An alternative approach to education has long existed, but in the last decade, collaborations between non-profit student-support organizations and public schools have fostered a model called "Last-Chance Schools" with remarkable success among the population served: high-school students who dropped out, often for reasons related to economic disadvantages, unaddressed mental health challenges, violence and unstable home lives. As several Boston charter schools demonstrate with "last-chance" programs, though, use of social-emotional learning, conflict-mediation instead of zero-tolerance discipline, and flexible curricula based on "what you know," has helped over 65% of their students graduate -- with 70% going on to college -- and boasts one of the lowest suspension rates in Massachusetts.
Japan has a rapidly aging country, to help combat present and future ramifications it has implemented "Smart Wellness City Comprehensive Special Zones to Achieve Health and Longevity" to encourage and reward healthy living. So far it has resulted in citizens leading more active lives, BMI decreases for those who had a BMI of over 25, and lower medical costs.
The USA is seeing rising maternal mortality rates in recent years, it shows higher rates than most developed countries, in part due to the country's lack of attention to women's health. California is reversing this trend through their California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) which analyzes data and then uses it to make recommendations and 'tool kits' for hospitals to be prepared should an emergency arise in childbirth.
ParkRx, as one of many new programs spanning several states, allow doctors to give out Park Prescriptions to their patients in order to encourage them to go to parks and get physical activity. THese programs are a way to encourage exercise, open patient and doctor dialogues, and reduce the use of medications or procedures.
The economic development and growth all along the West coast has been a boon for such organizations as Amazon, Apple, and myriad tech start-ups, but the population increase has also contributed to skyrocketing housing costs, pushing thousands onto the streets in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and many others; in response, organizations like Olympia, WA, non-profit Panza have developed a novel approach to sheltering homeless residents, a vital first step in the process of reintegrating them with society. With an affordable land lease from the county, and financial support from the state and local community organizations, Panza created a "tiny-house village" where 30 individual beds, toilets and sinks -- each within a single "tiny-house" -- has offered space, safety and support for 61 individuals to overcome their financial hardships and find jobs and housing on their own.
Given climate change, population pressures, and mobilization epidemics are only going to occur more frequently, and past ones have proven to be disastrous and expensive. The Center for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is focused on developing vaccines to viruses such as ebola, as well as creating a fast approval path for future vaccines and help increase global preparedness for future epidemics.
Kentucky is rethinking its penal system for dealing with drug offenders and has shown success in reducing recidivism and relapse rates. Instead of leaving addicts to languish in the typical jailhouse environment of "extortion, violence and tedium," more than two dozen of the state's county jails have created separate units devoted to full-time addiction treatment and support-services for prisoners that involve peer-policing.
Many young people turn to drug use without sufficient support systems. A group of ex-users of narcotics formed a football team, providing social support, a distraction and excersise which is proven to aid in recovery from drug use.
CityTree doesn't resemble the typical tree, but it provides the environmental benefit of 275: essentially a vertical moss garden, this structure, designed for urban landscaping by the German start-up "Green City Solutions," filters air, cools the surrounding environment and removes CO2 and harmful air pollutants plaguing many of the world's large cities. Since the first installation of a CityTree in Brussels four years ago, more than 20 cities have hired GCS to build the relatively cost- and space-efficient (9'x13') "trees," and the micro-sensors on the sides of the structures provide realtime measurements evidencing their advantages for air quality and pollution control.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is working to implement maternal and newborn child health programs in East Africa. Though the project has incorporated a wide-range of initiatives, many of them have relied on a single underlying principle that has proven to be effective: the empowerment of local women.
In rural villages like Ndomoni, access to water is paramount to community development, and locals are the first to recognize that other issues such as maternal health cannot be addressed until there is clean drinking water. The installation of a central borehole well is not only providing the village access to water, is has freed up the many hours a day women and girls spent fetching water from other distant sources, allowing them to stay in school, attend to the health of the family, and pursue other business.
Air pollution is a major health risk, and growing in severity as more of the population moves to urban (more polluted areas). University friends from Germany have created a "CityTree," which filters toxic pollutants from the air with the power of moss that can be installed around cities.
To help patients deal with the legal problems in their life that might be contributing to their illness, about 300 health care systems around the country have set up medical-legal collaborations to help patients solve legal problems that can affect their health — at little or no cost to the patients.
