Blogs

Starting on the Right Foot—and Staying There

 

There’s no such thing as starting too early when it comes to forming healthy habits, according to the Healthy Beginnings for Preschoolers 2-5 team. They provide resources, training, and guidance to early learning practitioners that help ensure preschoolers are learning healthy eating habits and keeping active from an early age in in British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Quebec.

Activating Empathy to Create Change News Roundup

Finalists will be revealed on 9/3! Until then, we’ve rounded up top stories about empathy making waves as a powerful driver of change in communities. (Photo: NERDS (Native Education Raising Dedicated Students) is a Semi-Finalist of the Building Vibrant Communities challenge and is featured on the Ashoka Changemakers Instagram this week!)

But first, a few announcements:

Rehabilitating Young Offenders: Youth Employment in Kenya

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Fair Observer on July 30, 2014. This interview was conducted by AshokaVickie Wambura Wamonje is the founder of Nafisika Trust, a prison rehabilitation program that seeks to reduce recidivism rates among prison inmates in Kenya.

5 Ways You Can Be A Game Changer For Learning

We have to change the way the next generation of children learn, think and interact with people and the environment (both built and natural).

“This world requires a new paradigm for growing up and therefore also for education,” Bill Drayton wrote last year in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Innovator Insights: Making It Safe to Report Sexual Assault Online

An astonishing 90 percent of assaults are committed by repeat assailants, and only 22 percent of sexual assaults on campuses are reported to authorities, according to estimates. Victims of sexual assault on college and university campuses need a safe space where they can report assailants in a transparent and confidential way —and where they can help put an end to what is often an ongoing cycle.

Innovator Insights: When Jobs Aren’t Enough

A former high school teacher, Jordyn Lexton recalls telling a student in her English class, “that, with hard work and over the course of time, he could achieve his goal of becoming an architect.

“As the words left my mouth, another student respectfully objected, telling me I was ‘selling dreams’,” Lexton said. “In that moment, I realized I needed to do more.”

Leaders Need This Skill To Ask The Right Questions

Empathy—that seven-letter word seems to be everywhere these days.

Youth Employment in Africa: Whose Job Is It?

Editor's Note: This article was written by Atul Singh, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on June 27, 2014. The article discusses which players are responsible for addressing youth employment in Africa.
 

Background 

Youth in Africa: Pursuing Talents Informed by Market Dynamics

 Editor's Note: This article was written by Oluseun Onigbinde. Oluseun is the Co-Founder of BudgIT, a public data visualization startup that makes the Nigerian budget simpler and an Ashoka and Knight Innovation Fellow. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on August 6, 2014.

The Business of Nutrition: 'Nudging' Us Towards Healthy Living

 

When it comes to healthy living, changing age-old habits is not always easy. Today in Canada, one in four children is overweight or obese, and less than 7% of children are physically active each day.

Live #SafeRoads Twitter Chat on August 12

 

You know that India ranks first in the world for deaths caused by traffic accidents. You know that most of the deaths are pedestrians. And you know that UL and Ashoka have come together to surface the most innovative solutions that are making roads in India safer.

A Healthy Community Raises a Healthy Child

 

Without decisive action, today’s children could become the first generation of Canadians to have shorter life-spans than their parents. The growing twin epidemics of physical inactivity and unhealthy eating is placing the health of Canadian children at risk and threatens to be a massive driver of heart disease, stroke and soaring health costs in the future.

5 Empathetic Strategies To Inspire Climate Action Now

Lisa Bennett on why people avoid engaging in the fight against climate change--and how empathy can be tapped as a powerful solution. This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Why A Toilet Alone Won't Do The Job: The 'Software' Of Sanitation Innovation

"The 2015 goal to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation is running 150 years behind schedule.”
—WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation 2010

International Youth Day Chat | How Can Youth Drive Innovation & Employment in Africa?

During the last decade, several African nations have seen record rates of growth placing them among the top growing economies in the world. Yet, this boom has not translated into an increase in jobs for the estimated 11 million youth who join the workforce each year. Fortunately, today’s generation of African youth is more educated, and more connected than ever before. Whilst solving the employment crisis requires collaboration involving many sectors, youth empowerment is also a key component.

Podcast: Food is Life

In the next 40 years, food production needs to go up by 70% if we are to be able to feed future populations. Lucas Simons, founder of SCOPEinsight has a solution to professionalise the agricultural landscape.

Choosing to be Active Means Choosing Success

 

Every child—regardless of physical condition—deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. This is the vision of Choosing to Win (Choisir de Gagner).

