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Remy Siegrist is a man on a mission and his mission is to get you to join his superb crusade and become a Citizen Of Our World. This innovative non-profit association, Citizen Of Our World, was founded in 2009 in Geneva. Its purpose is simple, to encourage everyone to contribute to the well-being of disadvantaged people. He very kindly gave this interview, where he shares his hopes, dreams and aspirations for the association.

Sunita Sehmi

Sunita Sehmi: Why did you start COOW?

Remy Siegrist: For years I was a donator for various associations, I travelled a lot and what I saw strengthened my belief; that this world needs support from non-profit associations and foundations.  But times have changed and just asking people to contribute, not taking in consideration the need for transparency, feedback and results was a definite barrier. So I started to think about new solutions that could answer my concerns. Of course being Swiss I thought one way could be to implement a system of democracy and voting. This subsequently inspired me to combine these 3 factors. I then shared my idea with several trusted individuals and their reactions convinced me to move forward. My initial questions were:

Why not give all citizens the possibility to contribute even if it is a small amount?

Why not let people decide where and how the money will be used?

Why not allow citizens to be part of the control mechanism?

As result COOW was born!

Very quickly I found volunteers coming from diverse backgrounds including NGOs and we created Citizen Of Our World. Luckily we had no problem to be recognized as a non-profit organization by the state of Geneva.

Sunita Sehmi: What is COOW about?

Remy Siegrist: COOW is a distinctive social platform for anyone who wants to be part of a wider community and contribute to a better world. Its uniqueness is that you pay the amount you want, minimum 10 sfr or 10 euros/ etc. and then you become an active citizen for one year. You can vote on a regular basis, on education, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and mental health projects. Being part of the COOW community will allow you to; follow the progress of the elected project on the platform; visit the project locations; propose projects or connect people who have projects and blog about your preferred field. COOW is almost unique and exceptional in its approach, and IMD confirmed this by selecting us as one of the start-ups in 2014.

Sunita Sehmi: Why is philanthropy so important for you?

Remy Siegrist: As a Swiss citizen I realized early on in my life how much privileged I was. For many of us we had a great head start in terms of lifestyle and education, therefore it seems to me very natural to give something back. From an early age I was involved in helping others, this is not a coincidence as my professional area is also in the field of people development. I have travelled a lot for professional reasons and for leisure. In every location I was very mindful of the local conditions, and very often I asked myself, what could I do to help? My genuine belief is we can all contribute, individually or collectively as a company looking for an innovative approach to CSR.

Sunita Sehmi: Describe the challenges for the people you support in COOW.

Remy Siegrist: The challenge is to recommend appropriate projects that will trigger an interest in members and to make their project and us visible in their community. If chosen, these projects are then fed into the web with the relevant information, photos and videos so as to keep all citizens informed about the progress.

Sunita Sehmi: Who’s involved in COOW?

Remy Siegrist: COOW has been running for 4 years, the first few years we tested the concept, and a year ago we set up the web platform. We have around 15 volunteers but currently no paid employees. We have 7 board members, and 2 clusters.  A project team cluster and a communication cluster.

Sunita Sehmi: How can people get involved?

Remy Siegrist: This is probably the most important question! There are indeed various possibilities; it starts by having a look at our web site, you will see how much we have already achieved with modest resources. Subsequently, you can become a citizen by creating an account and become active. You can also help us in Geneva by joining one of our clusters. You can promote our unique concept via your network locally, globally and virtually, with the aim to make our accomplishments visible. Another way you could get involved is to become a local ambassador and also help us to detect potential ambassadors abroad. Finally, assist us in finding sponsors to maintain our presence, visibility and become THE Social Humanitarian Platform for the future.

Sunita Sehmi: What’s the next challenge for COOW?

Remy Siegrist: As we have already a positive track record, a powerful humanitarian social network tools and several projects in the pipeline, now our chief challenge is to actively seek new citizens. The objective is clear, to reach a critical mass that will enable us to make our project sustainable for the future.

We hope as we are close to the end of the year you will invite your friends or give them this gift to join Citizen Of Our World and participate towards a long but positive journey toward a better world…


Reference: Please do not hesitate to contact Remy Siegrist President of COOW: http://coow.org/contact-us


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Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.

During her 25 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.

In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.