Question#1 What was your company’s distinctive strategy for incorporating technology to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal?

Pelagoo’s strategy for incorporating technology to meet SDG 6 was a simple yet cost-effective solution in order to monitor water quality on a regular basis in remote island communities. Through monitoring the quality of the spring water, we ensure that local residents can consume it and reduce the single-use plastic bottles that were transferred to the island and contributed to the ocean pollution. What made this solution very desirable from Lefkada’s municipality is the savings on the travel cost.

Pelagoo’s strategy defined into 4 key pillars:

Collaboration: Local authorities-community- Academia-local SME

Accessibility: Empowering the human right to free potable water

Sustainability: Reduce plastic bottles imported to the community

Localization: Preserves local cultural heritage not only as part of the island’s architectural style but also as a meeting point for the locals.

Our approach enables the local authority to make informed decisions, drive efficiency and benefit the community.

Question#2 What challenges did you face while working on your project/ initiative, and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenges were in community engagement. First of all, we had to plan a complete strategy from the beginning. It’s very hard for every project to explain exactly, especially in small communities, the personal benefits to every local and encourage their motivation. Pelagoo had to be very flexible and respond proactively and reactively to community needs and the direction of the feedback. We organized an event where all voices were heard equally. Community members can become disillusioned with the process if they see their input is not being taken and their feedback isn’t considered or actioned. They are likely to feel anger and not reengage with your organization. As a result, managing expectations of how much input the community has in the final decision-making process is therefore paramount. So, the community chose the final architectural structure of the springs, and they were involved in shaping the final process.

Question#3 How did you involve local communities and stakeholders in your work, and what was their response?

Our approach has always centered around community engagement and stakeholder involvement. We firmly believe that local communities and stakeholders are essential partners in driving meaningful change and achieving our goals.

To involve local communities, we adopt a participatory approach, actively seeking their input and involving them in decision-making processes. This is why we suggest three different proposals to the locals for the architecture redesign of the water springs, adjusted not to be different from the local existing architecture perspective of the island. We conduct regular community consultations and knowledge-sharing sessions to ensure their voices are heard and their perspectives are considered. By working closely with local authorities and residents, we build trust, and create a sense of shared responsibility. Through our partnerships with stakeholders, we have built trust, fostered collaboration, and created a collective impact.

Question#4 Which organizational skills and assets can be harnessed to provide its goods/services without negative environmental and social impacts?

Our focus is on research, innovation, and insight into the matter. We empower small communities to develop sustainable solutions that mitigate environmental harm. By constantly exploring innovative approaches, we ensure that our proposal is designed with a strong commitment to the environment and to support island communities with smart innovations. Which effectively empowers them.

Additionally, our extensive network of partnerships is a valuable asset. We collaborate with local communities and authorities, academia, and NGOs to ensure that our initiatives are responsible and culturally sensitive. This collaborative approach allows us to tap into diverse perspectives and collective knowledge to address social and environmental challenges effectively.

Furthermore, transparency and accountability are embedded in our mentality. We prioritize open communication and roundtable discussions with all the stakeholders, as we strongly believe that this will ensure we have awareness of all the potential to complete a project.

Question#5 What is the role of businesses, governments, and civil society in achieving the SDGs, and how can they work together?

Each and every one of them plays a crucial role in achieving the SDGs, and their collaboration is essential for driving sustainable development. Collaboration and cooperation among these stakeholders are crucial for driving meaningful change and creating a sustainable future.

Businesses have the ability to drive economic growth and innovation, making them key players in sustainable development. In addition, governments have a crucial role in creating an enabling policy and they can establish frameworks and regulations that encourage businesses to adopt sustainable practices by mobilizing resources and providing infrastructure. One of the greatest strengths of islands, particularly small islands, is that effective decisions can be taken quickly. With an effective governance function, people can be encouraged to become engaged in the formulation and implementation of policies and projects. This opportunity for cross government collaboration provides a fertile environment for smart and sustainable solutions.

Question#6 What impact has your project had, and what are your future goals?

The most notable impact is the increased awareness and engagement of community members. The importance of preserving their natural resources is their main focus area. The community is facing remarkable transformations where community members have become actively involved in conservation efforts, sustainable practices, and decision making processes to protect the island’s majesty.

We, as Pelagoo, commit to support them in developing their skills and knowledge to build fairer and more resilient societies. Our belief is that islands provide a prime opportunity for large-scale demonstration projects. They offer a defined location to demonstrate the art of the possible.

With the right partners, we want to build even stronger collaboration to create successful use cases in island communities. One of our strong partners in the scope of smart islands is the Pleiades Innovation Cluster, which has an eco-systematic approach in order to create innovative solutions using new technologies.

Question#7 What advice do you have for individuals/organizations seeking to create positive change and contribute to the SDGs?

Positive change starts with individual actions. Each step, no matter how small, contributes to the greater goal of achieving the SDGs. Together, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

The journey towards achieving the SDGs is filled with new challenges and mistakes are part of the process. Mistakes are valuable learning opportunities that can lead to positive impact and a better mindset and, in the end, contribute to the best version. Setting goals that are within the area of expertise of your team is a key point. Furthermore, strengthen partnerships and collaborations.

Collaborative efforts will amplify the impact at all levels. Spreading awareness and knowledge, as well as network expansion. Additionally, we all need to embrace creativity as part of innovation. New approaches are always welcomed to address challenges. At last, progress, successes and failures must be communicated with the network that supports the project.

Question#8 How would receiving this SDG Award help you improve your impact and scale your project?

Winning the SDG Award would be a transformative milestone for our project, empowering us towards greater impact and scalability. The recognition and validation that come with this prestigious award would enhance our credibility and reputation, introducing new partnerships, funding opportunities, and resources. The recognition and notability generated by the award would expand our reach and attract a broader audience to our cause, amplifying our message and creating a ripple effect of positive change. Moreover, the networking opportunities provided by the SDG Award community would enable us to connect with like-minded innovators, experts, and potential collaborators, fostering knowledge sharing and collaboration for even greater impact.