The value of face-to-face meetings for Reach for Change
The value of face-to-face meetings for Reach for Change
FCM’s recent competition to win a gold card with Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM worthy winner: global NPO Reach for Change. An international network of social entrepreneurs with one common goal – to create a better world for children and youth. We sat down with competition winner Sofia Breitholtz to chat about their work and the importance of their travel programme.
Tell us a little more about Reach for Change…
Reach for Change is a not-for-profit that is on a mission to improve the lives of children and youth. We want to see a world where inequality and climate change is combatted and where we can reduce poverty so every child can reach their full potential. We know there are lots of people in the world who have the solutions, but they need access to capacity and network. This is what we provide.'
We call these local change makers ‘social entrepreneurs’. They use business models and principles to create innovative businesses that solve some of our most pressing societal issues. This has the benefit of being both sustainable and purposeful.
Our programs are run by local teams based in seven countries: Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Senegal and Ethiopia. In addition to this, we maintain ecosystem networks and portfolios of program alumni in eleven additional countries across Europe and Africa. Since 2010, we have supported 1,500 social entrepreneurs, reaching over 4.7 million children and youth worldwide.
Empowering local solutions and to find the local grassroots heroes who can address the specific needs of children and youth in that market. For example:
In Sweden, we have issues with rising polarisation and segregation, and youth who risk ending up in criminality instead of reaching their full potential. One of our entrepreneurs in Sweden – Drömstort – works hard to reach young people who are outside the system, supporting them with their CVs, schoolwork and first jobs.
In Ethiopia, we work with students and young people, supporting them in developing skills in entrepreneurship and business. Our end goal is to help them start green businesses that can be part of transforming the livelihoods of millions of people in Ethiopia, creating green and sustainable jobs.
In Senegal, we work with entrepreneurs who are improving the lives of farmers, their local communities, and children, while having a sustainable impact on the environment. Read more in our Social Impact Report for 2021.
What is the purpose of Reach for Change’s business trips?
As we have a global team, we had to develop digital tools early on. Since we all believe deeply in the power of social entrepreneurs to transform society, we have a great common purpose. However, physical meetings cannot be fully replaced by digital solutions.
When I see my team getting to know each other and sharing their traditions and cultures in person, I really see how important it is to develop personal and professional relationships face-to-face. It is also important for us to build our community, visiting our entrepreneurs and partners across the globe. My trips can take me to Bulgaria to participate in a television show to promote social entrepreneurship, or to Senegal to travel up to a local strawberry farm and visit our entrepreneurs together with our partners. This variation is really enriching.
To solve the many challenges facing society today, we need to work together between sectors and across country borders. We have so much to learn from each other, and a lot to win when it comes to strengthening relationships and collaborations
To solve the many challenges facing society today, we need to work together between sectors and across country borders. We have so much to learn from each other, and a lot to win when it comes to strengthening relationships and collaborations. Many times, that means that we need to develop face-to-face relationships. We are mindful about our travels, but see a great value in being able to attend conferences and similar events outside of Sweden in order to work for this common goal.
Tell us about how FCM Travel enhances your travel programme and end-to-end travel experience?
FCM has always been a great travel partner for our organisation. They reply quickly and with great service and attitude. Most importantly, they understand that because we travel frequently, we have to be mindful of our travel and always find the most economic route. All the money we raise goes towards running our programmes efficiently, and FCM supports us in this – even with the trickiest requests or complicated itineraries.
In fact, yesterday I had an issue with one of my flights to Ethiopia, and one of the FCM colleagues – Sebastian – immediately called me and noted that he had seen an issue in the system before I even had to call. I love this kind of proactiveness.
FCM has always been a great travel partner for our organisation. They reply quickly and with great service and attitude. Most importantly, they understand that because we travel frequently, we have to be mindful of our travel and always find the most economic route.
How has this made a difference in your business/life?
Since all our energy and focus is on creating as much social impact as possible, having the logistics of our travel taken care of – and all our travel arrangements running smoothly – is such a bonus.
What made you choose Air France and KLM when you are travelling?
Air France and KLM are both efficient and reliable airlines. I can rely on them to be on time, and to send timely information ahead of flights and alert us to any potential changes.
Where will your next trip with Air France and KLM go?
I will be travelling to Senegal, and look forward to flying with Air France and KLM again.
How will a Flying Blue Gold Loyalty Card enhance your next trip?
Being able to access lounges and the fast lanes in security really makes my travel experience much more pleasant. I have time to get some work done, take Zoom meetings and plan itineraries for upcoming trips in a much more comfortable and efficient way. It enables me to travel while not losing out on important emails or the time to prepare
Three quickfire questions:
What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
I never check luggage and have come up with an efficient packing routine over the years where everything fits in my carry-on. One thing which I never leave home without is a small, mini down pillow that can fold into my carry-on.
Where is your most treasured place on earth?
I used to live in Botswana, and it is one of the most unique places on earth. It is well worth a visit.
Name one destination on your bucket list?
I would love to go to Bali one day.