Children in Beira, Mozambique — with their new gravity water filter by Aqus, one of the finalists in the first Laudato sì Challenge in 2017 . [© Christopher Beyrooty]. The 2019 Laudato sì Challenge seeks to address forced displacement by empowering one million people to “be the protagonists in their own solutions,” by 2021 — supporting the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals “as a human dignity narrative, that leaves no one behind.”

Third Annual Laudato sì Challenge To Focus on Preventing Forced Displacement

Laudato sì Challenge
May 17 · 5 min read

2019 Challenge Seeks to Address Forced Displacement by Empowering One Million People to — as Pope Francis says — “be the Protagonists in Their Own Solutions” by 2021, supporting the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals “as a human dignity narrative, that leaves no one behind.

Twenty “Commitments to Impact” to be Announced and Accelerated at Final Event in Rome From December 3–5

November 29, 2019 — Rome, Italy— Taking up the challenges of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter Laudato sì, the third annual Laudato sì Challenge seeks to address forced displacement by empowering one million people to “be the protagonists in their own solutions” by 2021 — supporting the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals “as a human dignity narrative, that leaves no one behind.” With an emphasis on prevention, The Challenge addresses the root causes of forced displacement: poverty, persecution, education, conflict and environmental degradation, and will pursue its goal along three tracks: 1. announcing and accelerating new, specific, measurable and accountable Commitments to Impact”; 2. catalyzing 30 new public/private/faith sector partnerships; and 3. driving 100% participation — of time, treasure and/or talent — at its annual event in Rome. The Laudato sì Challenge is under the patronage of His Eminence Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, Prefect of the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission.

“Pope Francis’ hope is to see the challenges of Laudato sì taken up in credible initiatives and actions. The Laudato sì CHALLENGE is one such bold response!” — Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and patron of The Laudato si’ Challenge

Laudato sì Challenge partners include: Acumen, Airbnb, Aspiration, Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital, BNP Paribas, Box.org, Draper Associates, ICON, Noventi, Oracle and Uulala.

“Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital shares the vision of the Laudato sì Challenge, that a new investment paradigm must emerge after the crisis to support the sustainable development of our planet and the people living on it,” said its CEO, Bertrand Badré. “We must work together and encourage more people to join this movement to make, thanks to finance, a real difference. Joining together with the first group of partners is an important next step to continue to build a solid foundation for what comes next.”

“Think a New Thought” airs at every Laudato sì Challenge event in Rome. [© ISSIMO Story Agency]

“According to the UNHCR, 68.5 million people have been forced from their homes through no fault of their own; that’s one family every eight seconds,” says Eric Harr, Laudato sì Challenge Co-Founder & CEO. “The World Bank concludes that climate change could transform more than 143 million people into ‘climate migrants.’ Leaders from the private, public and faith sectors must act with solidarity, and urgency, to support bold and innovative business solutions that can scale up against this humanitarian crisis — and make people’s lives better — as we build a world that leaves no one behind.”

To achieve its mission, The Laudato sì Challenge has secured 20 private and public sector “Commitments to Impact.” For example, this from Tim Draper, Founder & CEO of Draper Associates: “Draper Associates is proud to make the following Commitment to Impact to The Laudato sì Challenge as we help put the principles of Laudato s ìinto action: Draper University commits to preventing forced displacement by empowering one million vulnerable people with the business skills to be, as Pope Francis says, ‘the protagonist in their own solution’. We call on the church and the Laudato sì Challenge community of partners to help us fulfill this Commitment by 2023.”

Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder & CEO of Acumen: ACUMEN is changing the way world tackles poverty. We believe that every person deserves the choice to live with dignity not dependence. That is why Acumen is making the following Commitment to Impact to The Laudato sì Challenge: By investing in innovative business models in agriculture and workforce development across India, East Africa and Latin America, Acumen aims to improve livelihood and resilience to climate change of over 50M low income people in the next 10 years, through investing in workforce development and small holder farmers. We ask the The Laudato sì Challenge community to stand with us and support us in fulfilling this ambitious Commitment to Impact.”

Evan Loomis, Co-Founder of ICON said: “ICON is honored to participate in The Laudato sì Challenge and is committed to creating 10 beautiful and dignified 3D-printed homes for families who are vulnerable to forced migration. We hope to see this scale from there and we call upon The Laudato sì Challenge, its partners and the Church to help us fulfill this important commitment by 2021, as we come together to ‘build a world that leaves no one behind.’”

ICON: “Building a future that leaves no one behind”

“Only when our economic and social system no longer produces even a single victim, a single person cast aside, will we be able to celebrate the feast of universal fraternity.” — His Holiness Pope Francis

Mandulis Energy — one of the finalists from the inaugural Laudato sì Challenge in 2017 — made a Commitment to Impact to the 2019 edition: “To help fulfill The 2019 Laudato sì Challenge mission to prevent forced displacement, Mandulis Energy commits to working with a funding partner and a faith-sector partner, to help 200,000 farming families, in sub-Saharan Africa — beginning with Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana — to improve their incomes, and to access affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, so that they may remain where they want to be: their homes,” said Peter Nyeko, CEO of Mandulis.

“The thematic focus of The 2019 Laudato sì Challenge is ‘home’: a universal concept that connects our global family,” says Ahmad Ashkar, Laudato sì Challenge Co-Founder and CEO of The Hult Prize, the inspiration for The Challenge. “Helping people remain where they want to be — in their homes — is good for all ‘stakeholders’: governments, local economies and the families themselves.”

Some of the participants from The 2018 Laudato sì Challenge.

Last December in Rome, The Laudato sì Challenge convened 80 leaders, featured 10 companies tackling forced displacement and secured 12 private sector “Commitments to Impact,” including a €30M commitment from Opes Fund to invest in 1,500 refugee run businesses by 2020. The Economist covered the event here. Upgrades for 2019 include: an expanded program, better participant selection criteria, Commitments to Impact that are both new and accountable— and more strategic facilitation of cross-sector partnerships within the Laudato sì Challenge ecosystem to fulfill, and accelerate, the “Commitments to Impact.”

About The Laudato sì Challenge

Founded in 2018, The Laudato sì Challenge is inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter, Laudato sì — On Care for Our Common Home. It is an initiative addressing the crisis of forced displacement by bringing together public, private and faith sector leaders. The Laudato sì Challenge is a 501(c)3 operating foundation. http://lsc19.org

Laudato sì Challenge

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The 2019 Laudato sì Challenge addresses forced displacement by empowering one million vulnerable people to be the “protagonist in their own solution” by 2021.

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