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GeoTechVision: Locating a Sustainable Future

August 21, 2020

Valrie Grant

“Be authentic. Be yourself. Make sure your superpower is your persistence because you are going to need it,”

Valrie Grant — Founder and MD, GeoTechVision, Jamaica

2020 WE Empower Awardee, Latin America/Caribbean

As the first black woman-owned spatial solutions business in the Caribbean, Grant understands the intersectional challenges that women face entering a male-dominated industry. Despite these hurdles, Grant has fostered a geospatial business that impacts systemic inequities in education and access to digital technology. WE Empower intern, Revere Wood, interviewed Valrie Grant and expands on her company’s support of the UN SDGs.

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Cloud to Street: Leveraging satellite technology and big data to to build flood resilience

August 12, 2020

Bessie SchwarzFlooding impacts more people than any other natural disaster. Bessie Schwarz, a grassroots environmental and community organizer by training and at heart, is the CEO and Co-founder of Cloud to Street, the leading flood mapping platform designed specifically for governments, humanitarian organisations and insurers in low data environments to effectively respond and prepare for disaster. By harnessing global satellites, advanced science, and community intelligence, the company can monitor worldwide floods in near real-time and remotely analyze local flood exposure at a click of a button. Founded by two women at Yale and seeded by Google, Cloud to Street has been used by governments and companies in almost 20 countries

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Island and indigenous youth voices: Building back better and fairer

July 24, 2020

Event FlyerThe unprecedented global health crisis we are facing is affecting all parts of society and changing lives and livelihoods. In times of need, from climate change and natural disasters to the current COVID-19 pandemic, youth have been quick to take action and respond to the needs of their communities. That is why the Local2030 Island Network, WE Empower partner Hawaii Green Growth and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU convened a panel of island and indigenous youth to have a solution-oriented conversation on responding to COVID-19 and building back better, harnessing their creativity and innovation.

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Announcing the 2020 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge Awardees

July 22, 2020

WE Empower Challenge LogoThe Global Business Challenge honors women who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge – a global business challenge led in partnership by Vital Voices Global Partnership and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU – today announced the six social entrepreneurs selected as their 2020 Awardees.

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A feminist approach to healing in Afghanistan

June 25, 2020

Fakhria Ibrahimi Momtaz2019 WE Empower finalist Fakhria Ibrahimi Momtaz is the creator of the first yoga studio in Afghanistan to focus on the needs of women. Momtaz Yoga Studio provides services, including yoga therapy, meditation, and other wellness services, to improve the health and lifestyle of these women. The studio offers specialized classes unique to women’s needs, such as pregnancy, back and joint pain, anxiety, and depression.

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Bringing fun back to learning English

June 16, 2020

Elisamaria Torres is a 2019 WE Empower finalist and the founder of Froggin English for Kids, the first Mexican franchise focused on teaching English as a Second Language to children ages three to 12. The mission of Froggin is to help its students excel in opportunities where English is a necessary tool. It provides innovative learning programs for students to have meaningful engagement with a new language.

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Creating clean environments for a better Zimbabwe

June 8, 2020

Surdax Investments goes beyond sanitizing offices — it is creating a new environment for economic growth in Zimbabwe. Intending to eradicate poverty, Surdax offers positions for women and youth to support their families and stimulate the local economy through outsourcing labor. Currently, this organization supports the environment by safely disposing of its sanitary waste. It intends to continue growing so that it can include the safe disposal of other waste produced in Zimbabwe.

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Fostering impact by developing Digital Leaders

June 2, 2020

Karla Ruiz CofinoKarla Ruiz Cofiño is the founder of Digital Awareness, and the 2019 WE Empower Awardee Latin America and the Caribbean. The organization aims to equip people with the knowledge and digital skills they need to become active contributors to online communities. It teaches individuals how to become positive Digital Citizens and Digital Leaders that harness the power of social media and Digital Strategies to make a better world. Its mission is to recruit, inspire, and empower people to become more digitally aware, creating a future of interconnected leaders who keenly utilize the internet as a tool for success.

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Tech solutions to food poverty and climate change

May 29, 2020

Leah Lizorando2019 WE Empower Awardee, Leah Lizarondo, is the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, a technology-driven food recovery platform that bridges the disconnect between the food wasted in the United States with its food-insecure citizens. Roughly one in seven Americans is food poor and some 40% of food produced is never eaten, but ends up as waste in landfills, creating Greenhouse Gas. Through utilizing technology and establishing the mobile app Food Rescue Hero, 412 Food Rescue transports food surplus to a network of nonprofits that connects the glut with people, not landfills. The organization supports people in need by providing access to other social services that can aid their users. Its program, Single Stop, is an online screening tool that condenses convoluted social service eligibility rules into a simple, confidential process to help people receive the aid they need.

