Bloomberg Philanthropies supports the innovative solutions of 15 cities in an effort to encourage others to adopt them as blueprints for solving the world’s urban problems.
The Global Mayors Challenge’s winners were announced Tuesday. They come from 13 countries and will make the solutions available for cities worldwide to copy. Each winner will receive $1 million and technical assistance from the philanthropic organization of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to help them develop and expand their programs. They include using technology to support tree preservation in Sierra Leone and creating new farm models for the Philippines. Also, they address the opioid crisis in New Jersey by establishing a public/private partnership that quickly delivers opioid overdose medication.
Bloomberg, the billionaire founder and CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. said that cities can develop innovative ideas as the world deals with the severe economic and public health consequences of the ongoing pandemic. Our 15 winners offer bold, achievable strategies to improve health, reduce unemployment and empower women, among other things. Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul Mayor said that the Turkish winning programme was inspired by the tradition called askida Ekmek. This means bread on the hook and dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Customers would pay extra bread, which bakers would place on the hook to let customers know that it was available.
Imamoglu turned the idea into a network for mutual aid, which allows recipients and donors to remain anonymous. He said that the pay it forward program created a sense if solidarity among Istanbulans, no matter if they were giving or receiving. It comes amid high consumer prices in Turkey, which have made it difficult to purchase basic goods.
The program began with utility bills. Anyone who wanted to help could check a city website to see the amount of water and natural gas bills they needed to pay.
Imamoglu stated that the programme has paid approximately $14 million in utility bills since its inception last January. Istanbul’s program has since been expanded to include scholarships and packages that support mothers and children.
I’m very happy to have the opportunity to introduce such a program because this project, it could go on forever, it can be sustainable and renewable,” Imamoglu said to The Associated Press through an interpreter. He added that if it was adopted by other cities around world, he would feel like a powerful angel. James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation Programmes Director, stated that the organisation has high expectations for Istanbul’s programme, as it is government acting as a platform for people to be good neighbours. Anderson stated that it was difficult to choose from the 50 finalists who created programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anderson stated that the winners represent the spirit and legacy of city innovation that has emerged from a very, very difficult time.
Kim Norton, Rochester, Minnesota mayor, said that she wanted the city’s plan to be bold. The Mayo Clinic, the $5.6 billion public-private Destination Medical Center, decided to address two major issues: a shortage of workers and a lack of jobs for women from color, who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
They found that only 1% of Destination Medical Center’s construction jobs went to women of color, despite the fact that they make up 13%. Rochester’s program supports the industry to hire women from color. It offers mentorship, training, support, and even child care. Norton stated that it is vital for my community’s businesses to succeed that they have a workforce that can repair our streets, build a new building, and, most importantly, build affordable housing. We know that this is not an isolated need. Rochester’s lessons could be applied to other cities when it comes to the $1.2 trillion in infrastructure spending bills that will fund all construction jobs.
Karen Martinez, a field office assistant at the Education Minnesota union, stated that she has a 12-year-old girl and that she hopes to see the program and have a different view of herself. People often find it difficult to change their mindsets. Once you have a path, once there is a model, once people have been through it, your mindset will change. The complete list of winners is: Amman, Jordan, Bogot, Colombia, Butuan, Philippines, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Hermosillo Mexico, Istanbul, Turkey, Kigali Rwanda, Kumasi Ghana, Paterson, New Jersey, Phoenix, Rochester, Minnesota, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Rourkela India; Vilnius Lithuania; Wellington, New Zealand.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.