Citizens all over the globe will now be able to get together to advance local sustainability with the support of a new app that has the potential to revolutionize collaborative volunteering towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people can enjoy peace and prosperity. Implementing these 17 Global Goals by the 2030 deadline will require the support and participation of everyone: citizens, governments, civil society organizations, companies and the news media.
Creative, small-scale actions can deliver big impact on the sustainable development of communities, cities and nations. WeAppHeroes, a new app designed by Sunscious Limited in partnership with the UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), brings citizens together to harness their enthusiasm, good will and creative energy for the good of humanity and the Earth. It creates a real-time call-to-action for users to reach out for assistance with and immediately get help from others located nearby. It can be used for anything from everyday tasks like borrowing a screwdriver to recruiting volunteers for more organized social or environmental activities.
The new app was launched by the UNDP RIO+ Centre and Sunscious CEO Valentina Hernandez at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), in Quito, Ecuador.
From Rio’s Favelas to the World
In Muquiço, a favela located in the neighborhood of Guadalupe, Rio de Janeiro, young people are starting to use the app to make community and citizen action more trustworthy, fun and meaningful.
A group of local youth got together, formed an arts network called Noventa and implemented the ‘Dream Wall’ initiative to regenerate public spaces with graffiti while transforming local youth into artists and ‘heroes’.
Over 800 civil society organizations in Brazil will be soon using WeAppHeroes as a tool to increase citizen participation in local projects and initiatives. These organizations are part of the Atados network, which connects grassroots projects and committed volunteers across the country. Atados is partner of WeAppHeroes in Brazil, and will be supporting its implementation and promotion.
“Our main challenge is to develop practical tools for promoting sustainable development in the urban environment. We want this app to become a trend for young people and citizens around the globe. They will now be able to search for opportunities to get together in real life, uniting forces to transform their cities and communities into better, happier and more sustainable places”, explains Romulo Paes de Sousa, director of the UNDP RIO+ Centre.
The UNDP team in Rio de Janeiro visited the Muquiço and captured the creative action started by 17-year old Lucas, Bruno and Igor. Watch the full video here. Photo credit: UNDP RIO+ Center
Social Cohesion for Better Cities
WeAppHeroes aims to tap into the good of humanity and to help remind people that strangers can be source of support, good will and friendship. For the creators of the app at Sunscious, building trust and social cohesion across class, race and gender divides is a major objective of their work.
“Whether it is used for community vegetable gardens, ride shares, tutoring, donations or beach clean-ups, the app creates the basis for a new sharing-economy that reduces environmental, social and economic costs of ordinary actions”, explains Valentina Hernandez, CEO of Sunscious.
The introduction of the We App Heroes mobile application during Hbaitat III. Photo credit: Valentina Hernandez.