Emily May, Co-founder of Hollaback: "Followers are the New Leaders"

Emily May was honored as a ChangemakeHER for her work to shape global social change. View the other voices of ChangemakeHERS.

by Emily May, co-founder and executive director, Hollaback

Turning your idea into reality requires guts: you have to be ready to face down some pretty big obstacles. But, if you’re ready – and I mean really ready – those obstacles look like nothing compared to the feeling that, if you don’t act, you’ll be standing in the way of progress.

Celebrating International Women's Day's 100th Year: Congratulate Our HERS Honorees of 2011

There is a moment when the human spirit stirs. When we see shortcomings in our world, an awareness is kindled and we are driven to act. From the small, fleeting problems of daily life, to the great challenges facing humanity, we have unprecedented opportunity to make a difference.

But what makes us move from awareness to action? From idea to impact? How can we boost our confidence in our ability to solve problems? What are the ingredients to launching a successful solution? How can that idea become a program that touches hundreds? Or thousands?

Celebrate International Women's Day with Changemakers, All Month Long

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, Changemakers will be bringing you the voices of powerful women leaders who are changing your world. All March long, influential women will share their insights into what it will take to build a stronger global future, as well as what challenges lie ahead for the progress of women in the next decade.

From Slave to Student, Narayan is One in a Million

[Editor's note: This post was written by April Thompson of GoodWeave (previously called the RugMark Foundation). GoodWeave was a finalist in the 2008 Changemakers Ending Global Slavery competition.]

While his elementary school peers repeated addition and subtraction drills in a classroom each day, Narayan wove knot after knot at a Kathmandu carpet loom. For eight years of his early life, Narayan was a bonded child laborer without access to education, toiling up to fifteen hours a day.

Going Beyond Profit ... for Land Rights

Land is a critical asset to fighting poverty -- and a whole host of other development issues.

Beyond Profit, a social enterprise magazine that presents the stories, people and ideas behind innovative social ventures, partnered with the Omidyar Network and the Ashoka Changemakers Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All competition in pursuit of the best solutions for improving access to property rights.

To Tell a Story: Part IV

This fall, Roshan Paul, Senior Change Manager at Ashoka, led a professional development workshop on the art of storytelling.  The stories that emerged from it were so powerful we decided to turn some of them into an audio blog series.  Stay tuned and prepare to be moved.

Ashoka Partners with Techonomy to Create a New Philosophy of Progress

Techonomy Media just announced its second annual Techonomy Conference -- an invitation-only event for leaders devoted to accelerating innovation both in the United States and around the world. Previous attendees included Charles Best of, Ushahidi founder Ory Okolloh, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

Students: Big Hearts, Big Brains

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Jonathan Lewis, founder and CEO of Opportunity Collaboration, and was originally featured on the Huffington Post.]

Last Saturday on an especially dreary, stormy day in the San Francisco Bay Area, 300 Stanford University students dragged themselves out of their cozy dorm rooms to learn about -- get ready for it -- economic development. This admittedly wonky day was organized by the Stanford Association for International Development (SAID), a voluntary student organization educating the next generation of leaders in global citizenship about international development.

Two More Great Posts in the NextBillion Special Series -- And Exciting News about Tomorrow's #Socentchat!

The special series "Advancing Healthcare with the BoP" has continued on NextBillion and we are pleased to bring you two more great posts (as well as an exciting development in our #socentchat plans for tomorrow!).

To Tell a Story: Part III

This fall, Roshan Paul, Senior Change Manager at Ashoka, led a professional development workshop on the art of storytelling.  The stories that emerged from it were so powerful we decided to turn some of them into an audio blog series.  We'll be sharing them with you every Monday and Thursday this month. Grab your headphones -- and prepare to be moved.

An inside look at the Wisconsin budget repair bill protests

Last week, over 50,000 protesters surrounded the Wisconsin statehouse in Madison to take a stand against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's SB11 budget repair bill. The bill calls for unionizing public employees to pay more for pensions and health insurance -- locking their pay rates and cutting benefits. (Video after the jump.)

A Plot of One's Own: The Value of Women's Right to Property

[Editor's note: This article was written by Alison Craiglow Hockenberry, contributing editor at Ashoka Changemakers, and originally featured on the Huffington Post.]

