Interview with François Prouteau, President of Fondacio
David : You are coming, François, to talk to us about the ecological issue. Are there any solutions?
François Prouteau : Around the world, initiatives are multiplying to show the way, initiate profound changes in behavior and share research on new practices. But no one really has a turnkey solution.
D. : Which initiatives, for example?
F.: I’m thinking of the Convergences World Forum, which was held at the Palais Brongniart in Paris for its 12th edition on September 5 and 6, and Fondacio was one of the partners.
D.: What is convergence?
F.: Founded in 2008, the Convergences World Forum brings together more than 5,000 professionals every year to discuss and share solutions to reduce inequalities, fight against climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. The originality lies in the explanation of the term “Convergences”. Convergence of what? I would say “Triple Zero” convergences. Indeed, the objective is “Zero exclusion, zero carbon and zero poverty”; “Triple zero” means convergence and interconnection in action for a world without exclusion, zero carbon and zero poverty.
D. And Fondacio in all this?
F.: Fondacio is one of the international technical partners and took part in the editions in Colombia and the Philippines a few months ago.
The reduction of poverty, the fight against exclusion and the preservation of the environment are major issues common to Fondacio and Convergences. In Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fondacio has implemented projects to build a more humane and fairer world while respecting our common home: the Earth. Will Fondacio’s Laudato Si centers ever be labeled #3Zero? Why not! It would be a great way to restore value to zero, the basis of integral ecology.
D.: Do you have a concrete example of a project?
F.: Julia Naw was invited alongside Yan Arthus Bertrand and Frédérique Bedos to present her project during the closing evening of the Convergences World Forum last Friday: Youth We Can! Young people are committed to the climate.
Julia is a former student of the Fondacio Asia Training Institute.
Young people in his country, Myanmar / Burma, are looking for jobs to earn money: they want to work in big companies but many are destroying the planet, especially in the mining industry. In addition, women had fewer educational and employment opportunities; many have migrated illegally for work and taken on dangerous jobs and have even been trafficked as brides and sex workers overseas.
Julia’s training at Fondacio gave her the courage to start a social enterprise around sustainable fashion. She began to train herself and others in sewing. Then came the creation of Youn Sone . Youn Sone means colorful in the Burmese language, to show harmony in the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, ages, religions and personal histories. Youn Sone’s goal is to empower young people with the skills to become self-sufficient without destroying culture, traditions and mother earth. Sustainable fashion products are sold locally and in Europe.
At Fondacio, Julia also became a trainer for other young people on how to develop income-generating projects focused on sustainable development and business. Today, these young people are beginning to take their responsibilities and their creativity to find solutions that promote zero exclusion, zero carbon that can lead to zero poverty. In turn, they create new products by recycling old plastic or fabric objects.
For Julia, the important thing is to go back to her roots, to learn from the wisdom of indigenous peoples, where culture and traditions live in harmony with nature.
Thus, Youn Sone products are developed to bridge the gap between rich and poor, modern and traditional, AND above all, to connect people and the environment.