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The Samsung Global Goals App, Supporting SDGs With a TapIn 2015, the United Nations General Assembly announced a pledge to change the world for the better by the year 2030. That pledge led to the Sustainable Development Goals, also known simply as the Global Goals, which aim to eradicate hunger, combat inequality and clean up the planet. To this end, Samsung has joined the efforts to see the world accomplish these goals and released the Samsung Global Goals app in 2019.

The Samsung Global Goals

The Samsung Global Goals app’s purpose is to “take action on the Global Goals and make the world a better place,” according to the app’s Google Play Store listing. The app has three intentions:

  1. Know the Goals: This allows the user to discover what all 17 goals are about and lets the user determine which one they care about the most and want to support the most.
  2. Get the Facts: Lets the user see statistics about the Global Goals and what important areas organizations are working on to alleviate global poverty and build a sustainable world.
  3. Monitor Donations: This function allows the user to track their donation history and see which of the Global Goals are progressing worst than others.

Donating With a Simple Tap

The app puts Samsung’s advertising revenue to good use. Every ad the user views inside the app earns money that can be donated toward a goal, the user can choose to keep donating to one goal or keep switching between goals. If the user is using the app on a Samsung phone or tablet in the U.S., Singapore, Canada or the U.K., they can use Samsung’s own payment system, Samsung Pay, or if they are on another Android device, they can use Google Pay.

Samsung will also match the user’s donation as the South Korean tech giant’s attempt to brand themselves as a “global corporate citizen.” If the user cannot donate, then they can raise funds by allowing the app to place ads on the user’s lock screen as they charge their devices and the user can select which of the goals those funds will go toward. After an update on January 2020, the app allows users to put inspiring messages and quotes from famous humanitarians and messages about the planet’s climate situation.

United Nations’ Initiatives to Accomplish its SDGs

The Samsung Global Goals app is just one of the new ways the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is attempting to advertise the Global Goals. The UNDP is partnering with different companies to promote the idea and raise awareness of the Global Goals. In America, the UNDP teamed up with iHeart Media to create short messages from famous pop stars about the Global Goals and how citizens can help accomplish them.

Even though the Samsung Global Goals app comes from a place of philanthropy, it would probably do more good for the Global Goals and the UNDP if the app was not limited to just Samsung and the Android platforms. Instead, it should become available to outside platforms, such as Apple’s iOS, to raise even more awareness for the Global Goals, and ultimately our planet.

As we grow closer to the deadline for the SDGs, the world should see more companies following Samsung’s lead and helping the United Nations build a sustainable world by 2030.

—Pedro Vega
Photo: Flickr

Philanthropy in South KoreaThe Republic of South Korea carries one of the most uplifting stories of increased education and economic improvement. South Korea faces poverty among the elderly and an education gap between the rich and poor. Despite that, the country has launched effective policies for poverty reduction. These efforts expand beyond the scope of just South Korea. This article will cover advancements in national poverty reduction. It will focus on South Korea’s global poverty reduction and philanthropy efforts through organizations such as World Friends Korea and the Korean International Cooperation Agency.

Poverty in South Korea

South Korea has evolved tremendously in terms of poverty reduction and economic improvement. In 1945, around the end of the Japanese colonization, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. In the 1950s, after the Korean war, 80% of the urban population was below the poverty line. Today, South Korea’s literacy rate is 96% and its poverty rate is close to 14%. This decrease in poverty and illiteracy is largely due to extensive education policies and NGOs within Korea.

The Beautiful Foundation

In the late 1980s, democracy consolidated in South Korea. Various NGOs promoted humanitarian principles and rights, create a flow of social-political interactions and offer a voice to citizens. In 2002, estimates determined that there were 60,000 nonprofits in South Korea. While many international NGOs such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, UNDP and Planned Parenthood have had chapters and projects in South Korea, there are plenty of organizations in the nonprofit sector native to Korea. Established in 1999, Beautiful Foundation is one of the largest Korean nonprofits.

The Beautiful Foundation dedicates itself to creating an impartial society where people practice sharing by spreading wealth across society. The organization has had a great influence on philanthropy in South Korea. The 1% Sharing initiative, for example, encourages all Koreans to contribute 1% of their salary or income to any campaign or cause they believe in. These contributions are even open to individuals that do not live in Korea. The Beautiful Foundation has used these donations for disaster relief, child hunger and even social issues.

Philanthropy within Corporate Korea

South Korean corporations represent almost 40% of Korean philanthropy while the remaining 60% comes from individuals’ charity. Korean corporations such as Samsung have used social media to promote and inspire others to give through online sites. Samsung has also launched campaigns such as Samsung Hope for Children which helps children access education and medical treatment through donations of products and financial assistance.