They may till its soil for years, they may live on it for decades, they may build a home and feed their families and raise their children on it, but the vast majority of the world's women have no legal right to the land upon which they live and work.

To Tell a Story: Part II

This fall, Roshan Paul, Senior Change Manager at Ashoka, led a professional development workshop on the art of storytelling. The stories that emerged from it were so powerful we decided to turn some of them into an audio blog series. We'll be sharing them with you every Monday and Thursday this month. Grab your headphones -- and prepare to be moved.

The Real Power of a Woman’s Touch

[Morton (top left) walking a local Hesquiaht community through renewable energy options.]

Donna Morton has successfully made the transition from a promising changemaker to a high-impact 2011 Unreasonable Institute Fellow, tackling poverty, economic and community development, and climate abatement.

Rights to Land are Rights to Life

Meet the winners of the Changemakers property rights competition!
Throughout the Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All competition, the Changemakers community submitted ideas on how to improve access to property rights around the world. 

Vodafone's Webbox brings the power of the Internet to emerging markets

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile telecommunications company, recently released the Webbox: a smart, nifty innovation developed specifically for customers in emerging markets. (Video after the jump.) CEO Tim Hanstad on how property rights go beyond (but still need) government support


In support of our competition, Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All, we interviewed competition judge and President and CEO Tim Hanstad. In the second of a three-part series, Hanstad, whose organization has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the World Food Prize, and was a finalist for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, talks about the importance of Property Rights, and how policy change can impact them. How would you solve land rights issues to ensure quality of life, prevent abuse, and secure livelihoods of people across the world? Tell us your suggestions in the comments!

International Geotourism Challenge Winners Announced: The best solutions protecting coastal and freshwater destinations

This is the moment you have all been waiting for! With support from National Geographic and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), we have announced the three winners of our international collaborative competition: Places on the Edge – Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations. The competition identified the most innovative proposals that protect the beauty, culture, and character of the world’s threatened coastal, shoreline, and freshwater destinations.

You Have Never Seen Women's Economic Opportunity Like This

The Economist set out to do the impossible: bring a one-of-a-kind, 150-page report on women's economic opportunity around the world to life. In just six minutes. (Video after the jump.)

WANTED: 10 young action heroes to save planet

The global search for agents of environmental change has begun! Are you up for it?

Project Borneo 3D: An Action Movie is looking for 10 changemakers aged 18 to 35 to star in an ambitious 3D feature documentary. This environmental Justice League will be sent into the heart of the Borneo jungle for five months to implement the DeforestACTION project and connect with the world through the Web -- providing updates for millions of students and activists across the globe who are responsible for driving, developing, and owning the project. (Video after the jump.)

Social enterprise has found a new home in housing

A perfect storm of economic and social constraints has begun to highlight how social enterprises and housing associations can become amicable bedfellows.

Technology can help Changemakers

[Editor's note: This post was written by Ashoka India Marketing Director Manoj Chandran and originally featured on the Ashoka India blog. Here, Chandran shares his views on the role technology has and will play in addressing social problems.]

India, today, has one of the most fertile environments for entrepreneurship in the world. Several positive changes have taken place during the last two decades that have resulted in entrepreneurship being accepted as a good career decision. Availability of better infrastructure, policies, skills and finances are just a few of these encouraging signs. The most important change has been the creation of a robust marketplace in the country, which has given rise to innumerable innovative entrepreneurship ideas that are being experimented. It, therefore, does not surprise us when a young management student expresses her desire to “start something of my own.”

Ashoka earns Charity Navigator's highest rating for fiscal responsibility nine years in a row

Think of it as a Michelin rating for charities and non-profits. For the ninth consecutive year, Ashoka has earned Charity Navigator’s four-star rating for fiscal responsibility. It is the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, and forms its ratings based on an unbiased, objective, numbers-based system that assesses the financial health of over 5,000 of America's best-known charities. It helps potential donors, funders, and philanthropists make the most informed giving decisions. TIME Magazine calls Charity Navigator "One of America's 50 Coolest Websites" and Forbes has twice given it a "Best of the Web" award.

