Trolling, smear campaigns and hate posts are depressing. But there are a few rays of hope online, and Warless World is one of them. It’s a social network that brings together people and companies that want to make a difference and support initiatives that need a helping hand. It is already one year old and, I believe, deserves more attention.
“We aim high and say: We want to make the world a better place. Help is something we should be more generous with, and every good deed makes the world that little bit better.” These are the words of my colleague Roland Philippi. He’s a talented young employee at Deutsche Telekom on a cooperative study program for business IT. Roland is 21 and, when he’s not studying, he works on big data and business intelligence for the company and on new initiatives – like Warless World, for example. Warless World is a platform that gets volunteers, and people and companies wanting to make a difference, in touch with social organizations. The goal is to arrange care for the disabled, integrate refugees, collect donations, and provide help for child welfare organizations, food banks, relief workers, and railway missions.
A counterweight to hate and exclusion
Warless World is now one year old. For me, its story could simply read: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” Roland Philippi is driven by the desire to achieve positive change. And my response to that is: “Well done!” I’m impressed, and delighted, by what he does: a young colleague who doesn’t just accept things as they are; who wants to make a difference without the “trolls that snipe from the sidelines and ridicule everything”; who wants to take others by the hand and create a counterweight to hate and exclusion; and who has established a “truly social network.” The network already boasts upward of 90 members, and I sincerely hope there will soon be many more.
Roland Philippi was only 15 years old when he laid the foundations for the online network. But, with high school, exams and graduation to get through, he hardly had an opportunity to build on it. In 2015, just after starting his studies, an e-mail arrived from the United Nations that really got the ball rolling. His website had come to the UN’s attention and the organization invited him to attend an international conference on the World Humanitarian Day (19th of August).
“That really blew me over,” he says. A meeting with people from all over the world who were committed to making a difference, a wide array of different religions and nationalities represented, and a day totally focused on humanitarian concerns and activities. “We were a group of people with the same thoughts, who shared our ideas on how to counter hate posts, for instance, and gave each other tips,” he explains. “I returned to Germany totally inspired and with the will to make Warless World grow.”
He quickly found allies among his fellow students – Chris Pingel, Sebastian Banschbach and Kay König – and a home at Deutsche Telekom that goes by the name of “Verantwortung gewinnt” (Responsibility wins). The latter is a competition for trainees and students at Deutsche Telekom. It gives them an opportunity to use their skills for the public good above and beyond their vocational training and cooperative study courses.
The team expanded the website with the support of Deutsche Telekom experts, ensuring data privacy, cyber security and a whole lot more in the process. “No matter who we approached within the company, they were only too willing to help us,” says Philippi. One obstacle the team had to overcome was a certain hesitation on the part of social welfare organizations: “Many of those we contacted were skeptical. They claimed they didn’t need anything ‘newfangled’ and would rather stick with their tried-and-tested methods,” says Philippi. But there were those who saw great potential in the marketing of charitable institutions and initiatives.
Warless World has already been honored with two awards: in 2017, the tbd* portal ranked it one of Germany’s 50 Best Social Innovators, and Deutsche Telekom named it one of the top six projects in its “Responsibility wins” competition.
The positive response has strengthened the team in its resolve: “We have established strong partnerships and come up with numerous ways to ensure the long-term growth of Warless World. We firmly believe this platform is the seed from which a great future can grow.”
Congratulations, Warless World!
This is what www.warless-world.org makes possible
Interested parties and those committed to making a difference:
- Experience the many facets of volunteer work and community involvement
- Be inspired by other people
- Reach out to others who think like you and also want to do good
- Share your own experiences (through posts)
- Find out about the work and activities of other users and institutions
- Interact with other users (likes, comments, posts)
- Find charity events in your neighborhood
- Find calls for assistance from organizations and provide support exactly where it is needed. That way, small institutions and organizations that don’t have the budget or the funds for expensive campaigns can find help and new supporters.
Social welfare organizations:
- Offer insights into what they do
- Advertise their own events
- Publish vacant positions and calls for assistance
- Establish direct contact with those committed to making a difference
- Find supporters for their work
- Integrate Warless World into their own corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy
- Encourage their employees to do something for the community
- Enhance networking between company employees
- Organize joint initiatives for a good cause
- Express appreciation for their employees
- Build a social wall that showcases and praises the social commitment and endeavors of employees
(source: Warless World)