Who Are the Early Entry Prize Winners?

General Electric and Ashoka Changemakers launched the Women Powering Work competition on August 21, 2013, to source the most innovative solutions working to advance economic opportunities for women in Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan.

Weekly Buzz: Top 3 Reads on Women's Economic Equality

What is the Women Powering Work community buzzing about this week? Check out these great reads about current trends in women’s economic equality:

A League of Their Own: Pakistani Women Go Digital

Maria Umar is challenging the cement ceiling as an international entrepreneur and a key player in Pakistan's burgeoning tech scene. She is revered as one of the trailblazers in the female entrepreneurial revolution, and focuses her efforts on furthering work opportunities for women in Pakistan.

Getting to the Bottom ... of Toilet Innovation

More than a third of the world‘s population do not have access to a clean toilet. 1.1 billion people defecate in the open.

Black Girls Code: Building the Future

She said: "By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up," said Kimberly Bryant. "That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures. 

Twitter Chat: Announcing Early Entry Prize Winners


Ashoka Changemakers, in partnership with General Electric, has been searching for innovations that enable the full economic participation of women in the MENA region through the Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in MENA competition. It is time to announce the Early Entry Prize winners of the competition and share innovation trends from our outreach with a broader audience.

A Women’s World: Virtual Offices and Gender Gyms

Today, social innovation is pioneering a new reality for women across the Middle East and North Africa, from Turkey to Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

Delivering the Goods (with a capital G)

The last 60 years have been good to you. You’ve probably never run out of affordable food or cheap energy and you’ll likely live longer than your grandparents. What’s more, you can travel anywhere in the world in less than a day, and access virtual omniscience from the palm of your hand.

Give Me Tap: Breaking the Cycle of Paying for Water

With taps every few metres in most UK city centres, quenching your thirst with expensive bottled water can feel both unnecessary and unsustainable. The booming retail market for drinking water on-the-go has made asking for a free glass somewhat of a taboo. One young social entrepreneur is trying to turn the tide.

Zambian businessman turned environmental campaigner starts Africa's first Green Party

After years in the maize exporting business and fifteen years of fighting to protect the rich natural resources, environment and landscape of Zambia, Peter Sinkamba has decided it is time to swap his activist hat for a politician’s. All the same, he will keep his business hat on when trying to persuade corporates to jump on the environmental bandwagon.

The Missing Link: How We Can Better Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

If you’ve ever moved from one city to another, or between countries, you may have noticed that what is allowed in your recycling bin often changes with the move. So what makes a plastic yogurt tub recyclable in one place but not another?

Why can some cities, like London, take virtually all rigid plastic containers, while many in the United States only recycle plastic bottles?

Creating a school food revolution

By the time the average American child has finished grade 12, he or she has consumed 4,000 meals at school. What better place to start tackling the obesity crisis?

Kids don't like veggies. Healthy food is expensive. Cooking nutritious meals takes too long. Education boards won't convert. The problem is just too big to solve. The assumptions around school dinners are stubborn, but they did not stop two Californian mums from trying anyway.

Going Green: How A Simple Transparency Tool Can Make Businesses And Consumers Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

If you’re reading this, chances are you buy a brand that supports a good cause at least once a month. Nearly half of global consumers do, a 47 percent increase from 2010.

“Not only are consumers making purchase decisions with Purpose [sic] top of mind, they are also buying and advocating for purposeful brands,” says the 2012 Edelman goodpurpose® Study.

What a Waste!

When India changes its urban waste management system, it matters. Ashoka Fellow Ravi Agarwal has spent the past two decades moving mountains… of rubbish. He is counting on the youth to give the final push.

The Ripple Effect: Women Powering Work Through Microfinance And Entrepreneurship

When Roshaneh Zafar quit her job at the World Bank in 1995 to establish the Kashf Foundation, she carried with her a moment of inspiration and a powerful vision for the future.

Paul Polman: Young People, A Sustainable Future Can Be Yours. Make Your Work Count.

Every day, when watching the news, we see pictures of famine and floods, droughts and demonstrations, confronting us with the effects of increasing resource scarcity, climate change, food security, civil unrest and poverty. We see the increasing numbers of people left behind.

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Competition Launch: Women Powering Work in MENA

General Electric and Ashoka Changemakers launched an online competition today in search of innovative solutions that will advance economic opportunities for women in Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality is calling for initiatives that enable women to achieve economic equality, strengthen their families and communities, and benefit equitably from economic growth. 

Nutrients for All: Thriving Ecosystems for Productive, Resilient Food Systems

Natural ecosystems ensure that vital nutrients flow from soils to food to people. Thriving ecosystems are the bedrock of healthy nutrient chains, the basis of all life on the planet.

So what’s the issue?