Hyundai, another large corporation in South Korea, has launched campaigns such as the Hope on Wheels program, which helps children with cancer. Since it began its philanthropic efforts, Hyundai has given $72 million to pediatric research.

Government Role in NGOs and Philanthropy

Although these organizations are non-governmental, the government still plays a significant role. Most NGOs receive government grants. Additionally, certain government factions or ministries, such as the Korean Department of Health and Welfare, host annual conferences to bring organization leaders, government officials, corporate workers and academic scholars to discuss further development and new philanthropic strategies and ideas.

Many NGOs are also policy-oriented and must meet with government officials to achieve their goals. NGOs can campaign for a range of socio-economic issues such as income disparity and economic inequality. For instance, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), which is the oldest NGO in Korean history to address social welfare issues, persuaded the Korean administration in the 1990s to change housing eviction policies. It also lobbied for the construction of more homes which the government agreed to.

South Korea Gives Back to the World

South Korea has evolved from a country receiving international aid, to a flourishing economy ready to give back. The country is the world’s 12th largest economy and began its international philanthropy in the 1990s. The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), established in 1991, distributes aid to promote economic and social development in poorer countries. Worlds Friends Korea, which is similar to the U.S. Peace Corps, has worked with KOICA to reduce poverty and provide opportunities for growth. Since 1990, World Friends Korea has sent around 50,000 volunteers and has been active in 96 countries.

South Korea has also been involved in security and reconstruction efforts in developing countries such as Afghanistan. In 2010, the Korean Province Reconstruction Team (PRT) worked to strengthen local governments, administrative competence and productivity, as well as provide support for agriculture, education and medical services in the Parwan Province.

South Korea pulled itself out of poverty through strict education policies, massive technological and economic advancements and an abundance of support from NGOs. After seeing poverty worldwide, the people of Korea honed in on the values of sharing and the long tradition of giving. South Korean philanthropy was born out of “self-actualization” and the desire to accept and help others. From giving to its own people to giving worldwide, from corporate philanthropy and NGOs to government-oriented organizations, South Korea has truly encompassed philanthropy.

– Nada Abuasi
Photo: Unsplash

Education in South Korea
After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world with a GDP per capita of $79. Today, it is home to many innovative technology companies and has a GDP of $1.619 trillion. This massive progress is largely due to the high standards of education in South Korea. With a strong cultural emphasis on education, the country was able to develop a flourishing economy and facilitate poverty reduction.

The Principles of Education

Education has always been important for Koreans. In the 18th century Korea, neo-Confucianist ideals and a stringent class system framed the Korean social order. Many considered education essential to slowly eliminate social stratification and offer equal opportunities. In fact, King Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty, created the Korean alphabet Hangul for that specific purpose. He wanted all of his people to be able to read and write, not just those of higher social class.

During the Japanese colonization of Korea, which lasted from 1910 until 1945, Japanese became the official language and Hangul was completely banned. Despite Japan’s imposed restraints on potential educational opportunities for Koreans during this time, the desire for education persisted. It was so tremendous that after Korea gained independence, the Korean people overwhelmingly demanded more opportunities for education. It evolved into a standard of economic and social mobility, or the fairest way to move up the socio-economic ladder. The industrialization process began through this principle, subsequently making education essential for employment.

South Korea’s Rise to the Top

In 1945, around the end of Japanese colonization, South Korea’s literacy rate was 22%, among the lowest in the world. To eradicate illiteracy, South Korea launched campaigns that aimed to educate those who did not have primary education. Additionally, in the 1950s, the government made elementary school obligatory by law. As a result, South Korea’s literacy rate rose to 96% by 1958.

The policies used to increase literacy rates also contributed to the rise in post-secondary education. South Korea ranks as the number one most educated country, where almost 70% of individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed college, university or any other form of higher education.

Along with education in South Korea, the country’s economy transformed tremendously. Many consider South Korea’s economy to the most innovative economy regarding technology and has ranked number one in innovation for several years, raising its GDP to $1.619 trillion. Its ratio of research and development program spending to GDP is the highest in the world. South Korea has one of the most intricate and interconnected economies, leading in exports of information and communications technology as well as automobiles. It is also the first country to introduce 5G internet services for mobile carriers.

