In November 2013, the first CAN conference was held in Jerusalem – A unique and first of its kind conference aimed at presenting innovative ways to eradicate poverty and to extract families from the cycle of poverty with minimal costs while utilizing existing community resources and services. The conference was initiated by Shoulder to Shoulder Organization and brought together for the first time hundreds of participants from various medias including representatives from the Ministry of Welfare, local councils, Philanthropic Funds, business people and third sector Organizations from all over Israel who came together to discuss the most effective ways to eradicate and reduce poverty in Israeli society
The participants discussed the various means used today in Israel to treat poverty and presented various effective, economical alternatives that can be used to help families escape the cycle of welfare dependency and to embark on a new life of financial independence. The main speakers included Doron Shorer – the First International Bank, Prof. Yona Rosenfeld – Advisor to the Minister of Welfare, Roi Assaf – Head of Social Development Department of the Minority sector of the Prime Minister Office, Prof. Michal Kromer Nevo – Ben Gurion University and more
The words of Yehuda Am Shalem, the Founder to Shoulder to Shoulder, summarize well the main vision of the conference: "the current method of poverty treatment in Israeli, of handing out donations and food baskets, must be changed. Families in distress should receive multi-disciplinary counseling and a long-term work plan that will assist them in escaping the cycle of poverty. The conference is a first landmark marking a change in the way poverty is perceived in Israel, and enabling all involved in the field to discuss the matter in a productive and frank manner and to conceive long lasting solutions for the benefit of families in distress"
During the conference a unique exhibition was held, in which artists from Shoulder-to-Shoulder graduate families displayed their diverse work. These included a sesame artist, a dress designer, confectioner, a headscarf designer, Judaica artist and more
Following the success of the fist CAN Conference, efforts are underway to host the second CAN Conference, which is scheduled to take place in November 2015. The topic of this year's conference, which is carried out in collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality, The Welfare Ministry and Bituach Leumi, is "Innovative Approaches for Poverty Intervention". The conference will present the latest developments and approaches in the field of poverty and poverty extraction, and will bring together individuals dedicated to the subject from various fields: professionals, decision makers, researchers, third sector representatives, philanthropies and more.
The main guiding principle of the conference is to recruit one of Israel's most valuable resources – technological development, for one of the most pressing topic on the Israeli agenda – the poverty epidemic which penetrates every layer of society. The State of Israel is a world leader in technological innovation, entrepreneurship and star-up creativity and is home to R&D centers of some of the world's leading high tech companies. We believe these abilities can and should be utilized towards the battle against poverty and that Israel's technological entrepreneurship excellence should be recruited in a manner that will encourage innovative thinking for the benefit of persons living in poverty
The dialogue will be promoted through the following question: how can entrepreneurship in general and specifically technological entrepreneurship be advanced, in a manner that will contribute to finding solutions to the poverty problem? This question and the resulting discourse will constitute the opening shot of the conference and will be followed by joint discussions and collaborations of all involved
Possible initiatives to be discussed in the conference
- Establishing a technological greenhouse to support entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to combat poverty
- Collaborations with academic researchers to define and clarify the problems and carrying out research to examine the success of available responses.
- New funding resources for poverty-intervention technological initiatives (social debentures, government funding, crowd funding, cooperatives,etc
- Recruiting government offices to implement processes and innovative solutions for fighting poverty
The conference will be carried out in collaboration with Tech for Good, a company advancing initiatives making use of technological tools in creative manners for the purpose of dealing with social gaps. Tech for Good is active in recruiting the people, knowledge and entrepreneurial DNA of the high tech industry for the benefit of initiatives providing innovative solutions for pressing social issues. Tech for Good is active in various initiatives in a wide variety of fields such as elderly persons, children obesity, narrowing social gaps and more
An updated timetable with a list of speakers will be published soon