Double Win for Haiti: Human Waste into Valuable Fertilizer

SOIL is enabling communities in Haiti to transform human waste into a resource for sustainable livelihoods, agriculture, and reforestation. The organization is creating a lasting impact by seeding a new economy based on nutrients—one that a multinational corporation is now pledging to support.

E HealthPoint transforms rural health care by providing access to clean water and affordable treatment

Editor's note: This post was written by Andrea Boston, freelance writer for Ashoka Changemakers.

For many families in developing countries, traveling to a nearby city for a doctor’s visit is expensive and inconvenient, and a lack of safe drinking water can make existing health conditions even worse. E HealthPoint provides low cost, clean water and quality medical treatment to rural Indian communities with a unique technology-based management and delivery system.

Saúde Criança: A winning innovation for global family health

Editor's note: This post was written by Vanuza Ramos, a Brazilian journalist and collaborator with Ashoka Changemakers, with contributions from Andrea Boston.

The Saúde Criança Association (Children’s Health Association, or ASC), one of Brazil’s most robust health initiatives, has been recognized—not for the first time—for its clever and comprehensive approach to pediatric and family care.

FNMI Summit Blog: Paul Martin's speech


by Shawna Snache

There have always been Changemakers in our midst.

Congratulations to the Winners of the Innovations for Health Competition!

After thoughtful deliberation, our expert panel of judges has selected three winners in the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition, co-hosted by Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio.


Zoom in on Change Photo & Images Contest

What does change look like in action? Show us—share your images in our #ZoomChange contest. 

Seize the Day for Change, One Minute at a Time

There are 1,440 minutes in a day; each minute we have is another opportunity for change. The 1440 Foundation was founded on the principle that we can improve the world—one person, one connection, and one minute at a time. The foundation invests in projects and programs that bring the power of self-awareness and authentic relationship skills to education, wellness, and the workplace. Ultimately, the foundation seeks to enable everyone to become a positive contributor to our world.

#StartEmpathy: Recap of the March 20 Twitter-based #SocEntChat

Empathy is one of the most important skills that anyone can learn in today’s global society. It is more than just awareness and concern, it’s about cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution.

It’s about the ability to communicate effectively and understand the motivations of others. Empathy is about standing up, not standing by. What better way to change the world than by making sure tomorrow’s leaders master empathy today?

Why Empathy Belongs in a Teacher's Toolbox

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of guest posts looking at the topic of empathy and education. Using expert commentary from a variety of perspectives, we hope to gain insight and deepen dialogue about the topic.

Our first guest post comes from Nora Cobo, Center for Inspired Teaching. Center for Inspired Teaching was founded by Ashoka Fellow Aleta Margolis, and is a Network Partner in the Activating Empathy competition, which closes this coming Friday, March 30.

When academic achievement is measured only by standardized tests, student success is too simply defined by increasing test scores. Center for Inspired Teaching is working to change this narrow conception by giving empathy a prominent place in a teacher's toolbox.

While test-based assessments are essential, they reflect only one type of data and one kind of skill that students need. Schools must also focus on students’ social-emotional growth in order to create sound learning environments. Such settings help students develop interpersonal competence and improve short- and long-term academic and personal outcomes.

Center for Inspired Teaching partners with teachers to change the school experience for students to include these critical skills. Our professional development programs encourage teachers to rethink their beliefs about how learners learn and how classrooms should function. Through a physical, intellectual, and emotional process, teachers navigate the art of teaching and learn to empathize with their students’ experiences in an energetic and safe environment:

Ashoka Changemakers' #SocEntSummit: A Summary

To raise the curtain on International Women’s Day on March 6, Ashoka Changemakers hosted a 12-hour Twitter-based social entrepreneurship summit that attracted more than 700 participants in six thematic sessions, engaging six moderating expert organizations and more than 20 experts across the globe. It was the first in the series of large-scale, real-time, virtual events, and participants from all over the world shared their thoughts by tweeting with the hashtags #SocEntSummit and #ChangemakeHERS on Twitter.

Women social entrepreneurs, organizations working in the area of women’s development, professionals, and students participated in the online forum, tweeting more than 2,500 messages. An analysis of the last 1,500 tweets showed that the summit generated more than 24 million impressions!

Meet the Innovations for Health Competition Finalists!

Nearly 400 entrepreneurs, health care professionals, and community members from 73 countries submitted their health care solutions to the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition hosted by Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio.

Today, 15 competition finalists have been identified as outlining the most promising solutions. The Innovations for Health finalists are designed to advance high quality health and well-being through low-cost interventions and personalized patient-centered care, and they have the potential to be applied to other countries.

The finalists provide a glimpse of the future of border-crossing innovation:

Google+ Hangout on Innovations for Health: Early Entry Award Winners

The entry phase of the Innovations for Health competition, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, may be over, but our conversations with innovators have already begun.