Education, Labor and Technology

The South Korean government believed that economic development on a national scale required high learning abilities and cognitive skills. By investing in education, students would develop skills and knowledge that would help in becoming excellent workers. The economy then flourishes and begins to invest back into education. The government also made sure to provide vocational or technical training which, alongside education in South Korea, has contributed to the low unemployment of 3.7%.

The emphasis on education in South Korea extends beyond national economic improvement. Technological companies such as Samsung encourage corporate-academic collaborations with universities like Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon where they collaborate on research in electrochemistry and the development of new energy sources. Samsung has also provided technology to classrooms in an attempt to reduce the education gap.

Reduction of Poverty

The international community has long-since known that education alleviates poverty. There is a strong correlation between education, economic empowerment and low unemployment. Education helps economies grow and infrastructures develop. In South Korea, it was government policy that made education the biggest portion of the budget, next to defense. Government policy also used land reform to boost education. Land reform redistributed land which significantly reduced land ownership inequality. It thereby changed social policy, reduced poverty and aided in bringing educational levels to an all-time high. Rural populations with higher levels of education in South Korea produced a large workforce of well-educated individuals that served as a catalyst for industrialization and reduction of poverty. Today, although South Korea still battles poverty and an education gap between the rich and the poor, the country and its economy have greatly transformed since 1945.

Nada Abuasi
Photo: Unsplash

Teachers in Brazil
In recent years, the challenges of teachers in Brazil have become a focus of the Brazilian government. With the introduction of a new Plan for Education, issues such as a shortage of teachers, inadequate pay and teacher training and unequal access to education in the country are now receiving greater attention.

Yet, a recent outbreak of violence in the form of a school shooting, controversy on the teaching of particular subjects, and widespread teacher dissatisfaction continue to make the profession an unappealing one. The following are the top 10 facts about teachers in Brazil.

Top 10 Facts About Teachers in Brazil

  1. Many Brazilian teachers report feeling undervalued. A recent study has shown that nearly half of the teachers in Brazil would not recommend the teaching profession to students.
  2. Educational reforms have targeted teacher quality. The district of São Paulo has introduced systems to improve its teacher’s skills. For instance, teaching coaches are provided in every school. This initiative awards teachers and schools meeting annual targets. Additionally, ongoing training place greater value on education and provide teachers with positive motivation.
  3. Class sizes in Brazil have dropped by eight percent between 2005 and 2016. Additionally, many teachers in Brazil are working at two schools daily. This is due to a shortage of teachers in many communities. As a result, they teach in four-hour shifts with little time for lesson planning and study.
  4. Teacher education has only recently been standardized. Before 1996, teachers were not required to have a post-secondary degree and many had not attended college. Now, there is a requirement for teachers to obtain a degree and pass a national examination. As of 2010, 40 percent of all working teachers in the São Paulo district remain unaccredited. As a result, free courses are now available to teachers to improve practical classroom skills.
  5. Salaries for teachers in Brazil are below average. According to the OECD, in 2018, the maximum average salary for teachers in Brazil was $24,100 USD. This is in comparison to the average of $45,900 per year in surrounding countries. This places many teachers in a lower socioeconomic status. Additionally, in recent years, low pay has also contributed to several teacher strikes in Brazil, some that have turned violent.
  6. Teachers provide support for students living in poverty. In 2013, 2.7 percent of students in Brazil between 5 and 14 years old were working, rather than attending school. Of those, many also make up the 7.2 percent of Brazilians reportedly illiterate as of 2015. Historically, many Brazilian parents doubt the value of education for their children. That being said, teachers are urged to monitor student attendance and encourage parents to keep their children in school with government ‘Bolsa Familia’ incentives.
  7. The number of indigenous teachers in Brazil has grown. Brazil is home to about 900,000 indigenous peoples. Children in mostly rural indigenous communities are four times more likely to work rather than attend school. Over the last two decades, the Brazilian government has adopted a commitment to provide education to indigenous children in their traditional languages and using traditional methods. Indigenous schools are autonomous, but legally overseen by the Brazilian government and staffed by specially trained teachers from within the community.
  8. Following the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2018, a right-wing movement called Escola Sem Partido or School without Party (ESP) gained ground. Responding to allegations that teachers have spread left-leaning propaganda in classrooms, advocates have called for a ban on the promotion of controversial political and social views in education. Critics argue that the ban violates constitutional freedom to teach and learn. Conservative legislator Ana Caroline Campagnolo has suggested that students report teachers in violation, resulting in a rash of police encounters in classes.
  9. Recent violence has led to the death of two teachers. In March of 2019, two teachers and five students were killed in a school shooting in a public school in Suzano. The incident was one of a handful of school shootings since 2000, which remain rare in Brazil but are causing concern about the security of classrooms and the safety of teachers and students.
  10. The use of technology as an educational resource is growing. Half of all Brazilian teachers reported using technology, particularly mobile phones, in lesson planning and gathering resources for the classroom. The number of educational resources available, including apps, pre-prepared lesson plans, and online videos, has significantly increased. The district of Sao Paulo issued a $5.5 billion BRL contract in 2013 for technology and educational content. Samsung, Unicef, and the Brazilian organization, Nova Escola, are among the companies gathering original content, providing online lessons and teacher training materials and targeting plans to improve student engagement.

