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Precisamos de você para identificar as iniciativas mais inovadoras na área de moradias urbanas sustentáveis!

Há 2 semanas do fim do prazo de inscrições no desafio “Moradia Ideal: Colaboração para Cidades mais Inclusivas e Sustentáveis”, lançamos uma campanha pelo Twitter, chamada de #SocEntNom, e gostaríamos de contar com seu apoio!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Junte-se a nós nesta quarta-feira, 26 de janeiro, ao #SocEntChat

Envolver Comunidades e Proteger Mares, Lagos e Rios

Nesta quarta-feira, 26 de janeiro, o Changemakers da Ashoka reunirá empreendedores e inovadores sociais, e os finalistas de todo o mundo deste desafio on-line, a fim de gerar interações sobre o tema Geoturismo - um turismo que sustenta ou desenvolve uma característica geográfica de um local. O Geoturismo ainda supõe o desenvolvimento de áreas costeiras, insulares e fluviais, bem como proteger as águas e o meio-ambiente e fortalecer o patrimônio e o sustento dos moradores locais, mobilizando os recursos, que incluem novas tecnologias, de maneira criativa.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Defining the Issue of Dead Capital

[Editor's note: This article was written by Nicole Skibola, lawyer by training and human rights practitioner. It was originally featured on her blog, Strange Attractors.]

“Dead Capital” is capital in the form of unregistered real property, and is considered lost value because the landholder is unable to transfer or leverage his property for capital or capital access.  For instance, homes that are unregistered and extra-legal receive little or no infrastructure, are valued less, receive less investment and represent potentially areas of vulnerability for those who dwell in them. Globally, the estimated value of unregistered, yet inhabited property is $9.3 trillion in value held by primarily poor people.

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¡Oportunidad Unica para los Interesados en Derechos de Propriedad!

Lo invitamos a participar del #SonEntChat Multilingüe sobre Derechos de Propiedad

Martes, 11 de enero a las 14 -16 (CET) a través de Twitter. 

Ashoka Changemakers reunirá a emprendedores e innovadores de todo el mundo para discutir sobre los derechos de propiedad. Comparte tus ideas sobre la importancia de los derechos de propiedad y su papel en garantizar la igualdad de oportunidades. Esta charla será multilingüe, con la facilitación simultánea en inglés, español y portugués.

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Join @Changemakers Tuesday, January 11th for a Multilingual #SocEntChat on Property Rights

Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All

On Tuesday, January 11th, Ashoka Changemakers will bring together entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world to discuss property rights. With secure rights to land, people are able to improve their quality of life, invest confidently in their property, build security for their family, and improve their social status. Ultimately, the positive economic and social impact of property rights can transform lives and bolster communities.

We invite you to participate in this #SocEntChat via Twitter between 2pm and 4pm (EST) and share your ideas about the importance of property rights and their role in ensuring equity in opportunity. This chat will be multilingual, with simultaneous facilitation in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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TED Prize Winners: Six Ideas That Are Changing the World

[Editor's Note: This piece by Allison Ford was originally featured in Divine Caroline]

If you work in the fields of design, technology, publishing, art, entertainment, public health, science, non-profit, or government, you’ve probably heard of TED. But even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve likely heard of some of its endeavors.

Started in 1984, TED has grown into a series of global conferences that bring people together to talk about ideas―big, transformative ideas. TED solicits presenters and speakers from all walks of life to discuss world-changing innovations, and to try to solve intractable global problems. Every year, more than one thousand people attend the main conference in Long Beach, California, to hear industry leaders and information pioneers talk about their plans to effect change through the dissemination of these groundbreaking ideas.

Each year, TED gives out $100,000 in prizes to people with big ideas to help them bring their ideas to fruition and make their dreams come true. These winners make a wish, and with the help of other TEDsters and professionals, they attempt to do nothing less than change the world.

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O jogo de construir futuros compartilhados

Algo acontece comigo quando jogo um jogo, que acontece a todos quando jogamos. O esporte, esse que ocorre em quadras e campinhos de bairro, nos mobiliza e nos emociona.

A razão é simples: é inevitável aprender sobre si mesmo e sobre minha relação com os outros, assim como exercer minha capacidade de tornar possível algo a partir de um “nós”.

