The first day of Catapulta Fest started with an amazing keynote of David McConville, MD of Buckminster Fuller Institute in New York. David advocated that to solve our global challenges, we first need to understand the bigger picture. How did we get to this point? And how can we apply design principles to generate impactful solutions, based on our bigger historical knowledge? A very tough act to follow. That is why PICNIC Mexico featured a panel discussion that took David’s meta-story to a micro level by focussing on local, social entrpreneurs, who are actually trying to make a difference. Program Director Kitty Leering introduced the PICNIC festival briefly and explained our call to action ‘Redefine Growth’ to the audience. After that, PICNIC Mexico partner Tania Rodriquez of CO_ led our panel that consisted of local, social entrpreneurs and NGO’s:
Gustavo Madrid, the Director of Casa de Ciudad, works on social city improvement projects that are completely co-created with local inhabitants. He shared his experiences with regard to the complexities of his approach as the local community is not just involved in the design of the projects, but also actively participates in building the physical results.
Juan Jose Consejo Duenas, Director of INSO, explained how the quality of water is essential for the well being of the people of Oaxaca. He shared his concern on how the focus on economic growth seduces local policy makers to make decisions that have disastrous impact on the water infrastructure and thus the water quality in the city. But also how the citizens of the city, who are mostly from the regional indigenous peoples, are slowly losing their traditional connection with and thus respect for nature.
Carlos Hernandez, Director/Founder of Fundacion En Via, explains how his micro financing foundation works. He generates money from tourist tours, that is being used to provide local women with a micro credit. This credit is interest free, but the participants are obliged to follow all sorts of very practical courses on money-management, basic business management and so forth. En Via has a succes rate of 98% (98% of the loans are paid back completely). Carlos also further explains how the success of these local women trickles down in the rest of their communities.
Salime Harp, Director/Founder of Studio Xaquixe, is a designer. She set up (among others) a traditional glassworks studio for women, that processes used glass and creates designs that combine traditional forms with modern twists.
All wonderful, compelling stories of local, social entrpreneurs that are seeking for growth of wellbeing of their personal communities, but are looking for alternative, sustainable ways to do so.
More small reports will follow in the coming weeks.