The top 10 facts about teachers in Brazil indicate obstacles to improvement, but a growing effort. Reforms are being put in place to fund schools and increase the number and quality of teachers. These improvements show promise to both Brazilian educators and students.

– Marissa Field

Photo: Agustin Diaz

Refugees in South Korea
South Korea today is considered an economic powerhouse, known for tech giants like Samsung and catchy Korean pop tunes. However, as a rising world leader, South Korea is also taking on more responsibilities for refugees, especially defectors from their neighbor to the north. Here are seven facts about refugees in South Korea:

  1. Some North Korean refugees in South Korea eventually became stars on South Korean reality TV. One show, “Now On My Way to Meet You,” features a panel of North Korean women who talk about life under the North Korean regime. The show’s staff also help the women track down lost family members and reunite them. Other shows pair up North Korean refugees with South Korean reality stars. Experts, however, are divided over whether this recent TV craze helps or hurts tensions with the North.
  2. In 1998, only 12% of North Korea refugees in South Korea were women. According to a survey conducted by a South Korean news agency, the percentage of female refugees jumped to 70% in 2012.
  3. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of North Korean defectors to South Korea who were of middle and high school age nearly doubled from 966 to 1,992. Refugee children, however, reportedly have a difficult time adjusting to school life in the South due to cultural differences.

  1. Refugee children have a middle school enrollment rate of 57.9% and a high school enrollment rate of 10.9%, compared to a high school enrollment rate of 98% for South Korean children.
  2. To remedy this problem, the South Korean government has tried implementing “special schools” for North Korean refugees in South Korea. Among the most well-known of these special schools is the Hankyoreh High School, which teaches refugees the national common curriculum and holds individual sessions to meet each student’s individual needs.
  3. South Korea, along with Japan, has among the strictest refugee policies. Since 1994, as many as 1,144 Syrian refugees have applied for asylum in South Korea, yet government figures show that only three have been approved.
  4. Despite a tight refugee admission policy, South Korea has donated a sum worth $500,000 to a U.N. agency to support Palestinian refugee children in Syria. The donation will be used to better the lives of young girls living in Palestine.

South Korea’s rapid economic success is seen globally as an economic “Miracle on the Han River,” but the prestige of economic success also comes with global responsibilities. One hopes that refugees in South Korea will find miracles of their own.

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr

Technology Education

Back in 2012, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy opened its doors and ushered in a new era of educational possibility in Nairobi, Kenya. This program was made possible through several partnerships including UNICEF, The Lego Foundation, Girls’ Education Challenge, and more to build a place for the African people to gain an edge in the information age. The curriculum maintains a focus on hands-on education, dividing the schoolwork into 10 percent theory and 90 percent practical knowledge. Over the duration of the one-year program, students acquire the skills to repair and maintain handheld devices, IT, consumer electronics, air conditioners and refrigerators.

For students wishing to enroll, the best part is that the program is entirely free and provides automatic placement into an internship with Samsung. Top students also gain the opportunity for relocation to South Korea for a one-year leadership position with the 100 Young African Leaders Program.

Change is coming in areas with a history of rampant unemployment, hunger and lack of education, throughout the African continent. Programs providing education in technology have the ability to empower young Africans,  only building Africa’s future. The program’s first graduating class saw 24 out of 40 students gain employment with Samsung and today over 60 percent of the graduates do the same. A sizable portion of the remaining 40 percent achieved self-employment by opening repair shops and other technology focused businesses to stimulate economic growth in towns across Africa. This success led to the program’s expansion throughout Kenya and branching into Nigeria.

In Nigeria, these programs build up the Lagos State Government and World Bank by setting a model referred to as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). This system provides benefits for all involved and helps bring those that may be lacking in technology education up to speed with the modern day.

Beyond Africa, Samsung is responsible for similar institutions in Turkey and Indonesia. These organizations impact communities by exposing the hidden talent that lay dormant in the marginalized society.  Samsung helps those with almost no ability to break the mold and reach their true potential.