From Dropouts to Innovators: How RLabs Invests in Young "Problem Experts" to Beat Crime & Unemployment

See video

Editor's Note: This article was written by Tsega Belachew, Global Content and Engagement Manager for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. This article was first featured on AllAfrica.com on 29 July 2014. RLabs, founded by Marlon Parker, is an innovation movement that transforms youth in troubled communities, gangsters, dropouts and ex-convicts, into changemakers.

Semi-Finalists Announced!

See video

From a pool of more than 200 entries, the short-listing team at Ashoka Changemakers has selected 86 Semi-Finalists of the Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change challenge. 

Video caption: Early Entry Prize Winner and Semi-Finalist iLead+Design submitted this video illustrating its unique model for teaching students empathy skills and how to use design thinking to solve problems.

UL and Ashoka Announce the Safer Roads, Safer India Finalists

 

You know that India ranks first in the world for deaths caused by traffic accidents. You know that most of the deaths are pedestrians. And you know that UL and Ashoka have come together to surface the most innovative solutions that are making roads in India safer.

Podcast: Bridging the Skills Gap

The founders of Avanti, a social venture based out of India, are working to bridge the skills gap and empower millions of children to transform their future educational prospects.

Ready, Set, MOVE! A Country in Motion

 

How many times have you been told to exercise more, to eat a little healthier or to sleep a little longer? And how many times have you actually got out there and done it? Probably not as often as you’d like.

Innovator Insights: Want to know how to sustain environmental change?

What is needed to get people to actively support environmental sustainability?

“Marketing,” says Kevin Davies, Ashoka American Express Emerging Innovator and founder of Green Start, an organization committed to reducing waste in Calgary, Canada and educating Calgarians about the impact of their personal decisions on the environment around them.

“I believe that marketing could well be the missing piece of the puzzle. I believe in marketing as a force for good.”

Project Happiness – Equipping Young People with Emotional Resilience, Self-Awareness, and Empathy

Project Happiness (PH) teaches students the skills to build emotional resilience, self-awareness, and empathy. Informed by neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness, PH “teaches kids to be happy and strong from the inside” and helps adults strengthen social and emotional skills as well, said founder Randy Taran.

Early Entry Prize Winners: Project Happiness and iLead+Design

See video

More than 200 entries were received for the Building Vibrant Communities competition!  We’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered. Due to the overwhelming response, we are pushing back our timeline one week and will be announcing Semi-Finalists on July 24.

Video caption: A trailer for the film produced by Early Entry Prize Winner and Semi-Finalist Project Happiness. The film is part of Project Happiness' set of tools for helping young people and adults strengthen the skills of empathy, emotional resilience, and self-awareness.

Youth Empowerment and Healthy Living: The Magic of Hip-Hip

 

Ashoka Fellow Stephen Leafloor is creating young leaders among First Nations and Inuit communities affected by issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, depression, family violence and school desertion. Using a blend of hip-hop dance and music and traditional Inuit performance arts as a hook, he guides youth and other community members to create comprehensive networks of support and solutions to these mental health crises.

Ashoka and Partners’ Changemakers Competition for Greece announces four winning projects for 2014

 

Athens, July 16, 2014 – Ashoka Greece announced today that four (4) winners have been selected in “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece”, the first Changemakers competition for Greece, launched March 2014.

Eπιλέχθηκαν οι 4 νικητές του Διαγωνισμού «Προορισμός: Αλλαγή. Νέες Λύσεις για την Ελλάδα»

 

Αθήνα, 16 Ιουλίου, 2014 - H Αshoka Ελλάδος ανακοίνωσε σήμερα τους 4 νικητές του «Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece» του πρώτου διαγωνισμού στην πλατφόρμα των Changemakers, που ανακοινώθηκε τον Μάρτιου του 2014.

Ashoka and Partners’ Changemakers Competition for Greece announces four winning projects for 2014

 

Athens, July 16, 2014 – Ashoka Greece announced today that four (4) winners have been selected in “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece”, the first Changemakers competition for Greece, launched March 2014.

Africa's Youth Challenge and the Private Sector: An Agent of Change

Editor's Note: This article was written by Eme Essien Lore, Senior Associate Director of The Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.

Podcast: You are the author of your own story

“This is your life. Do what you love. And do it often.” These lines introduce the Holstee Manifesto, an inspiration to everyone looking to make a positive change in their life. Michael Radparvar, co-founder of Holstee, shares his journey as a young social entrepreneur.

Q&A With NextDrop Founder Anu Sridharan

Water problems affect billions of people around the world.

