How an app helps us shop in solidarity

From 23 March, COVID-19 also imposed nationwide exit and contact restrictions in Germany for a few weeks. In the middle of the lockdown, a group of social entrepreneurs* and volunteers decided to become active and make their very own contribution to neighbourhood help. They developed the “Bring&Ring” app, a platform for private individuals to coordinate shopping assistance. The knodel foundation accompanied the development process and supported the volunteer developers financially with their project. Furthermore, the project was supported by private donations.

Background information

The app arose from the need to provide support for those who, due to COVID-19 or the protective measures taken, are unable to move outside the home without outside help. This is because not all people can fall back on neighbours* and family in times of restricted access or contact. This does not only affect people in risk groups, but also, for example, their relatives, single parents in the home office or people in systemically important professions. What could these people need? What could relieve them? This is how the idea of a neighbourly delivery and collection service came about.

How does the Bring & Ring app work?

Every person who cannot or should not leave the house can load their shopping list into the app. Volunteers carry out the shopping and then place it on the doorstep of the person placing the order. The service is free of charge, the shopping can be paid via the app and a tip can be given on a voluntary basis as a thank you. The app is free of charge and enables completely contactless shopping including the organisation and processing of payment transactions. With the help of the app, everyone is using digital means to help each other and stay healthy – even outside the Corona crisis.

Learn more:

Commitment to the holistic promotion of young people

Free development in a safe environment

With the establishment of sustainable sports education centres, the AMANDLA organisation focuses on supporting and promoting young people. In the so-called Safe-Hubs®, all participants* can freely develop their potential, regardless of their origin, socialisation or gender. The aim is to offer them a place of safety where they can receive support in the areas of health, education and personal development within the framework of the football sports centre.

AMANDLA currently operates four such Safe-Hubs® in structurally weak regions of South Africa, and others are under construction and in planning. Every week, around 1500 children and young people take part in the various activities offered by the individual training centres. The knodel foundation supports the Safe-Hub® in Gugulethu-Manenberg near Cape Town in developing solutions for the sustainable use of modern energy, water management and sustainable agriculture.

An opportunity for education and training for people with disabilities

The Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center of Herrnhuter Missionshilfe in Ramallah, Palestine supports, cares for, and promotes people with mental and/or physical disabilities. Part of the center is an integrative kindergarten, a special school, and a vocational support center. The aim is to provide people with access to education and training as well as rehabilitation and thus also to promote integration and inclusion. The center’s holistic programme is thus intended to contribute to changing the awareness in society of the rights of people with disabilities.

For this reason, the Center offers special educational, physio- and occupational therapy services for people with disabilities of all ages, as well as support for their families. Social workers, physiotherapists and art therapists encourage the families concerned through home visits and thus contribute to the social integration of people with disabilities into society. The Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center is mainly financed by donations. However, smaller activities and agricultural projects of the vocational school students* also contribute to the fact that the work of the facility can be financed additionally.

Enriching the public debate with crowd-financed advertising space

The non-profit crowdfunding platform Spreadwords rents advertising space throughout Germany to introduce socially relevant topics into the public debate. The aim is to enrich public opinion through campaigns on topics such as international understanding, animal rights, sustainability and awareness raising. The knodel foundation supports them in this project.

The proposed topics, the design as well as the financing of the campaigns are completely done by the audience. To involve younger generations in social debates and to enable them to experience self-efficacy, Spreadwords wants to introduce them to the topics behind the campaigns. These campaigns are to be developed and implemented in cooperation with school and university projects.

Visit to the Menschen für Menschen organisation project

Wogdi lies in Ethiopia, around 580 kilometres to the north of the capital Addis Ababa. The Menschen für Menschen organisation runs a development project in this region that is concerned with not only sustainable farming, water and hygiene but also education, health and income. The knodel foundation supports this project and Patrick Knodel recently visited Wogdi. This is a report of his trip.

It takes around twelve hours to drive to Wogdi. The road runs through the middle of the Great Rift Valley, sometimes it’s little more than a dirt track that gives you a proper shaking up. Because the project area lies far from any towns or cities – in a rural area where there are very few NGOs.

The region’s main problems are the population explosion and the soil erosion caused by deforestation and incorrect farming practices. Deforestation has reached an unprecedented scale. In the meantime, farmers are paid hard cash to plant trees again on slopes. What’s more, zones have been cordoned off where donkeys, cows and goats are not allowed to graze. In this way, the countryside should be gradually reforested and the ravages of erosion reduced.

The project region is relatively new – which is why we attract quite a crowd on our arrival, because very few white people stray into the area. The project staff explain to the farmers how they can grow various kinds of field crops in their gardens. They used to harvest lovegrass (teff) almost exclusively. Its flour is used to bake the very popular Injera flat bread, which we are invited to partake of by farmers in their huts. These invitations sometimes pose a problem for me as a vegetarian. But not this time: Ethiopia is in the middle of a period of fasting – which means not just “no meat” but also “no animal products”.

These personal visits are also very important for the project. Because Menschen für Menschen needs pioneers if it is to be successful in Wogdi. Many of the local farmers are suspicious of the new cultivation concept and fear crop failures. This is why the organisation first has to convince one or two families in each village to try out the concept for a season. The idea is that these “pilot farmers” will then gradually convince the rest of the village.

We also visited medical centres that had been set up in the larger towns. These include small stations within a five kilometre radius – in this way, the rural population now has access to basic medical care too, for example during births. We then spoke to micro-borrowers who had set up small businesses, for example cafés.

