Maximpact Blog

Displaced Syrians Learn via Smartphone Intranet

Never too young to enjoy a smartphone, Hafjin, a three-year-old Syrian refugee, looks at family photos from Syria on her father's phone. 2016 (Photo © Sumaya Agha for Mercy Corps) Posted for media use

Distance learning has become routine for many students during the COVID-19 lockdown, but for thousands of young Syrians living in refugee camps distance learning has been an impossible luxury. Yet, an innovative project established in one camp allows internally displaced schoolchildren to communicate and pursue their education using smartphones – without the need for internet or computers.

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Africa Takes Action Against Plastic Pollution

UNEP's Clean Seas project dhow, Flip-Flopi, clad in plastic made entirely from flip flops found on Kenya's beaches. (Photo courtesy UN Environment Programme) Posted for media use

Kenya’s national government and the country’s 47 lower level county governments are jointly establishing a plastic waste management program – one that could be scaled and replicated across the East African community and beyond. It’s just the latest step in Kenya’s evolving journey from a plastic-strewn country to one of the cleanest in Africa.

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North Sea to Host World’s 1st Offshore Wind Power Hub

At Nysted offshore wind farm in Denmark, the 72 rotors are placed in a parallelogram with eight rows of nine wind turbines each and all spinning clockwise. (Photo by Orsted Energy Group) Posted for media use on Facebook

Denmark, the EU’s largest oil producer, is taking a giant step towards total reliance on green electricity. A coalition of Danish parties announced this week that they will create the world’s first wind energy hub on a custom-built artificial island in the North Sea. Owned by a public-private partnership, the energy hub will collect electricity from offshore windfarms and distribute it to Danish households and to customer countries on the grid.

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Teachers Discover Empathy Is the ‘Mother of Invention’

A mother shows her 32- month-old boy his first asthma inhaler. This inhaler was not designed by pupils in the Cambridge University study. May 31, 2007 (Photo by Thomas Widmann) Creative Commons license via Flickr

Teaching children in a way that encourages them to empathise with others improves their creativity and can deepen their general engagement with learning, finds new research from the University of Cambridge at two inner London schools with Design and Technology students, ages 13 to 14. Co-author Dr. Helen Demetriou said, “We clearly awakened something in these pupils by encouraging them to think about the thoughts and feelings of others.”

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President Biden Welcomes Refugees, Reversing Trump Policy

An internally displaced Yemeni woman and her daughter look over the capital city of Sana’a, Yemen. August 2017 (Photo by Giles Clarke courtesy UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Posted for media use

“We face a crisis of more than 80 million displaced people suffering all around the world,” President Joe Biden told diplomats at the U.S. State Dept. Friday, setting the stage for an about-face on U.S. refugee policy. While the previous administration imposed travel bans, separated families and built border walls, Biden signed an executive order “to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need.”

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Indian Designer Turns PPE Plastic Scrap into Bedrolls

Designer Laksmi Menon, center, has put Kerala women to work making bedrolls out of plastic trimmings from PPE production, 2020 (Photo courtesy Shayya via Facebook)

Posted for media use

The 2021 World Economic Forum wrapped today in Davos after five days of discussions focused on the coronavirus pandemic, affordable medical care, net-zero emissions, digital technology and the future of work. Amid the big panels on vaccines, climate and finance, a small project from India shows how compassion has opened an innovative way to handle the tons of plastic waste the virus has left across the world.

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