As a proud Founding Global Partner of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, The Coca-Cola Company believes young people have an indispensable role in shaping a better, brighter and happier future. This special series highlights the semifinalists competing to win five $10,000 prizes as part of the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge for the Global Shapers Community. Here we highlight the work of the Geneva hub.

The past few months have been quite an exciting and adventurous journey for our Hub! Not only did we manage to launch Reading For Change in our local community in Paquis,Geneva, but we also developed this project in a way that it can be replicated elsewhere and tailored based on the needs of a specific local community, bringing real improvement to the lives of vulnerable people. For example, our project allowed a community-based association, Espace Solidaire Paquis, to restart their IT and language courses, which helped provide better service to vulnerable people in Geneva for free.

The impact we strive to achieve is to:

  1. Improve access to education. We consider education in its broadest form, one that embraces all platforms of valuable information sharing aimed at personal and professional growth of the individual (formal education and informal one, trainings etc.)
  2. Close the technological divide. This gap is not only generational, as commonly highlighted, but also socio-economical. Parts of modern society are hyper-connected, whereas others lack basic access which contributes to their social and economic marginalization. Dependency on others and accessibility to resources are key concerns where this gap exists. Our project specifically addresses these.
  3. Contribute to solving mounting e-waste problem. Technological waste is an increasing problem in many countries. Switzerland is ranked as the country with the second highest e-waste per capita per year (26.3 kg) worldwide, right after Norway, which tops the ranking with 28.4 kg of technological waste per person annually. In comparison, developing states produce a mere 2 kg of e-waste per person per year. Reading For Change aims at changing the attitude we have about technological equipment as something to simply discard at the end of its lifecycle by reconsidering the way we look at re-use.
At the same time, we are aware that Geneva is among the richest cities in the World, this is an opportunity to expand our contribution to more disadvantagd areas through collaborations with other hubs.

That is why we envision our R4C project becoming global and ultimately an independent association.

The project hence combines addressing new challenges of technologically advanced societies (e-waste) with answers to some of the inequalities that affect all societies alike (access to education and technology). It kills several birds with one stone. It addresses the kinds of inequalities and exclusionary dynamics that create risks for societies. In order to scale our impact we are starting to work with other hubs who observe some of the same challenges in their communities to re-apply the approach. 

We are ambitious and want to contribute to our community as well as other communities worldwide to the best of our abilities. We need your support in reaching the full potential of this project. 

Yes, we like to think big!

Geneva Global Shapers Author

Luisa Meneghetti is an essentialist and promoter of successful change under the motto "less but better". My interest in applying innovations to solve social and humanitarian problems is at the core of my activities. As my daytime job, I data mine and research on the cutting-edge topic of displacement caused by disasters for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). On the side, I also help Swiss associations and startups grow partnerships, and expand their activities by connecting them to funders, innovative individuals and creative environments. When I am not at work, I enjoy offering personal and professional coaching, and running for charity causes.