On the last day of my trip, I got to known some more of the Menschen für Menschen staff in the headquarters in Addis Ababa. Together with Dr. Sebastian Brandis, the Managing Director of MfM from Munich who accompanied me throughout the trip, I discussed development work of the past 30 years with the local managers. I argued that following the successful basic work in the countryside, the next step now had to be extensive support for innovative and sustainable business models. In the evening, Dr. Brandis took me along to an awards ceremony for a start-up competition. The winner’s field of business is quite remarkable: the company trains West African women in ultramodern block chain programming.

Four new projects of the knodel foundation

The knodel foundation has been supporting four new projects since the beginning of this year, two in Africa and two more in Europe.

Creative platform for the concerns of young people

“Youth4planet” is an independent, non-profit creative platform based in Hamburg. Its goal is to open up opportunities and learning paths for young people between the ages of 6 and 26 so as to develop new perspectives for their own future. They can get involved in social issue through film-making and storytelling and make their concerns known to a wider public as positive influencers. Some of the works by the young activists have already been shown at film festivals in Metz, Luxembourg and Saarbrücken.

Youth4planet cooperates with partners who offer additional perspectives. For example, “Rap for Refugees e.V.”, with whom music and film events have been organised. Or “Fridays for Future”, which has been accompanied by journalists from the youth team. Not to mention teachers who are supported by Youth4planet with offers for new learning pathways. The aim is to offer these services to partners outside Europe through networks in the medium term.

Support for teenage mothers in Ghana

The “Do Wo Yonko Foundation” wants to help give children and young people in Ghana better career and income-earning opportunities. The knodel foundation has been supporting an education and empowerment programme for young girls here since the beginning of 2019.

A number of young girls get pregnant in Ghana whilst still teenagers. Many of these drop out of schooling or training and later on are only able to find poorly paid jobs. In order to satisfy basic needs such as food, hygiene and clothing, several of these girls become dependent on men, making a self-determined life impossible. This frequently leads to further unwanted pregnancies.

Do Wo Yonko wants to reduce the number of pregnancies amongst teenagers, boost the self-esteem of these young women and change their attitude towards family planning in a positive way. Because when the girls can decide for themselves whether, when and how many children they want to have, the number of unwanted pregnancies and the risk of poverty will fall. Family planning thus helps to provide better career opportunities for women and healthier family and social structures. In a second part of the project, Do Wo Yonko addresses young women who have already had a child as teenagers. The aim is to give them the chance to start vocational training.

Mine clearance and the creation of social protective systems in Chad

Chad is one of the world’s poorest countries. Almost half of its inhabitants live below the poverty line. The situation is exacerbated by crises and conflicts in the neighbouring countries: Chad is now home to around 600,000 refugees from Libya, Nigeria, Sudan and the Central African Republic. But Chad itself is also a dangerous territory. Thousands of land mines and unexploded ordnances can still be found in some regions. These vestiges of wars are a huge obstacle to the country’s development because they block the path to rivers, roads and agricultural areas.

The knodel foundation is supporting a project by “Handicap International” in Chad. Its goal is to ensure greater stability by clearing away the mines, to improve the population’s safety and health and to encourage economic activity, equal opportunities and development. Handicap International also supports the establishment of social protection systems for particularly disadvantaged ethnic groups. Victims of mines, people with handicaps as well as the elderly, orphaned children and people living in extreme poverty who are urgently in need of medical help.

The battle against human trafficking in Romania

With its borders open to Western Europe, Romania has become a hub for human trafficking. According to Eurostat, around 6,100 Romanian citizens were identified as victims of human trafficking in the EU and the EU candidate countries between 2010 and 2012. This despicable business continues despite judicial and administrative reforms. Romania is one of the EU countries with the highest rate of human trafficking, above all of minors for the sex industry.

The American NGO “International Justice Mission” (IJM) pursues the goal of transforming legal systems so that authorities can crack down on human trafficking. At the beginning of 2019, the German IJM section opened an office in Bucharest. It analyses the structures of this business with “human goods” in Romania and the efficacy of the measures taken so far. This study forms the basis for the later strategy for a long-lasting and sustainable IJM commitment. In addition, partnerships are to be set up with government agencies and protagonists from civil society in this pilot phase. IJM’s long-term aim is to establish networks to strategically and supra-regionally curb human trafficking throughout Eastern Europe.

East Africa research trip

The “Latek Stay Alliance Uganda” is a democratically organised umbrella organisation for social entrepreneurs in Uganda that the Stuttgart-based Stay-Foundation for Multiplicative Development helped to establish. The foundation understands “social entrepreneurs” as meaning local development workers who address social problems through entrepreneurial commitment. The advantage is that unlike foreign development workers who are only on site for a limited period of time, these local residents really do known the country and people. They have an intrinsic motivation to solve the problems in their homeland as well as a deep understanding of their causes, something that outsiders find hard to grasp. The knodel foundation has been supporting Stay since 2018, helping it to implement this concept in the neighbouring country of Kenya too.

During their visit to Uganda and Kenya, representatives of the knodel foundation first want to find out how the Latek Stay Alliance Uganda works and how far things have advanced in Kenya. “It is important to gather this kind of information on the spot and at first hand,” says Patrick Knodel. “In this way, we can establish not only a personal contact with the people but also gain a much more precise and detailed insight into their situation. What’s more, it offers a welcome opportunity to establish trust.”