My First Skoll World Forum Experience
June 10, 2014 | 1572 views
Through a partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, 13 Young Leaders from around the world had the opportunity to experience the Skoll World Forum On Social Entrepreneurship first hand. The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. In this series, 10 of the Young Leaders reflect on their participation in the 2014 Skoll World Forum.
When I found out that the Skoll Foundation had nominated me to attend the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, I have to admit that I was a little intimidated. The Forum is a huge stage, a place where the leaders of some of the world’s most successful social enterprises gather to share ideas. But what I discovered was an event where everyone’s ideas and successes are valued equally.
I attended the Forum as part of the first Young Leaders Initiative, a pioneering opportunity to give future leaders a platform to voice their opinions, encourage each other and create their own global network. The whole idea was developed to ensure that a younger group of people could express their views as part of the Skoll World Forum.
I was lucky enough to have my own platform to talk about the life-saving work of Riders for Health. In Malawi, Riders works in partnership with the Ministry of Health to use motorbikes as a means of transporting test samples for diseases such as TB, measles and cholera from health centres to laboratories. This effort means people receive vital test results, and therefore treatment, more quickly.
This service is particularly crucial in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child. The HIV programme in Malawi depends on test results being delivered quickly and efficiently from health centres to laboratories. With only five laboratories and 650 health centres, it is critical to ensure that these facilities are linked through efficient, well-maintained transport systems.
When I spoke about the work of Riders in Malawi at the Skoll World Forum, I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes to the importance of reliable transport in health care delivery – something many people overlook.
The Forum was a fantastic opportunity to share our work with other social entrepreneurs, but I also learned so much from them. There were some really interesting sessions on identity and leadership that have inspired me to continually improve the way we work in Malawi. It was also refreshing to learn that many of the problems we face in our work are not unique, and that people working in a whole range of social enterprises face the same difficulties.
The Skoll World Forum was such a positive experience and I was so grateful to be nominated to attend. I hope that in the future other members of my team will be able to experience the Forum and to be as inspired as I am now. I am certain that the things I have learned will make a really positive difference to the work of Riders for Health in Malawi.