By Axel Meta
Axel Meta, 19, represented the Sharood team, (sponsored by Telefónica), at one of the most important gatherings for young leaders this year: One Young World (“OYW”) in Bangkok. It’s a summit that connects and inspires young people with projects and ideas from organizations of all sizes.
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, told us that ‘if we put our minds to it, we could use technology to change the world’ – and this is exactly what we aim to do with Sharood. We use the power of online tools to improve offline life.
In my view, the potential of the internet, and especially mobile, is to help make the structures of our society become more accessible to everybody. This can be in the form of having access to education or simply meeting your neighbours. What impacts me most, is that in an age of hyperconnectivity, the majority of us do not know our neighbours. We at Sharood want to change that. If we feel as though we form part of our community, there will be a positive knock-on effect in the way we act and behave in society. What we hope is that this will help us understand, at a deeper level, that we are all part of this world, and that there is not much space left for individualistic behaviour if we want to make it a better place.
Sharood is an app that connects people via food. For example, if you’re cooking, you post the meal on the app (currently only available in Amsterdam), your neighbours then see that you’re cooking and can join you for your lunch or dinner. To make the sharing fair, so that everyone who gives to the community also gains from being a part of it, Sharood has its own virtual currency called ‘Cookies’. You can then spend the cookies you have earned cooking for others, and use them to eat at others houses for free.
At OYW I was inspired to hear about how many young people are improving their cities, countries and even the world in so many creative ways, and I was also able to get a lot of feedback from potential users, partners and experts with regards to community building.
In fact, just whilst I was waiting for the opening ceremony to begin, I had a little brainstorm with a team who coaches children in a slum in Kenya, and how Sharood could benefit them by replacing fridges which are in short supply. People do not have access to fridges, but do to the Internet. This means they would be able to share the food they were cooking with their neighbours, knowing that the next day they wouldn’t need to get food because someone else would be sharing with them. We are set to investigate in greater detail how this would work in coming weeks.
During the Summit I also discussed with some speakers how Sharood can help to build a stronger community in Pittsburgh, integrating not only refugees with the locals, but also the locals with each other.
We also discussed how Sharood could be implemented in the Telefonica district in Madrid so that employees save time by not having to cook every day, and at the same time can meet other colleagues.
The fact that at OYW there was an ambience of ‘round table’, and those present were able to discuss their different ambitions and causes, encouraged a lot of us to persevere as the overall impact would be a lot bigger with us all collaborating.
It was also so inspirational meeting fellow delegates who make sacrifices for the greater good. It served to show me that it is our responsibility to those who are not able to reap the rewards from the system, to use the opportunities we have, to make the world equally good for everybody else.