Aaron Walsh

Photo: Flickr

products of child labor
Today, an estimated 115 million children are working — often forced — to produce many of the basic items we buy for cheap at local malls and retail stores. Ranging from the food we eat to the accessories we wear, there are reportedly around 128 goods which exploit and degrade the well-being of these children. Below is a list of the five most common products of child labor.

 

5 Main Products of Child Labor

 

5. Cocoa

According to the Department of Labor, cocoa is produced in at least five countries which utilize child labor, including Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Major candy companies such as Nestle and Hershey’s have been linked to some of these suppliers. Just recently, Nestle was accused of breaching its supplier code, including clauses of child labor, safety and working hours. Hershey’s, too, is reported to have at least thousands of children currently harvesting cocoa beans for the company in West Africa today.

4. Carpets

Currently being produced by five countries which utilize child labor, such as Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, these products of child labor are being shipped to retail outlets around the world, including areas of Europe, Asia, and the United States.

3. Tobacco

One of the most popular goods in the world, tobacco has been reported to have been harvested in at least 15 countries that use child and forced labor. Philip Morris International, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes, has actually admitted that the fields in which the company buys their plants have at least 72 child laborers: the youngest being 10 years old. Tobacco is being harvested by children in countries today such as Mexico, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil and Uganda.

2. Electronics

Apple and Samsung, two of the world’s leading electronics corporations, have recently went under attack for alleged use of child labor. In fact, Apple recently discovered multiple infringements of child labor with some of their suppliers, including one Chinese company that employed at least 74 children. Samsung, too, has been accused by labor rights groups for employee mistreatment and for exploiting child labor. The investigation, which looked into eight factories in China, proved some employees were working at least 100 hours per month of overtime and that children were “knowingly employed.”

1. Cotton

Cotton is produced by at least 16 countries which use child labor, including China, Egypt and Turkey, according to the Department of Labor. In fact, some of our most popular retail chains — from H&M to Wal-Mart to Victoria’s Secret — have been accused of benefiting from child labor. H&M, one of the world’s leading fashion chains, is currently under pressure to eliminate its ties with clothing suppliers that buy cotton from Uzbekistan, where large amounts of the plant are harvested by children.

Before you buy something, know where it’s coming from. Stand up for what you believe. Let’s put an end to supporting these corporations who take advantage of children just like our own.

– Nick Magnanti

Sources: Huffington Post, Department of Labor, View Mixed
Photo: Bloomberg

samsung_opt
The war rages on. Apple and Samsung are stuck in a legal deadlock over claimed patent infringements. Which side will win and why does it matter?

In 2011, Apple feared pressure from smart phone competitors. It had been the leader in the field for nearly four years, but sales were starting to stall. Many companies, most notably HTC, Motorola and Samsung were making use of the Android operating system to carve their own niche in smart phone technology.

In April of that year, Apple sued Samsung, its largest competitor, with 16 claims of patent infringement. Samsung quickly countered, suing apple for infringing on 10 of its own patents. Ultimately Apple won the battle, but that was not enough.

Flash-forward to today and not much has been resolved. The current claims are flimsy and in today’s world of fast-moving technology and minimalist design, it is difficult to determine when two similar ideas sprung up independently and when one was a blatant copy of the other.

Multibillion dollar companies who claim to care about moving technology forward have become so gridlocked over a few million dollars that the real issues go unnoticed. Apple owns about 19 percent of market share, roughly $57 billion, while Samsung takes about 13 percent, or $39 billion. As of today, Apple is claiming an additional $380 million dollars in damages against Samsung, whereas Samsung is arguing it only owes Apple $52 million.

In context, Apple and Samsung’s market share combined could feed, clothe, and shelter the world’s poor twice over. The cost of their legal expenses alone could provide a small town in a third world country with adequate living conditions.

Patent wars such as these do nothing but stop technology from moving forward. When these types of fights persist over years and prevent growth in the tech sector, it severely hurts global job growth in the industry. That means the world’s poor will stay poor for even longer.

But world poverty is not a concern for either company. Both Apple and Samsung have come under fire in the past for underpaying employees in poor working conditions. This is in contrast to the tech industry’s other giant, Microsoft, whose founder is chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, a primary supporter in the fight against global poverty.

It is uncertain what will come of the ongoing lawsuit, but the verdict could have a big impact on the world’s impoverished. If Apple wins, it may snub out more would-be competitors and shrink the market further, stalling global job growth and doing little to impact world poverty.

Mike Doane

Sources: Mashable, Cult of Mac, Time, RT
Photo: Business Tech