As our judges select the three winners of the competition (to be announced on April 16th) we would like to give you an opportunity to better know our early entry winners.

Our team spoke with the founders of Beyond Borders (Asher Hasan) and the Centre for Patient Leadership (David Gilbert and Mark Doughty). You can watch our interesting conversation below:

Join us on March 20, 2012 for Ashoka Changemakers' Asia #SocEntChat about Activating Empathy!

Save the date! Ashoka Changemakers® will host a #SocEntChat for Asian audiences on Activating Empathy – Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. IST (@ Indian Standard Time)  / 4:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. EST.

Get to know the Activating Empathy Early Entry Award Winners

Ashoka’s New Year’s resolution for 2012 was more ambitious than most. We’re not cutting back on the caffeine, eating healthier, or exercising more frequently. But we resolved to make 2012 the year to jumpstart a worldwide movement for empathy, made official with the launch of the global Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools To Teach What Matters competition.

Three months later, we are seeing this resolution become a reality. Teachers, parents, students, and innovators have joined this effort to ensure that all children master empathy, a critical skill in today’s rapidly changing world. The competition has attracted more than 160 entries and nearly 400 nominations for ideas that create better communities, societies, organizations, companies, and institutions.

There is still time to get involved; the deadline for solutions isn’t until 5:00 p.m. (ET) on March 30. More than $110,000 in cash and in-kind prizes are still available to entrants!

In the meantime, we have decided to recognize a handful of our favorite solutions to date: the Activating Empathy Early Entry Award Winners:

The Big Picture of Women’s Empowerment Worldwide


Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of women’s equality, contributions, and achievements. In honor of this century-old tribute, we asked some of Changemakers’ most exciting women’s-centered initiatives to submit a single image that captures the power of their work.
Each organization presented photographs showcasing women using the one tool or service that has helped them create economic and social freedom within their communities. The following images document change in action, and tell the story of women’s empowerment worldwide.
Click on an image below to learn the story behind the female entrepreneur (and to find out what object they couldn't work without):

Enter the We Media PitchIt! Challenge for a shot at $25k

What is an idea worth? Pennies on the dollars? Less?

Try $25,000. According to Andrew Nachison and Dale Peskin, co-founders of the digital creation agency We Media, the right idea is worth that much—but only if it’s submitted by March 13.

#SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS: a new Twitter forum for women social entrepreneurs

ChangemakeHER Banner

As a curtain raiser to International Women’s Day on March 08, 2012, Ashoka Changemakers is hosting a ­­­­Twitter-based #SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS, on March 06, 2012 between 12 noon to 12 midnight IST /1:30am to 1:30pm EST. Save the date and spread the word! Hope to see you there.

Ashoka Changemakers will celebrate International Women’s Day 2012 a bit differently this year with the launch of #SocEntSummit on Twitter, the first event of its kind. This Twitter-based event—recognized, tracked and followed with the hashtag #ChangemakeHERS—will celebrate womanhood by cheering some of the most outstanding women social entrepreneurs from all over the world. The #SocEntSummit will also kick-off Changemakers’ second annual HERS Campaign, which will be hosted in a richer, more interactive content space that will be introduced end of this month on

Could Lady Gaga be the most popular spokesperson for the empathy movement?

Editor's note: This post was written by Ashoka Changemakers' Abby Chroman.

Who has a voice loud enough to amplify the message of a movement, a brand strong enough to enlist millions of participants, and the defiant will to try? Could be Lady Gaga.

Q&A with Darren Bunton, Human Rights Activist

By now you’ve definitely spotted it: Changemakers is changing. One of the most visible developments is changeshops, an improved way to help build the world of social good. Changeshops is still a very young network, but we’re already seeing signs of its potential. As the community grows, we’re asking a few top users to share the exciting projects popping up.

Today Darren Bunton, executive director and chairman of Eway Foundation, talks about growing the foundation’s Ethical Citizen Media project, the difference between Facebook and Twitter and changeshops, and keeping in touch with innovators all over the world.

#innovatehealth Interview Series: Richard Bartlett on the Gold Standard for Health Innovation

If you had to guess, what country would you say is the world leader in health innovation? According to Richard Bartlett, it’s India — thanks to a flexible regulatory environment, a government that is open to partnerships, and a dramatic need for low-cost health care options.

As he shares in this #innovatehealth interview, Rwanda and Kenya are also at the top of his list:

The Internet: a new paradigm in the right to communicate

Editor's note: This article was written by Vanuza Ramos, contributing journalist for Ashoka Changemakers.

Almost a month after the violent eviction of thousands of poor residents from their homes in a settlement in Brazil, an event popularly known as the “massacre of Pinheirinho,” many net-izens continue to discuss the repercussions of this controversial and symbolic event. Social networks, blogs, and other independent media are reporting cases of violence and abuse that are often obscured by the mainstream media, signifying a pivotal change in communications created by virtual media.

