Global Impact Challenge Progress Report

Cardano Foundation + UNHCR Refugee Stake Pool Seeks Impact Partner

The 2022 Cardano Global Impact Challenge introduced the Cardano Foundation’s partnership with Switzerland for UNHCR to establish a charity stake pool. Switzerland for UNHCR is Switzerland’s national branch of the United Nations Refugee Agency. This Switzerland branch is focused on awareness-raising and fundraising for the refugee cause. In support of these efforts, the agency also has an “Innovation” unit, charged with research and experimentation to find new ways to meet their mission.

At the 2023 Cardano Summit in Dubai, Alvaro Cosi, head of innovation and communication at Switzerland for UNHCR, took the main stage to do what he does best: advocate for the refugee cause through education and innovation.

Alvaro posited that much of the world is misinformed, or has mistaken impressions about who refugees really are. Most refugees don’t live in camps. Instead, the vast majority live in urban settings in their host countries. 70% of refugees are hosted by a neighboring country; people who are forced to flee their homes are not usually making a global pilgrimage. The country who hosts the most refugees in the world right now is Turkey. Almost half of refugees are children, and another quarter are women. Sometimes, anti-refugee narratives paint an image of an invading swarm of young men; this is not reflective of the global refugee reality. Millions of refugees are displaced within their own country. The definition of refugee doesn’t require crossing any border, just that people have been forcibly displaced by war, persecution, or natural disasters. Global forced displacement is at an all-time high: 114 Million people are forcibly displaced across the world.

So now we arrive at the topic at hand: Switzerland for UNHCR partnering with the Cardano Foundation to establish a charity stake pool. Alvaro pointed out that Switzerland, being a global hub of blockchain technology, is uniquely fertile ground for this first-of-its-kind experiment. He also pointed out another interesting overlap: many people hold misconceptions about blockchain too. In this way, UNHCR is uniquely qualified to spread good information, with the hope that the full picture about both topics might fuel a combustion effect that propels the whole engine forward.

Here is how the partnership works:

Switzerland for UNHCR works with a technology partner to set up and maintain a Cardano network node - known as a stake pool. If enough ada is staked to the pool, the pool will mint blocks and earn network rewards. These rewards can be cashed out for fiat money and used to fund UNHCR’s mission. To make sure enough ada is staked to the pool, the Cardano Foundation has pledged a portion of its ada holdings to the pool. To make the initiative a success will require others to join the effort as well.

How is it going?

To describe how the first year of this partnership has gone, Alvaro first made it clear where they started: “We had no idea,” he said. They didn’t know what blockchain was, not really, nor how it might be relevant to their mission. This is normal for a new technology, and it highlights the importance of ongoing education to fuel forward momentum.

He reminded us that humanitarian organizations like theirs are not tech companies, and never will be. Therefore, partnerships are critical. He noted that the community they have found with Cardano has been incredible. Obviously the Cardano Foundation kicked off the effort and supports the pool with a generous delegation. Alvaro noted many other partnerships have arisen, from Hosky, to various NFT projects, and more: “So many ideas, we couldn’t try that all at once!”

“I am not a blockchain fan. I am a refugee-solution fan. Though if blockchain can help? I am totally a blockchain fan!” –Alvaro Cosi

What is next?

This first year of the CF partnership with Switzerland for UNHCR is only the beginning. Working together with the Cardano community, they feel they have validated the hypothesis that a blockchain stake pool can be a fundraising tool for humanitarian good. Furthermore, it has opened their eyes to the other possible uses of blockchain for humanitarians: ID and registration apps, and secure, transparent cash transfers are two that have obvious application to the refugee cause.

Call to action

The next step is to scale up. Switzerland for UNHCR is seeking partnerships with financial institutions, large enterprises, and big digital asset holders.

Large, wealthy institutions commonly engage in charitable efforts of some kind; why not by holding Cardano (ada) and staking with UNHCR?

For corporations, this is an opportunity to be at the forefront of innovative corporate social responsibility. By participating in charity staking, businesses can align their brand with cutting-edge technology and social good, enhancing their corporate image and appealing to socially-conscious consumers and investors. Moreover, it represents a unique blend of philanthropy and investment, where funds remain under the control of the corporation while still contributing to a significant cause. This model not only showcases a commitment to global challenges but also demonstrates leadership in adopting new, efficient ways to make a positive impact. In an era where transparency and accountability are increasingly valued, blockchain technology offers an unparalleled level of traceability and openness in charitable endeavors. Engaging in this initiative could set a precedent for others, fostering a community of like-minded entities focused on leveraging their financial power for global betterment.

This is a new frontier, and it makes sense that there will be questions. However, the potential upsides are both material and far-reaching, with transformative possibilities for humanitarian aid, enhanced transparency in fundraising, and a new way to empower and support refugees.

Alvaro summed it up in a few words: “We can’t afford not to try.”

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Thank you for providing a progress report on the Global Impact Challenge by the Cardano Foundation and UNHCR Refugee Stake Pool. Your update on this impactful initiative is truly appreciated. Gratitude for keeping us informed and inviting potential impact partners to join this meaningful collaboration. Online MCA stands as an educational powerhouse, offering you a gateway to a prestigious postgraduate degree.

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