Blogs

Wetlands Not Dams: Q&A with Ashoka Fellow Hannarong Yaowalers, Thailand

In Thailand, citizens routinely clash with government officials over the construction of dams that destroy fisheries and habitats. Recently, protesters have rallied against the Xayaburi “mega dam” currently being constructed on the Mekong River in neighboring Laos.

Let There Be Light

Social entrepreneur Kat Kimmorley is tackling one of India's age-old problems, energy poverty, with new sustainable technology.

GOOGLE + HANGOUT: Extraordinary Culture & Technology Solutions

Join Arthur Guinness Projects and Ashoka for a live conversation on unlocking the potential of communities through cultural, art, design, and technology solutions.

The panel will be live streamed on www.changemakers.com/makersofmore on

16th of December at 8:00 AM EST/1:00PM GMT.

You can join the conversation on Twitter following the hashtag #MakersofMore

 

Panelists

You Won't Believe Who's Organizing Philly's First City-Wide Day of Play

Philadelphia will host its first city-wide day of play in the spring of 2015—organized not by city government but by 200 “play experts.” They will include young people who will design games while rallying teachers, mobilizing parents, teaming up with after-school program leaders, and encouraging their friends to take part.

Early Connections Re-imagine the Future

by Anne K. Glick, One Globe Kids founder

In 2030, my third grader will be 25 years old. With certainty, I can predict that he’ll be taller than me. But that’s about it.

Fighting Climate Change With Indigenous Livelihoods

In Indonesia, where forests are being destroyed at the highest rates in the world, an untapped solution exists for balancing conservation with economic expansion.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

What Peer Review Can Do For You

If you spent more than an hour submitting an entry to a competition for solutions to sustainability challenges, why would you then also volunteer to spend more time writing reviews of other people’s competition entries?

Why golf and its teachable moments have the power to bring out the best in kids - with the First Tee of Monterey County

The First Tee of Monterey County taps the power to golf to help kids learn the skills to be resilient and succeed in life. Executive Director Barry W. Phillips sat down with Changemakers to discuss why golf and its teachable moments have a unique power to bring out the best in kids.

 

Why is golf a particularly powerful tool for supporting kids in Salinas? 

Makers Of More: Sparking Local Economic Opportunity And Social Change Together

“How do we find a way to reconnect communities with local businesses, local resources, but more importantly, with each other?” This question, posed byKen Banks at Pop!Tech, is being echoed by an innovative generation of problem-solvers who are looking to strengthen local economies while simultaneously tackling community issues.

Unlocking Entrepreneurship + Solving the World’s Sanitation Crisis

David Auerbach discusses how his organization, Sanergy, helps community residents in developing countries become entrepreneurs by creating sanitation solutions.

This article originally appeared on Virgin.com.

Play for Bringing out Empathy and the Best in Kids: Interview with Jill Vialet, Founder of Playworks

Jill Vialet, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of Playworks, sat down with Changemakers to talk about launching her organization in the Bay Area and why the Playworks “pro-social” model works to help kids play and learn at their best.

Playworks has its roots in the Bay Area. How did you get started launching your idea and building relationships with local schools?

Fostering Youth Peacemakers: Soul Shoppe interview with Ashoka Changemakers

What can parents do about bullying and how can schools become safe places for learning? Soul Shoppe co-founder Vicki Abadesco sat down with Ashoka Changemakers to discuss the root causes of bullying and tips for parents and children. Soul Shoppe creates empathy-based learning environments that eliminate bullying at the roots. Their work fostering youth peacemakers made them winners of the Building Vibrant Communities challenge!

The Empathy Debate

Roman Krznaric believes that empathy "allows us to challenge prejudices and create political change." But how can we strengthen our empathy skills and who can we learn from?

Just Announced: 10 Champions of Learning Through Play

 

Today is the day. After seven months, 632 entries from 63 countries, and the selection of 305 Pacesetters and 30 Pioneers, we are proud to announce the 10 Champions in the Re-imagine Learning Challenge.

Let’s Play Future!

by Sanny Zuiderveld, One Globe Kids

If the next generations are going to grow up happy and successful, they must be able to learn, adapt, and make (international) connections. Yet, we still teach them more history than about the future, use print more than digital, reward achieving more than failing, and emphasize local more than global.

Talia Kaufman: 'Play is an Essential Part of Learning'

by Talia Kaufman, Programs Director at Skateistan

Although I was never a star athlete, the chance to learn how to perform skills that had once seemed impossible to me—to move about freely on a trampoline or soccer field, or challenge myself on a skateboard—contributed hugely to my sense of self-worth. When I look back and consider the elements that built my own confidence as I was growing up, athletic opportunities figure prominently.

On Becoming a Social Entrepreneur for Life: FitSpirit’s Founder Shares Her Story

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Claudine LaBelle, founder of FitSpirit, shares what inspires her and offers tips for up-and-coming social entrepreneurs who are seeking to launch their own projects. FitSpirit helps girls, ages 12  to 17, embrace physical activity and discover the positive health benefits of staying active for life.  The program has impacted over 67,000 girls throughout Ontario and Quebec since 2007.