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El juego de construir futuros compartidos


Hay algo que me pasa cuando juego un juego, y nos pasa a todos, cuando jugamos. El deporte, ese que sucede en canchas de barrio, nos mueve, nos conmueve. La razón es simple: resulta inevitable aprender sobre mí mismo y sobre mi relación con otros, y ejercer mi capacidad de hacer posible algo desde un "nosotros". ¿Vamos a la cancha? Vamos.

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The game of building a shared future

Something happens to me whenever I play a game, and this happens to all of us when we play. A sport practice, the one taking place in neighborhood fields, moves us, touches us. The reason is simple: it is inevitable to learn about myself and about my relationship with others, and be able to make something possible by starting from a "we”. Shall we go to the field? Let's go!

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365 Donations, 365 Blog Posts, and a Year Reaping the Joy of Giving

For each and every day this year, Betty Londergan has strived to “let love loose in the world.”  By the end of December 2010, Londergan will have identified 365 worthy charitable organizations, written about them on her blog, What Gives 365, and sent each of those organizations a personal check for US $100.

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Sustain-A-Raisers: Applying a Barn Raising Approach to Community Sustainability Projects

by Kristie Wang, Ashoka Changemakers

When Joshua Arnold was preparing to lead his community group, Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.), in restoring a grange hall to create a community space for Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, he learned about barn raising, an event in which an entire community gathers to help build one household’s barn. “I had heard about it before—it’s always been in my cultural memory—but as I read more, I really became fascinated by how barn raising built a way of life centered on reciprocity,” Arnold said.

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The Secret to Finding Jobs in a Harsh Economy

by Kristie Wang, Ashoka Changemakers

[After completing the Making Connections Louisville program, Shavelle Gordon (left) found a job in housekeeping at Norton Healthcare and support from Norton manager Michelle Williams (right). Gordon has since become a nursing assistant and is studying to be a nurse.]

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A 21st Century Social Movement: Using Cell Phones to End Street Harassment


Emily May, the Executive Director of Hollaback! believes that we all have the right to feel safe, confident and sexy, without being subjected to street harassment.   Using mobile technology, Hollaback! allows girls and women to report harassment and assault safely with their phones, publicly sharing stories of street harassment and photos of their harassers on the website.   May predicts that instant online reporting will become a new model of activism in the 21st century, creating movements to address a wide variety of social challenges.

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This is the face of redemption

by Betty Londergan, What Gives 365?

Somaly Mam is so triumphantly beautiful, it’s difficult to think of her as a victim, or anyone’s slave. But she was both – sold into sexual slavery at the tender age of 12, raped, tortured and prostituted until she finally escaped and was able to build a new life for herself. But she vowed never to forget those left behind in the brothels, and Somaly made it her life’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficked girls and give them a new chance at life.

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Register Now for the Ashoka Twin Cities Solutions Forum: The Business of Social Innovation

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

The first-ever Ashoka Twin Cities Solutions Forum will bring together leading social entrepreneurs and proven business innovators from the Twin Cities to explore how business principles can be applied to solve social problems. The evening will feature nationally renowned social entrepreneurs and Ashoka Fellows, Andy Lipkis and Jill Vialet. The interview will be hosted by media personality and entrepreneur, Rick Kupchella.

The event is FREE and will be held at the Walker Art Center on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 at 7 p.m. with a reception to follow.

Click here to register!

Ashoka Solutions Forum
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Forum begins at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
Walker Arts Center, McGuire Theater
Reception begins at 8:15 p.m. in the Skyline Room

The event is co-sponsored by InCommons and The Knight Foundation.
This forum is the debut event of the new Ashoka Twin Cities chapter. Space is limited.

Watch the Ashoka Twin Cities story:

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President Obama honoring the winners of the G20 SME Finance Challenge

"When it comes to creating jobs and opportunity, often times it's the small and medium sized enterprises that make all the difference in people's lives. And one of the biggest challenges for such companies is to make sure they receive the financing that they need. We look forward to — as a consequence of this award — seeing more and more creative mechanisms to finance worthy enterprises. And many of the lessons that are going to be learned from these projects are ones that hopefully can be expanded to a whole host of countries for years to come."

The G-20 has just committed more than one-half billion dollars to support the winners of the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. President Barack Obama, Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated the winners in person and announced this stupendous funding commitment at the closing of the G-20 Seoul Summit. Of course, the winners of the G-20 SME Finance Challenge were present at the G-20 Seoul Summit, too.