Respiratory diseases caused by air pollution now account for more premature deaths in people worldwide than malaria and HIV combined. To address increasing contamination levels, particularly in cities, scientists have developed a new kind of cement that absorbs pollutants like CO2. The special cement is being manufactured in Milan, and used around in the world in cities like Paris and Chicago.
8 million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year, and it litters the beaches of Haiti, clogging canals and causing sanitation issues. But there is potential in collecting and recycling this plastic - even creating an industry out of it. A social entrepreneur from Executives Without Borders partnered with Haiti Recycling to streamline processes, increase efficiency, scale, and sustainably monetize the collecting and recycling of plastic waste through a new organization, Ramase Lajan. When oil prices tanked and the recycling centers struggled to maintain a profit, social enterprise Thread stepped in to take up the plastic, turning it into fabric to make socially responsible goods for sale around the world and bounce back the Haitian recycling industry.
The country of Jordan has one of the scarcest water supplies of any country on earth - one that can barely sustain its population, especially with Syrian refugees pouring in and further straining limited resources. Poor piping infrastructure and leaks greatly contribute to the shortage. An organization called Water Wise Women is training women in plumbing skills, empowering them to repair leakages in their homes and communities to help save precious water.
Nearly a billion people living in the arid regions of the Himalayas depend on glaciers for their water supply. But with climate change, glaciers have been retreating drastically every year, threatening the life source of villagers like those in the Ladakh region of Kashmir. One engineer, Sonam Wangchuck, has come up with an ingenious feat of engineering to help the villages store glacier water by constructing stupas - or towers - using thorn branches that retain ice in tall structures, which melts and provides clean water for drinking and agriculture during the dry season.
For decades, Franklin County's comprehensive healthcare plan has kept its residents some of the healthiest people in Maine despite being some of the poorest as well. Now, Oregon is looking to do the same.
Fariel Salahuddin was determined to tackle the extreme lack of access to fresh water she encountered in rural Pakistani communities, but she wanted the model to be sustainable, not dependent on donations. Most of the communities didn't have regular access to rupees to help sustain their solar water pump micro-enterprises - what they did have, however, were goats. Salahuddin set up a scheme where villagers could pay for their clean water access with livestock instead of cash, which she then sells using Facebook at high rates during Muslim festivals to generate a sustainable revenue source.
A at Deakin University’s School of Engineering in Australia has developed a world-first technology 3D printer prototype capable of printing plumbing and sanitation supplies using discarded plastics - and what's more, it runs on solar power. They are partnering with NGO Plan International to implement this technology in the Solomon Islands, where locals will be taught to print the parts they need, thereby solving the dual problems of plastic rubbish and a lack of access to vital mechanical parts for clean water supply. The model enables these communities with their own tools to solve their own problems, and could have endless applications as the technology evolves.
CIMAvax, a new lung cancer treatment based in Cuba, has proved to stop and reduce the growth of tumors. Although it's not FDA regulated, many Americans are turning to the therapeutic drug in hopes of reducing the effects of cancer.
Jason Friesen, a paramedic from the US who was serving in Haiti after the earthquake, realized that many poor communities in the Caribbean do not have any equivalent to the American 911 emergency medical service, and delays in ambulance response times meant more deaths. But what they do have are mobile phones, and Friesen realized he could help these communities to set up emergency response systems through the use of volunteers and a simple text message exchange. Now, his organization Trek Medics simplifies the emergency dispatch system and is saving numerous lives in rural communities.
Most police departments train their officers how to shoot their guns rather than how to problem solve without the use of force. A Minneapolis police department has learned how to de-escalate conflict. By incorporating communication and listening skills for de-escalation, the police department has seen a decrease in the use of force.
The Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence in Quebec has expanded rapidly, becoming a model for programs around the world. What sets it apart from projects in Europe and the United States is that it confronts extremism of all stripes — not just Islamist — and focuses on behavior that signals the risk of violence, not just radical ideas, only involving law enforcement as a last resort.
Police agencies in thirty-four different states offer little or no training in diffusing conflicts, resulting in an overuse of force and a sense of mistrust from the communities they serve. Some cities in the United States have integrated training in de-escalation and have seen a decrease in the use of force as well as an increase in community trust. However not every police agency in the country is convinced this training is needed.