Welcoming Immigrants: Why Empathy Is Smart Economics For Cities

by David Lubell, founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America

Why should a local government care about welcoming immigrants and becoming an actively empathetic institution? Not only do immigrants add social and civic value to towns and cities, they also help their communities become stronger economically. More localities are recognizing this, and with immigration reform stalled at the federal level, they are taking the lead to attract and welcome their immigrant neighbors.

360° Launch: Whose job is Youth Employment in Africa?

We share perspectives, insights and analysis from the private, public, citizen sectors and from youth addressing the question “Whose job is youth employment in Africa?" in a series of articles produced in partnership with the Fair Observer

African Youth and the Job Market: Asset or Liability?

Editor's Note: This article was written by Solomon Appiah,  a Public Policy Researcher and Contributing Editor at Fair Observer. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on July 7, 2014. Appiah highlights the importance of improving youth employability in Africa if African youth are to become a tranformational force for good.

Education & employment: Calling for a new kind of growing up experience for youth in South Africa

The correlation between educational attainment and employment prospects is clear. Those with tertiary qualifications are far more likely to access the labor market, with only 12.6% unemployment among holders of diplomas and higher certificates, and only 5.2% among those who have degrees.

Ensuring Empty Sidelines and Healthy Living Across Canada

 

When everyone plays, everyone wins where healthy lifestyles are concerned. If we want our children to be active, there’s no room on the bench.

5 Social Change Pros Offer Advice To Young Entrepreneurs

Young people these days are wired differently. And that’s a good thing, according to Dr.

Innovator Insights: Slavery Seen and Solved

It’s an uncomfortable truth: people are still trapped in slavery, and not just in agriculture and manufacturing, the two sectors that may come to mind immediately. “Both the consumer and industry need to think beyond the tag,” said Arati Sureddi, Ashoka American Express Emerging Innovator and founder of LOTUS Alliance, an organization committed to cutting across sectors to fight human trafficking.

Reports to Results: Dealing With Youth Unemployment in Africa

Editor's Note: In partnership with Fair Observer, an on-line journal that examines the deeper issues behind the news, we will explore the theme: Who is responsible for addressing youth employment in Africa? From June-September 2014, we will be developing online events and a series of articles that will gather multiple perspectives and provide a 360° analysis on the topic.

Podcast: No Smoke Without Fire!

What happens when an engineer meets a climate change expert? This is the story of One Earth Designs, a social enterprise that develops sustainable solutions responding to the need of the rural communities in the Himalayas.

Schools Developing Healthy, Active Children

 

Sports like dodgeball, track, soccer, and basketball and intermittent fitness tests have been the norm for physical education classes. 

Re-imagine Learning Challenge Hangout with 3 Players to Watch

A lot of time is spent discussing why education reform is important and why more playful learning methodologies benefit students.

Winners - Social & Business Co-Creation: collaboration for impact

Ashoka, the Zermatt Summit Foundation, Fondation Guilé, DPD and Boehringer Ingelheim are delighted to announce the winners of the European competition “Social & Business Co-Creation: collaboration for impact”. They were awarded during a ceremony at the prestigious Zermatt Summit, on June 27, 2014

 

Please join us in congratulating the inspiring competition winners:

 

Re-Designing Play, Re-Imagining Learning: 3 Players To Watch

If we were honest with ourselves, we’d admit that many of our educationsystems prioritize things other than whole-child development.

“We’ve got an obsession in believing that literacy and numeracy and content acquisition are the principal objectives of school systems,”

Building a Healthy Container for Your Vision

 

You’re ignited by your vision, and you feel a deep urge to make it happen. Perhaps you’re already making it happen, and you’re busy managing the manifestation of your dreams. 

Citizen Engagement: Key Ingredient in Road Safety

 

See an offender, upload their picture on Facebook. Police force in four major Indian cities—Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon— are taking a unique approach to catching drunk-driving offenders by enlisting the help of local residents.

Enter Before Thursday 6/26, 5pm PDT for an Extra $1000! Plus tips for creating a winning entry

You can still continue to revise your entry up until the final deadline. Entering early means you'll be eligible to win one of two early entry prizes of $1000. All entries remain eligible to win one of four $100k Activating Empathy Prizes, or one of two potential Idea Prizes.

What makes a winning entry? Top entries meet the Assessment Criteria, and they also make a compelling case for the problem they are trying to solve, and for their specific model for achieving impact.

Innovator Insights: Biodiversity, the Climate Fix with Philippe Levesque of Agrarian Revolution

Game-changing ideas don’t happen in a bubble. They’re formed by an acute awareness and in-depth understanding of what real people are experiencing in their everyday lives.

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