[South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (C), U.S. President Barak Obama (third from L) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (third from R) pose with SME Finance Challenge Award people’s choice winners Scott Gilmore, Peace Dividend Trust executive director (L); Sylvia Beate Wisniwski, European Fund for Southeast Europe executive director (second from L); Obama, Myung-bak, and Harper; SME Finance Challenge Award people’s choice winner Onno Schellekens, Medical Credit Fund co-founder (second from right), and Bill Carter, Ashoka's diamond leader for Africa - at the closing of the G-20 Seoul Summit on Nov. 12.]

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Women & Tractors: A love story

by Betty Londergan, What Gives 365?

[What worked for women in WWII, works for women in Ghana today.]

It was an earth-shaking moment. Leticia Brenyah was helping rural women in her Ashanti Ghana village to improve their lives with classes in personal hygiene, money management, and healthcare when it suddenly occurred to her that what they really needed was a break. These women were farmers, like 60% of Ghanaians, and like most smallholder farmers, they spent hours in the fields plowing, planting, weeding and harvesting by hand, using tons of harmful chemicals, exhausting themselves and the soils.

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Competition Pumps Funds into a Novel Growth Industry

by Robynn Sturm,

Last week, at a ceremony in Seoul, President Obama congratulated the winners of a competition that may not have caught the world’s attention like the Nobel Prizes or World Series but just might change the world. The G20 SME Finance Challenge, launched by G20 leaders in June at the group’s Toronto summit, invited individuals and organizations to submit novel approaches to helping small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) blossom into businesses that are engines of growth and job creation. The competition—which promised financial commitments from an array of international donors to help the winners scale up their ideas—drew 350 inspiring entries from more than 20 countries. The 14 winners selected from that pool will now share more than a half a billion dollars from the United States, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Multilateral Investment Fund.

One of the biggest challenges that SMEs face is access to the financing they need to thrive and grow. To tackle this challenge, the G20 deployed an innovative approach that used the G20 reach and convening power to find the best solutions around the globe.  Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and run by Ashoka Changemakers, the G20 SME Finance Challenge called on private financial institutions, private investors and companies, socially responsible investors, foundations, and civil society organizations worldwide to identify the best models of using public interventions to catalyze the deployment of private finance on a sustainable and scalable basis.

One winning model, submitted by the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, was a low-cost screening tool  lenders can use to evaluate the risk of a potential SME loan without requiring the traditional evidence for creditworthiness that all too many entrepreneurs—especially women—lack.  Another winning entry, submitted by the Capital Tool Company, also targeted the challenge of SME risk evaluation: through a web-based network, the winning model aggregates suppliers’ knowledge of their SME clients—for example,  whether they have a history of paying their bills on time—to create risk ratings that can be shared with potential lenders. 

The winning submission from MFX Solutions focused on eliminating currency risk for international SME lenders by adopting a proven currency-hedging strategy pioneered in the microfinance industry.  And the Peace Dividend Trust submitted an innovative loan guarantee model aimed at empowering local SMEs to bid for donor procurement contracts in post-conflict or post-disaster economies.  You can learn more about these winning ideas and many more on the Challenge website.

The winning ideas will be scaled through a new global SME Financing Facility launched in Seoul by President Obama in partnership with Canada, the Republic of Korea, and the multilateral development banks.  The SME Financing Facility will be structured to accept funding from an array of different sources and to distribute funding in the form best suited to the winning proposals.  In some cases that may be grants for technical assistance or capacity building; in others it may be risk sharing or first-loss capital, mezzanine capital, or investment capital. To date, $528 million has been committed to the framework.

Scaling the winning solutions through the SME Finance Innovation Fund is just the most immediate of the many benefits that are expected to emerge from this novel Challenge.  Through the Challenge, the G20 has cultivated a rich community of innovative minds committed to the goal of developing creative SME finance models as the Executive Director of Ashoka Changemakers, Charlie Brown, said at Promoting Innovation, a summit on prizes and challenges hosted earlier this year by the White House and the Case Foundation, “the power of competition is not only to source new ideas, but to create partnerships and collaboration in some of the most unlikely and seemingly impossible situations.”

In other words, although this contest has ended, the innovation has just begun.

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Changewatch: The Demand Economy; The truth about executing great ideas; Social media for social good

Today, our Changewatchers are buzzing about ...

How to locate deep pools of demand in a shrinking marketplace.

The secret truth about executing great ideas.

A replicable framework to use social media for social good.