I’ve just returned from keynoting the first Social Good Brazil conference that took place in Florianapolis, sometimes referred to the “Silicon Valley” of Brasil and where the nonprofit, social good, innovation, and technology community is leading the social change movement. Magic happens when social entrepreneurs, nonprofits leaders, technologists, and young people are brought together for a high energy, creative, and interactive event that exposes everyone to new ideas and stories.
I was so happy to hear the story of how the event got started and the beginning of the network from Fernanda Bornhausen Sa. The presentation is in the form of a network map – so you can tell that they already approach their social change work with a network lens.
The three-day conference was amazing (you can view the schedule here). I delivered the ending keynote on the second day and my colleague from the UN Foundation, Aaron Shernian started the second day of the conference, a day packed with ideas, content, and inspiration from the best of Brasil. Other international keynotes included colleagues Simon Mainwaring and Peter Sims (more about their ideas coming later this week in blogs posts, so stay tuned.) I must confess that I heard so many amazing stories and new ideas that I had inspiration overload! That’s a good thing because it becomes the seeds of many new ideas, connections, and future blog posts.
I had a lot of fun with my keynote. It was the first speaking engagement that I was able to scale delivery of my interactive keynote to 1,000 people in fixed seating and in two languages using a translator. (There’s a blog about that brewing for the Chronicle’s Good Advice blog, so stay tuned) As this was my 7th International training/speaking engagement this year alone, I was able to draw from everything I’ve learned over the years in terms of presenting on the international stage. It was the last keynote of the day and it was a long day, so I improvised a movement exercise that involved some Samba movements to keep them engaged (see my post over at the Chronicle). Now, I can’t wait for my international projects in 2013!
Teens As Free Agents
One of things immediately struck me – the crowd was filled with younger people – teens, college students, and millennials who want to use the technology and do social change on their own terms. I loved hearing Isadora Faber, a pre-teen girl who lives in Florianópolis and creator of page Daily Class on Facebook. Isadora, who is only 13 years, created a Facebook group to help other teens in her country who want to make a difference in their communities and to report problems in their schools. While her parents were concerned about her safety, she kept going. “If your cause is true and right you have to persevere. ”
The UN Foundation’s Aaron Sherinian was next up for the opening keynote where he gave an overview of different global projects that through the power of social media and networks offer scale to social change issues. One of the words he used caught my attention: Philanthroteens. These are teens with a passion for social change and who grew up not knowing what it was like to not to have a cell phone or be connected to Facebook. The media has dubbed this generation – “Qwerty Monsters” who send hundreds of text messages a day and don’t even like to use their phone for calls (and with two pre-teens in my house, I can attest this is true). But it is more than the technology, it is also their passion to do good in the world.
He shared the story of the first-ever Girl Up Leadership Summit which brought together young girls who are helping change the face of global philanthropy. They were joined by celebrities like actress and Girl Up Champion Monique Coleman, global leader Ambassador Melanne Verveer, and more than 100 young women from across the country. These philanthroteens lead workshops on advocacy, communications and learned about their peers in developing countries. Their meeting featured a special conversation via Skype with girls in South Africa as part of the Girl Up Campaign’s emphasis on uniting girls around the world.
Panelists Cassandra Butts (Millennium Challenge Corp), Betty Hudson (National Geographic Society), and Angela Mwanza (UBS Private Wealth Management), taught them about ways to have an impact in their communities and world. Together they discussed their personal challenges and accomplishments as leaders in their fields. Speakers Sarah Hurwitz (Senior Assistant to President Obama) and Monique Coleman of High School Musical also shared inspiring lessons. You can see it in the video above, well worth watching.
The Power of Networks and Flip Flops
Brasil is famous for its flip flops, a brand called Havaianas. I visited the central market where there are many flip flop vendors. I wanted to bring back some as gifts for my teen girls in my family. But I didn’t know their color preference. So, I texted them. Within two minutes I got an answer. The flip flop vendor was amazed that I could text two girls around the world and involve them in the purchasing decision. But think about the power of connecting teenage girls in different countries and unleashing their “philanthroteen” energy to support women’s rights or other social causes. Now that’s a powerful idea.
What programs do you know that help connect young girls to global women’s rights issues using technology and social media? Is your nonprofit working with “philanthroteens?”