Economic Growth

8 ways Davos inspired social change this year

John Dutton
Head, Uplink; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Economic Growth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Economic Progress is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Economic Progress

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 brought together over 3,000 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts. 195 of them were drawn from the Forum's Foundations -- the Global Shapers, Schwab Foundation, Social Entrepreneurs and Young Global Leaders. Here are some stories of how Davos helped these communities improve the state of the world.

There are about 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world right now. That's the largest youth population in history, and it's providing young people with an unprecedented opportunity to take an active role in shaping our future.

This year in Davos, at the World Economic Forum's 48th Annual Meeting, we gathered some of the world's youth and social entrepreneurs who are committed to improving the state of the world. The Forum's network of Global Shapers, Social Entrepreneurs and Young Global Leaders operate as a force for good to scale solutions to global and local challenges.

Here are a few of the ways they committed to improving the state of the world at the 48th Annual Meeting in Davos.

1. Bringing light when darkness falls

Global Shaper Jaideep Bansal is the Energy Access Leader of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), and is working to electrify remote mountain communities using solar micro grids. Some villages in India are so remote that it can take ten days to reach them, and many of these places lack basic utilities like electricity. During the Annual Meeting, he showed participants how he is bringing them light: "Who are these mountains to decide which child has access and which child does not have access?"

2. Economically empowering women

Women make up 70% of the world’s poorest 1.5 billion people. So when founder of YouthAIDS and Five & Alive Kate Roberts and HRH Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, met through the Forum of Young Global Leaders, they founded the Maverick Collective to eliminate extreme poverty and engage female philanthropists beyond cheque book giving.

The initiative seeks women, not just those with financial resources, but also those with skills and experiences, to help solve challenges faced by women and girls in developing countries. To date, they have mobilized $60 million in resources for young girls and women, helped more than 800,000 girls and women live healthier lives and launched pilots in 15 countries around the world.

Have you read?
3. Bank for rural women

Social Entrepreneur Chetna Sinha, one of the co-chairs of the Annual Meeting in Davos, founded the Mann Deshi Foundation and is dedicated to economically empowering rural women in India. The Foundation started India’s first bank run by and for rural women, business schools providing women with entrepreneurial skills and a community development programme focused on water conservation. It has supported 400,000 women and aims to reach 1 million by 2022 through a new fund launched in Davos, called "Beyond Microfinance Fund".

4. Ending gender bias via #WeSeeEqual

The Global Shapers Community and Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced a partnership to accelerate progress toward gender equality. Inspired by Procter & Gamble’s #WeSeeEqual campaign, the Global Shapers Community will galvanize the collective power of over 7,000 Global Shapers to raise awareness and mobilize action – to stand up for gender equality.

Shaper hubs from 157 countries will be invited to submit ideas for projects that help to break stereotypes and advance gender equality. Five winning proposals will be awarded $20,000 each to implement their project in their city.

5. Sports for good

Social Entrepreneur and founder of Streetfootballworld Juergen Griesbeck, and Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata launched Common Goal; a commitment of football players to pledge 1% of their salaries to a collective fund. This fund will be invested in charities around the world using football as a tool for social change. To date, 35 football players from 17 nationalities have made the pledge.

6. Affordable support for mental health issues

CitiesRISE, founded by Social Entrepreneur Chris Underhill, is a mental health service, with the goal of reaching 1 billion young people by 2030. It wants to reduce anxiety, depression, suicide and substance abuse among young people. Its focus on youth is designed to harness the enthusiasm and ingenuity of young people – who are not only uniquely affected by mental illness, since 75% of mental health issues manifest in those under 24 years old – but who also have the capacity to develop imaginative and forward-thinking solutions.

Launched in collaboration with public and private sector leaders in Kenya, Lebanon, Colombia, India and the United States, as well as supported by Philips, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and Harvard University, CitiesRISE will coordinate action to connect formal and informal services that provide affordable support for mental health.

7. Healthy food, healthy planet

Katherine Milligan, Head of the Schwab Foundation, Kimbal Musk, CEO of Big Green, and Kris Groos Richmond, CEO of Revolution Foods, discussed strategies to place healthy and nutritious diets at the centre of global food systems.

8. Blood-delivery via drones

When robotics entrepreneur Keller Rinaudo started his first company at the age of 23, the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan were at an all-time high.

“Most robotic companies were building things that kill people, so we thought it would be cool to build a company that built things that actually make people’s lives better,” he said. Now his drone-delivery company, Zipline, is making last-mile deliveries of blood to health clinics and transfusion facilities across Rwanda.

Zipline delivers 20% of the country’s national blood supply outside of Kigali and has signed a commercial contract with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health to deliver medicines to 10 million of the hardest to reach people in the country.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Economic GrowthGeo-Economics and PoliticsNature and Biodiversity
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How 'open innovation' can promote sustainable economic growth and development

Li Dongsheng

July 16, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum