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News | General | 07 October 2022

No sustainable social development without cooperation – our Managing Director Dr. Nina Smidt at the Foundation Day 2022

Dr. Nina Smidt with Minister Svenja Schulze at the panel discussion on SDGs and climate in the year of the war against Ukraine and the German G7 presidency.
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Dr. Smidt moderated the panel: Social enterprises create e-mobility “Made in Africa” with Daniel Bongardt, Valerie Labi, Mikael Gange, and Latiff Cherono.
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Dr. Smidt with Dorothea Sick-Thies, Ilham Habibie, and Christiane Grefe at panel discussion.
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(L-R) Klaus Grünfelder, Marah Köberle, Dr. Smidt, and Daniel Bongardt at the foundation day.
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Three days with over 130 different events, exchanges and dialogs provided the perfect platform for the German foundations to come together on the extremely important topic of sustainability for the future at this year’s Foundation Day (28.09.2022-30.09.2022) in Leipzig. Sustainability was the overarching theme of all the discussions with an emphasis on the role foundations can play to cultivate and promote it in their areas of work.

Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board, Siemens Stiftung and member of the Advisory Board of the Association of German Foundations, participated in a panel discussion on the topic: SDGs and climate in the year of the war against Ukraine and the German G7 presidency with Svenja Schulze, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Dorothea Sick-Thies, entrepreneur and founder of Protect the Planet and Ilham Habibie, Founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Habibie Center Foundation (Indonesia).

Svenja Schulze said: “A future without sustainability is no longer possible. Today BMZ and foundations are working side by side. Current global challenges can only be solved through international cooperation. That’s why we need to join forces with you as philanthropists. Let’s work together. We remain a reliable partner for international development.”

The panel concluded on a unanimous note, calling for stronger international collaboration and networks for sustainable social development.

Dr. Smidt moderated the hybrid panel discussion on the topic: Social enterprises create e-mobility “Made in Africa” on 29.09. Daniel Bongardt, Program Director, Transport and Climate Change, Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). Valerie Labi, CEO, Ghanaian social enterprise Cargo Bikes Africa, Mikael Gange, Swedish-Kenyan social enterprise Roam and Latiff Cherono, CEO, Makerspace GearBox in Kenya joined the panel.

The African social enterprises participating in the panel emphasized the challenges they face in terms of receiving funding and technical support to scale their impact for the local communities. “There’s no dearth of talent and skills in Africa, but as social enterprises we face roadblocks in terms of securing financial resources to stabilize our enterprises. Partnerships with international organizations and foundations help us widen our impact”, Valerie Labi explained.

“We work very closely with the government. We need the input from startups to understand what is feasible on the ground and then start a conversation between those who innovate and those who regulate”, added Daniel Bongardt.

“This is also exactly the approach we take at Siemens Stiftung,” affirms Dr. Nina Smidt. “Our work is characterized by exchange and cooperation between public and civil society partners, as well as advocacy for sustainability, diversity, equality and participation. What sets us apart is our local partner approach and our work with social enterprises on access to basic services for disadvantaged populations. The discussions at Foundation Day show that we are on the right track here – I am very much looking forward to the joint implementations.”

As a member of the Advisory Board of the Association of German Foundations, Dr. Smidt was part of the jury that awarded Memorial, a Russian human rights organisation with the German Founder’s Prize this year. Memorial also jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 with Ales Bialiatski, a human rights advocate from Belarus and the Center for Civil Liberties, a Ukrainian human rights organisation.