The Ashoka Fellowship is a Great, Global Resource

[Editor's note: This message comes from Ashoka Fellow Jill Vialet, the founder of Playworks, and was originally featured on the Ashoka US blog. Learn more about Jill and her commitment to social change by checking out her TEDxSF talk.]

My own experience as a Fellow has been nothing short of transformational. While I had been thinking broadly about exploring scale prior to becoming an Ashoka Fellow, it was through the induction process that I came to really understand, and be able to articulate, a one-day vision for my organization. I have likened the three hour interview I had with then Ashoka President Sushmita Ghosh, to having someone doing the intellectual equivalent of crawling down my throat and physically pulling out the vision that one day every child in America would get to play every day. I think the very simplicity of the statement belies an extraordinarily complex understanding of the world of change-making that Ashoka uniquely brings to bear in its dealings with Fellows all around the world.

Jill Vialet at TEDxSF: Now Press Play

Ashoka Fellow Jill C. Vialet is the founder and President of Playworks, whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Today, Playworks is the only nonprofit organization in the country providing trained, full-time play coaches focused on recess to hundreds of low-income schools in major urban areas. Playworks also provides training and technical assistance to schools, districts and youth organizations that wish to include inclusive, healthy play as part of a positive learning environment. (Video after the jump.)

Richard Branson Teams Up With Tonic — and You! — to Empower South African Entrepreneurs

[Editor's note: This post, written by Josie Raymond, was originally featured on]

Spread the word about our campaign to raise $50,000 for the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, and donate if you can!

Entrepreneur, adventurer and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson hosts an incredible group of 14 successful entrepreneurs from around the world when he visits South Africa this week with Virgin Unite to support the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and connect with frontline leaders to learn how they can help drive positive change in the world.

Sea Turtles Win in Court

[Editor's note: This article was written by Alicia Graef and was originally featured on]

More sea turtles died or became disabled in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico than in any other event in the past two decades, according to the National Wildlife Federation, the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Florida Wildlife Federation.

African Stock Investment Competition (ASIC): Raising the global profile of Africa

The 2011 African Stock Investment Competition (ASIC), which opened for registration earlier this month, is an annual competition allowing university students from around the world to explore and learn about African stock exchanges. The virtual trading competition offers students a hands-on opportunity to learn about emerging capital markets as they compete to build the best performing stock investment portfolios.

A Few Thoughts on Egypt

Eleven months ago, to the day, I found myself at the American University of Sharjah (UAE) facilitating the Women’s Leadership and Technology Conference: Advancing Social Media for Community Engagement.

The ultimate goal of the conference? To explore how technology can improve civic engagement and build a robust civil society. 

Join us Monday, January 31st for a #SocEntChat on Sustainable Urban Housing

On Monday, January 31st, Ashoka Changemakers will bring together entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers from around the world to discuss the importance of affordable, inclusive, and sustainable urban housing that respects local cultures and the environment.

Sustainable, Obtainable, Attainable

[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy and was originally featured on the American Planning Association's blog. Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy is the Director, Philanthropic Research & Initiatives, Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation, Policy Development and Research Office at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.]

As I pondered the early-entry winners in our Sustainable Urban Housing Competition and the many other efforts we come into contact with during our work, I was also remembering some of my experiences in “sustainable” community development before coming to HUD.

Redefining housing innovation to build tomorrow's greatest cities

[Editor's note: This post is authored by Diedre Schmidt, Executive Director at the Affordable Housing Institute (AHI). AHI is a non-profit consultancy that works around the world, and particularly in the global South, with pro-poor affordable housing finance entities – what they call Mission Entrepreneurial Entities, MEEs – to help them create, develop, and implement affordable housing financial products and business lines, as well as by positively influencing the policy and economic ecosystem to enable them to grow.]

The word innovation, when used in conjunction with housing, usually conjures ideas of new building products or technologies that are successful because they are cheaper, lighter, stronger or easier to use. But our collective challenge isn't simply to create high quality new homes that are affordable a problem which lends itself to purely technological solutions.

We need YOU to identify innovative sustainable urban housing initiatives from around the world!