The fact that the Internet has established itself as a powerful force for ensuring the right of communication is nothing new. What was not anticipated is that it would be used in an entrepreneurial way to disseminate knowledge, information and to protect fundamental rights to life—by using it socially. 

Q&A with Jacquie Cutts, Maternal and Child Health Champion

Changemakers is changing. Through the new changeshops platform, we now offer improved ways to help build the world of social good. Changeshops users will be able to tell the online community what they need to grow their projects; search for collaborators, innovators, and competitions in the field; and access funding opportunities for world-changing ideas.

The changeshops community is growing each day. To get a preview of what might be in store, Changemakers is catching up with a few of the platform’s top users.

Today, Changemakers talked (change)shop with Jacquie Cutts, the founder, president, and CEO of Safe Mothers, Safe Babies, a nonprofit organization working to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda.

Cutts has been a long-time supporter of participatory development and has worked to help rural communities understand maternal and child health from the local perspective, in addition to supporting more innovative health care initiatives like motorcycle ambulance programs which reduce barriers to accessing care.

Join International Women’s Day Twitter-based #SocEntSummit at #ChangemakeHERS, on March 6, 2012

Ashoka Changemakers will host its first World Day #SocEntSummit on Twitter, this International Women’s Day from 1 - 5 p.m. IST / 3:30 – 7:30 a.m. ESTTitled #ChangemakeHERS, this event celebrates womanhood with some of the most outstanding women social entrepreneurs from all over the world. Save the date and spread the word!

Finally! A Dose of Innovation for the Maintenance of Health

Editor's note: This post was written by Chloe Feinberg, knowledge consultant at Ashoka Changemakers®.

The idea of maintaining health is gaining ever more prominence and importance. Health maintenance is in some ways similar to health prevention, but is also quite different.

Preventive health is used to describe the many ways and opportunities to prevent the worsening of health or the development of disease. But what if a person is already sick? What about the individuals living with asthma, or who have high blood pressure?

ColaLife Tracks Change on Changeshop

Editor's note: This post was written by Andrea Boston, freelance writer for Ashoka Changemakers.

ColaLife, the project that ingeniously piggybacks preventative medicines on deliveries of Coca-Cola, is using its Changemakers changeshop to show how it is gaining traction after emerging as one three winners of the Making More Health: Achieving Individual, Family and Community Well-Being competition.

ColaLife’s latest changeshop impact report states that Honda’s Dream Factory selected founder Simon Berry as one of nine “Cultural Engineers” who are spearheading gamechanging initiatives. Honda even donated a vehicle worth $40,000 to help ColaLife kick off its trial run in Zambia.

The Missing Link Between Ideas and Investment — Help Build It!

Editor's note: This post was written by Tim Scheu, Ashoka Changemakers Senior Project Manager

In the coming months, you'll see a new suite of features on that focus on growth—growth of impact, growth of capacity, growth of network. At the core of these tools is something called the Growth Planner.

Here's the thinking: You want support for your work. Support comes from people who are inspired by your idea and understand where your organization is headed. Changemakers' Growth Planner produces information that supporters need to engage and invest. 

#innovatehealth Interview Series: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Hear Michelle Larkin (assistant vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) talk about how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation views health innovation, and how they would like to see the national debate around health, prevention and wellness develop:

Re-imagining Health Care for the 21st Century

Editor's note: This article was written by Mercedes Jones, expert commentator for the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition.

The old way of framing health care focuses on illness, not people, resulting in highly specialized medical practitioners. The Ashoka Changemakers Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition is uncovering solutions that are based on two main principles: 1) focusing on people and their rights in the health system, and 2) the value of collaborative advocacy.

The Sun Also Helps You Hear

Editor's note: This article was written by Vanuza Ramos, contributing journalist for Ashoka Changemakers®.

A simple battery for a hearing aid costs four reais and lasts about seven days; the device itself costs 3,000 reais (about U.S. $1,750). It may seem a small price compared to the great impact these products have in the life of a deaf person, but in developing countries like Brazil, these costs ​​exclude millions of people who are hearing impaired. 

However, a major shift is underway: the social entrepreneur Howard Weinstein has developed a low-cost technology to produce solar-powered hearing aids, along with a manufacturing process that involves training and employing people with disabilities.

Save the Date! Join @Changemakers for a #SocEntChat about Empathy!

February 14th is a day the world beams with love – and what better way to capture that love, by cultivating empathy in ourselves and in our communities?

Join us, the 1440 Foundation, experts and innovators between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. EST on Valentine’s Day for a conversation about empathy: its power, its impact, and its future.  

This is your chance to share your thoughts, ideas, challenges, and perspectives—and to connect with innovators and thought-leaders!

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