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Empowering Women to Become Their Own Superhero

May 19, 2020

Lina KhalifehMy name is Lina, and when I was a kid, I used to believe that I am a superhero, [this is] because I am meant to be one,” Lina Khalifeh declared at the 2019 WE Empower pitch night hosted by billionaire fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg in her New York studio apartment. WE Empower intern, Revere Wood elaborates on how Lina Khalifeh and SheFighter are continuing to support the SDGs while navigating through the challenges of COVID-19.

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Curating online education in Ukraine

May 11, 2020

Marina MelnikMarina Melnik, a 2019 WE Empower finalist, is the founder of SkillsUp. Her company provides training, development, and consulting in the information technology field. SkillsUp is making strides to care for the environment by moving their materials online, eliminating paper and plastic waste in coffee zones, and supporting recycling.

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Cooking up sustainability in Puerto Rico

May 5, 2020

Antonetti Headshot2019 WE Empower finalist, Paulina Salach Antonetti, is the co-founder of SPOON Food Tours, a sustainable culinary experience in Puerto Rico. The organization is committed to working with small, mom-and-pop businesses in the food/agricultural industry to foster a locally grown food experience. SPOON makes strides towards being sustainable by eliminating plastic cups and straws as well as locally sourcing eco-friendly ingredients.

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One of Microsoft’s 100 most innovative schools globally

April 28, 2020

Zoya with MagazineZoya Lytvyn, one of the 2019 WE Empower Awardees, is the founder of Novopecherska, a K-12 school that brings quality education to Ukraine’s children. Lytvyn’s mission is to create future change makers by helping its young students develop the necessary skills to succeed. The Novopecherska School provides a world-class education to its students and designs teaching courses that provide quality education in Ukraine’s school system. Overall, Lytvyn’s company is recognized by Microsoft as one of the 100 most innovative schools globally and has helped to change the lives of more than 4 million students in Ukraine.

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2018 WE Empower Challenge Impact: Hadeel Mustafa Anabtawi

April 23, 2020

Hadeel Mustafa AnabtawiAs the 2020 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge application deadline — April 26th — approaches, we are excited to share the impact the Challenge has had on the five 2018 Awardees.

Hadeel Mustafa Anabtawi, a social entrepreneur with a passion for empowering girls, founded The Alchemist Lab, whose educational center has offered more than 25,000 children in cities, remote villages and refugee camps the skills they need to explore themselves and the world around them with confidence and determination.

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Building bridges: communication, compassion and cooperation in a time of COVID-19

International Leadership Association | April 14, 2020

Jacinda Ardern waving New Zealand flag.We are living in an unprecedented time. While none of us have experienced the specific details of the challenges before us, we are not without resources to help see us through. The International Leadership Association has invited well-known and respected thought leaders from around the world to share their leadership knowledge, wisdom, and viewpoint to inform and inspire us as we continue our collective work.

Amanda Ellis, WE Empower Co-Chair and Executive Director of Global Partnerships for ASU's Global Futures Laboratory, reflected on the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, during the crisis and why we need more women leaders. Read Ellis's article for the ILA.

SheFighter: An inspiring book by Lina Khalifeh

March 16, 2020

WE Empower Team with Lina Khalifeh2019 WE Empower awardee Lina Khalifeh has written an inspiring book, SheFighter: From Trouble Maker to Global Change Maker. SheFighter chronicles Lina’s life journey from a little girl in Jordan, often beaten up by the boys she wanted to play soccer with, to a Gold medalist and black belt in Taekwondo martial arts who founded a business franchise to help other women defend themselves from violence.

SheFighter was the first self defense studio in Jordan and the Middle East and is now an international franchise that has trained more than 18,000 women globally. Khalifeh describes the program as “designed to empower women physically, mentally and emotionally through self defense training."

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Amanda Ellis moderates World Economic Forum panel in Davos

January 31, 2020

2020 is a watershed year for women. It marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the 20th anniversary for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the 10th anniversary of UN Women and the Women’s Empowerment Principles. However, despite all efforts to date, no country in the world has completely achieved gender equality. Latest data from the World Economic Forum estimates it will take another 257 years to reach economic equality.

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Providing fair work for the disadvantaged

January 15, 2020

A woman sits in a chair while holding her hands. There are purses on a wall in the background.Sasibai Kimis is a 2019 finalist in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge and a pioneer of social enterprise. WE Empower Intern Jacqueline Blisse elaborates on how Sasibai is providing her artisans with the support they need to alter their lives for the better.

Sasibai Kimis is the founder of Earth Heir, a conscious lifestyle brand based out of Malaysia. Earth Heir provides income to artisans including refugee women groups, indigenous tribes, prison communities and differently abled persons in Malaysia.

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