With just 15 eight (8) days left to enter the Changemakers Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Liveable and Inclusive Cities competition, we are launching a #SocEntNom Twitter campaign and would really appreciate your support!

Helping non-profits and the needy win their just desserts: GetMilkshake

In November (just over nine weeks ago), Pam Caffray and Amy Jurkowitz launched Milkshake, a daily email chock-a-block with pretty, delicious, and entertaining items that can be ordered or simply ogled. Sounds fairly familiar, perhaps, what with all those spammy "best bets" and "fresh finds" popping up in people's inboxes like so many e-weeds. But Milkshake is different. You won't find any random baubles whose purchases line the pockets of highfalutin designers or brand-name behemoths - everything advertised in this newser aims to do one thing: give back to those who need help most.

Win $25k to Change Digital Media: The PitchIt! Challenge

It was just two short years ago that Ashoka Changemakers and We Media joined forces to launch a community challenge to source innovative approaches for inspiring a better world through media and technology. People from all around the world entered their ideas - from very early stage projects to more established but never-before-seen innovations - for harnessing the power of media for social good.

Bjarke Ingels Has BIG Plans for the Big Apple

[Editor's note: This article was written by Kim Derby and was originally featured on]

The 36-year-old Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is the hottest topic on the tip of every avant-garde’s tongue. I’m glad he’s here, mostly because he uses words like symbiosis and spontaneous interaction; hybrid typology and harvest resources. There’s nothing sexier than a voracious vocabulary. And an architect.

Join @changemakers Wednesday, January 26th for a Multilingual #SocEntChat on Geotourism

Geotourism Challenge: Places on the Edge
Saving Coastal & Freshwater Destinations

On Wednesday, January 26th, Ashoka Changemakers will bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, and competition finalists from around the world to discuss geotourism – an alternative tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place. Geoutorism is a means of developing coastal, waterway, and island destinations without destroying the land, the water, or the lifestyles of the local people by creatively mobilizing resources including technology and other tools.

Connecting Changemakers at the Ashoka Twin Cities Solutions Forum

You're invited to an inspiring evening of learning, sharing, and ceative thinking around new solutions to advance lasting social change!

On Tuesday, February 8, connect and engage with Twin Cities changemakers at the second Ashoka Twin Cities Solution Forum.

The Unreasonable Institute Empowers the Public to Choose the Next Wave of High Impact Social Entrepreneurs

Starting today, January 20th, 45 social entrepreneurs will share their innovative ventures with the world through an online platform called the Unreasonable Finalist Marketplace, where global donations will determine which entrepreneurs gain admission to esteemed mentorship program. (Video after the jump.)

Announcing your Geotourism Challenge 2010 finalists!

We are delighted to announce the twelve innovations chosen as finalists in the Changemakers Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places On The Edge - Saving Coastal And Freshwater Destinations, in partnership with National Geographic.

Our expert panel of judges have selected these innovations from a pool of 250 entries from 54 countries worldwide and represent the most promising solutions protecting coastal, waterway, and island destinations.

Introducing your 'Property Rights' finalists!

We are very proud to announce the finalists in our Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All competition! A big 'thank you' goes out to the changemakers who spread word of the competition and voted for semi-finalists.

Collaborating Around the Clock: A recent visit to a late-night milk bar

On a Monday night late last year, I found myself sharing a car ride home with Ashoka Fellow Haron Wachira. We’d been together all day at a meeting with recently elected village elders in the community of Gichugu. Haron had presented to the elders his work with Akili, the organization he founded to coordinate an entire suite of agricultural value chain interventions aimed at lifting the smallholder farmer out of poverty.

Three Early Winners Showcase Innovation in Sustainable Housing

[Favelas Morro Da Providencia, Rio de Janeiro /]

Last November, Ashoka Changemakers, with support of the Rockefeller Foundation, and in collaboration with the US State Department, HUD, and the American Planning Association, launched the Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Liveable and Inclusive Cities Competition.  In late December, three early entry prize winners were announced.  What do their projects bring to the table, and how can they impact the planning profession?

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Remembering a man who believed in non-violence, equality, and freedom for all.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.spoke these powerful words on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on Aug. 28, 1963:

Syndicate content