer-to-peer social travel & homestay club for older adults - connecting senior explorers through meaningful travel

Dine with Khayelitsha

This South African dining experience comprises a conversational dinner that gathers people from all corners of the earth for what they describe as ‘purposefully awesome experiences in the township’.

Eight different households host up to eleven paying guests, each with their own unique themes and conversations, designed in menu form. Starters are introduction, main courses are the main conversational theme and dessert covers the outcome and implementation from the conversations. Afterwards, all guests head off to a lounge were they’re entertained by local artists. The project brings together student chefs from Khayelitsha, local artists and apprentice photographers who document the event. All of which helps build bridges between communities, and creates income for a not-for-profit educational organisation called Have Fun which helps local kids become leaders.

@ Dine With Khayelitsha
Related project
Dine with Khayelitsha
Dine with Khayelitsha

Dine with Khayelitsha is a conversational dinner served with a treat of true African cuisine through themed dinners.

Last Minute Sotto Casa

Italy is famous for its cuisine – but even in this most kitchen-oriented country tonnes of food is wasted every day. This ‘digital loudhailer’ tells users about great food that’s being sold cheaply by local delicatessens and specialist shops towards the end of the day. It’s win-win: local shops struggling against supermarkets have a chance to build up their customer base; local people get great food; and as they say “the planet wins too”.

Related project
LastMinuteSottoCasa - Perché il cibo... non si butta!
LastMinuteSottoCasa - Perché il cibo... non si butta!

LMSC is an innovative digital loudhailer that fights wasted food and improves socialization in city's districts.

The Recess Movement

Youtuber Cleopatra Simelane knows only too well that problems of physical fitness and mental health go hand in hand. So she decided to turn South Africa’s health and wellness problems into The Recess Movement, a programme for schools that inspires and motivates young people to get fit in every sense of the world. Richard Branson rates what she’s doing: “Cleopatra is an unbelievable dynamo,” he wrote in his most recent book ‘Screw Business As Usual’.

Related project
TRYM - The Recess Youth Movement
TRYM - The Recess Youth Movement

From simple exercise to meditation, everything we do inspires youth to turn up & get fit - in mind & body.

Biscate

Mozambique still relies on a huge informal economy, with 95% of the labour force working in this sector. Many workers still rely-on age-old techniques like congregating around hand-painted signs or waiting at certain road junctions. Biscate aims to change this by creating SMS technology that allows workers without smartphones to upload their details by text onto a website – and for website users to contact them in return.

@ Filipe Branquinho
Related project
biscate.co.mz
biscate.co.mz

connecting informal skilled workers to consumers

18 Gangster Museum

Gangs are a big problem for South African society – and it’s a problem Wandisile Nqeketho wants to solve with a mobile museum. His 18 Gangster Museum will operate on two levels, aiming to inform and educate people about the problem but will also help ex-prisoners by offering work and reintegration back into society.

Related project
18 Gangster Museum
18 Gangster Museum

A creative and innovative alternative in curbing gangsterism


1 Comment

looks like a great year ahead…