How did I become a social entrepreneur for life? It started with one small step.

Design for Change: Children Feel, Imagine, Do, and Share

At age three, 98 percent of children are creative geniuses. By age 25, just 2 percent of people still possess their powerful childhood ingenuity. What's going on?

By the time they’re eight or nine, young students are rule-bound, self-conscious, and view tough tasks as threats to be avoided, rather than challenges to be mastered (or as opportunities to learn new skills). In other words, creative behavior is unlearned.

Climate-Friendly Communities, Made Possible Through Empathy

Ebola and ISIS are making the headlines, but climate change is still and will continue to be one of the biggest threats to Americans (and people around the

Winners Announced for Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change competition

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers have announced the six winners of Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change! The challenge sought local initiatives that tap the power of empathy to strengthen communities and equip young people to become leaders of change.

How Canadian Coaches Are Shaping our Lifelong Love of Sport

What do you expect from your coach? Participating in your first sport experience as a child can be overwhelming. Kids are filled with nervous excitement, fear of the unknown, anticipation about all of the new friends to meet. They have an endless list of unanswered questions.

Turning up to your first sport experience as a parent can be just as daunting. Studies have shown that parents have three main hopes when their kids join sports:

·       to build self-esteem;

·       to have fun;

RLabs, Reminding Young People: Remember, Create Value First, You Can Earn Some Money Through That

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One of RLabs most successful innovations are two Youth Cafes that look like “a hybrid of an Apple store and a Starbucks, with a little bit of ‘Googlifying’ of our space,” said RLabs founder Marlon Parker. "We have writing on the walls, artificial turf in the middle of our space, some shapes—some crazy, outrageous stuff." This appearance is no accident, he notes.

Webinar: Shattering Myths and Talking Trends in Youth Employment Innovations

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Tune in to our G+ Hangout on November 4th at 8:00pm to discuss trends and myths in innovation for youth employment. Across Africa, as in the rest of the world, a faster pace in the workplace signals a drive towards a more creative talent pool that is not afraid to dabble in intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. Many youth employment solutions incorporate skills training to unlock opportunities for the youth population.

On Voice of America: Discussing Solutions to Youth Unemployment with Two Social Entrepreneurs

Voice of America's Jackson Mvunganyi sat down with Esther Eshiet and Marlon Parker, two Ashoka Fellows who are working to solve youth employment in Africa as part of the Ashoka’s Future Forward program, a partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. The conversation explored innovative solutions to youth employment in Calabar, Nigeria and in South Africa.

Meet 30 Pioneers Redefining Play and Re-imagining Learning

 

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood,” said Mister Fred Rogers, many years ago.

Arctic Winds of Healthy Change

 

Arctic Wind Riders is betting that a new, adrenaline-inducing arctic sport called kite skiing will change the fact that only 8 percent of boys and 4 percent of girls in Canada are as active as they need to be -- and these numbers drop further in remote and low-income areas.  

Webinar: How can Young Africans be Changemakers in the Workplace of the 21st century?

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Tune in to our G+ Hangout on October 9th at 12:30pm to discuss developing young leaders and changemakers in Africa. In the 21st century, employment, the workplace and the skill-sets that are needed to thrive are constantly changing.

Karen Mattison, Founder of Women Like Us/Timewise United Kingdom

“Karen is transforming the UK job market by opening up opportunities for flexible and part time roles.”

The Idea & Strategy

In 2005 Karen founded Women Like Us to provide career support to women who had dropped out of the workforce or been forced to take jobs beneath their skill-level in exchange for flexibility to cater for their families. Last year Karen launched Timewise Jobs and Timewise Recruitment, the UK’s only jobsite and recruitment agency exclusively focused on flexible and part time roles.

Andrea Bolnick, Founder of Ikhalayami South Africa

“Ikhalayami designs, implements and builds affordable upgraded shelters that are fire and flood retardant, easy to transport and quick to build. It reconfigures the layout of informal settlements to ones that are more regularized.”

The Idea & Strategy

Anil Patel, Founder of Timeraiser Canada

 

“Innovative way to shift the approach to volunteering. Potential volunteers bid for pieces of art using their valuable ‘volunteer hours’, not money. Winning bidders have 12 months to complete their volunteer pledge before proudly taking their art home.”  

The Idea & Strategy

Mel Young, Founder of Homeless World Cup United Kingdom

“Now, Mel is aiming to grow the movement to reach up to 1,000,000 people per year. To do this, he launched The Homeless World Cup Supporters Club: a virtual million seats stadium filled with people who believe in the power of football.”

The Idea & Strategy

ParticipACTION says it’s time to bring back play!

 

You may have childhood memories of playing outside for hours with your friends until you were called to come in for dinner. Unfortunately, many children aren’t playing that way today. Playgrounds, schoolyards, neighbourhoods, and parks aren’t as busy they used to be.

