There are numerous ways to raise your awareness about the challenges facing your neighbors, your country, and the global community. In this age of constant media, ignorance as to the state of the world implies a certain level of laziness; after all, everything you need to know is at your fingertips online. But where to start? You want to make sure that you get your information from a credible source, not from an entity that has the capacity to benefits from misleading the public.

This is where the Social Progress Imperative steps in.

The Social Progress Imperative’s mission is to advance global human well being, by combining national social performance and capacity indicators with solutions-oriented outreach to sector leaders, and grassroots champions, who together can effect large-scale change. Social progress is defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential. This organization is working towards understanding the development of global well being. Recognizing that economic growth has a direct impact on quality of life social indicators but is not fully responsible for social progress, this organization is seeking to a better capture an understanding of what does and doesn’t work on a global scale.

Hence, the Social Progress Index.

Assessing 52 indicators of social and environmental needs such as Opportunity, Basic Human Needs, and Foundations Of Well Being, the Index scores and ranks 50 countries on these three factors which comprise each country’s overall Social Progress Index measure. The index measures themselves may not be surprising (Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, and Germany comprise the top five countries while Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Mozambique, and Rwanda round out the bottom five). Nevertheless, the index becomes most fascinating when you begin to evaluate the ranking of countries for specific measures within each of the three categories. For example, Mozambique, 47th overall, ranked 22nd in personal safety. Alternatively, while Canada was fourth overall, it only came in as 15th on the air, water, and sanitation measure. The United States, sixth overall, came in at seventh place under Basic Human Needs and 16th place on Foundations Of Well Being; it ranked so highly overall due to its first place ranking under Opportunity.

Why is this helpful? So many of the problems that exist in our global community can be solved (or at the very least improved) by countries working together. Our governments attempt this but only when it suits them; it is therefore up to non-government organizations and people as individuals to reach out and build a stronger global community by sharing information, techniques, and generating new ideas and new solutions for our ever-changing planet.

For more information and to empower yourself to be aware of what is really going on in the world in an objective, honest assessment, visit www.socialprogressimperative.org.