Africa Yoga Project: Inspiring Youth to Achieve Greatness

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Editors's Note: This article was written by Paige Elenson. Elenson is the Executive Director of Africa Yoga Project (AYP), a movement that empowers the youth through the transformative power of yoga. A native New Yorker and former Wall Street consultant, she has been teaching yoga for over a decade. Elenson’s incisive skills as a businesswoman, spiritual activist and yogini inspired her work with AYP. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on August 29, 2014.

Jack in the Box: The Failure of Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Editors's Note: This article was written by Maria Khwaja. Khwaja is the Founder of Elun, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teacher education in the developing world. Khwaja is also a teacher and completed her Master's in Education at Oxford University. This article first appeared on Fair Observer on September 25, 2014.

How To Use 'Muscular' Empathy To Drive Social Change

Lisa Bennett writes about how empathy can be tapped as a powerful force for creating change.

Congratulations to the Winners of the Safer Roads, Safer India Challenge!

 

Bangalore, India -- Four road safety entrepreneurs have been selected as winners in the innovation challenge “Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives.” Their projects were evaluated by an expert panel of judges and chosen as the top solutions from a pool of more than 80 entries that activate citizenship, improve governance to be more responsive, update infrastructure, and use technology to protect drivers, passengers, and bystanders.

Video Games and Tech: Key to Learning Success? Live G+ Hangout on Oct. 2


“We’re trying to change education in a positive way, that’s the overarching goal,” said Jan von Meppen. “Basically, we’re trying to achieve that by using storytelling to put learning content into context with the real world.”

Ewa Wojkowska, Founder of Kopernik Indonesia

"Ewa created distribution channels for last-mile communities who need access to products and technology, in 14 countries."

The Idea and Strategy

Ewa Wojkowska has created distribution channels that engage local civil society channels, organizations, cooperatives, savings and loans groups, local kiosks, funders, investors and technology producers to ensure that last-mile communities have access to much-needed appropriate technologies to address their basic needs. These technologies include water filters, solar lights and fuel efficient cook stoves.

Finalists Announced for The Play Exchange Challenge!

 

We asked you to share your ideas for a healthier Canada and your response was tremendous. The Play Exchange received an astounding 422 ideas from across Canada for empowering people to make healthier choices. We thank everyone who participated for sharing your solutions for promoting active, healthy living!

How This Time-Traveling Professor Is Re-Defining Play And Learning

Professor S., a university professor in Berlin, has invented the world’s first functioning time machine. Unfortunately, it has malfunctioned and he’s stuck in the past with his Ph.D. research assistant, Jeanette. It’s up to students in seven elementary schools in Germany to help bring the pair home.

Be Part of the Solution: How You Can Help Young People in Africa Find Jobs -- And Purpose

Young people everywhere crave having a purpose in our rapidly changing world. This has serious social, economic, and political implications for the sub-Saharan Africa region because it is on track to have the largest youth population in the world by 2050.

Maria Loretha, Founder of Yayasan Cinta Alam Pertanian Indonesia

"Transforming the perception of sorghum as a nutrient rich crop to cultivate in Indonesia" 

The Idea & Strategy

SMS Voting For Bangalore Choice Finalists Is Open!

 

Earlier this year, UL partnered with Ashoka, a global network of change makers, and launched the Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives challenge to increase public awareness of road safety challenges, crowd source solutions, and accelerate the rate of positive change. The Safe Roads challenge is part of a pilot being tested across India, with a focus on Bangalore, the country’s third-largest city.

Why overcoming challenges is key to effective leadership & entrepreneurial breakthroughs

Editor's Note: Below is a Q&A with Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and vice president for Corporate Social Responsibility, American Express. Read more about the Ashoka American Express Emerging Innovators Bootcamp on the 2014 Emerging Innovators Campaign homepage

Fighting Heart Disease One Step At A Time

 

Members of Canada’s Aboriginal population are at a higher health risk than other Canadians. They are more prone to diabetes and 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease.

Storify Highlights from a #play2learn Twitter Chat on Aug. 26

 

We recently ran a Twitter chat to discuss how learning projects with a focus on play and whole-child development can make prepare young people in Asia to succeed in the 21st century. 

WATCH: Webinar on Collaborating to Solve Youth Employment

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Sub-Saharan Africa faces a paradox that has global relevance and implications: it will be home to the largest youth population in the world by 2050 and although literacy rates (by 6%) and education enrollment rates (by 9%) have been on the rise, youth unemployment continues to hover above 60% across the region. How will African youth create or secure sustainable and meaningful livelihoods? And more specifically, who is responsible for youth employment in Africa? 

What Being An Astronaut Taught Me About Healthy Living

 

“Regular exercise prepared me well for the demands of astronaut life, and it will prepare explorers of the future for their challenges,” said Robert Thirsk, former astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency and director of the board for LIFT Philanthropy Partners.

Meet the Building Vibrant Communities Judges

We’re honored and thrilled to announce the expert judges of the Building Vibrant Communities challenge! They are:

Cedric Brown: Managing Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact

 

Finalists Announced for Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change

Please join us in congratulating the Finalists of the Building Vibrant Communities challenge! After receiveing more than 200 entries, 86 top entries were selected as Semi-Finalists. Now, 23 top Finalists will go on to the final judging round of the competition.

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