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Future Forward Team's picture

Innovations Journal: Youth and Economic Opportunities

"Why do all of us as social entrepreneurs do this work? Because I believe from the bottom of my heart that poverty is simply unnecessary, and that we could end it in our generation—and that’s what we work towards every single day." —Taddy Blecher, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of Maharishi Institute... read more

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Tsega Belachew's picture

Seven Trends Shaping the Youth Employment Conversation

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Tsega Belachew (@tsepeaces) shares insights on social entrepreneurs paving the path for youth employment solutions in Africa…

It is not easy to be young and in the labor market today. In the midst of economic and political flux, youth face a lot of uncertainty about their future. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), global unemployment is reaching crisis levels at 12.6%. But recent projections from the UN Population Division tell a significant story: the demographic future of the world will be Africa-driven.

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Kris Herbst's picture

Delivering Simple, Life-Changing Technologies Where it Counts

Ewa Wojkowska has created distribution systems that are giving people in remote areas of Indonesia  and other parts of the world, who lack access to electricity and clean water, life-changing technologies such as water filters, solar lights and fuel efficient cookstoves. She is co-founder Kopernik, a Bali-based nonprofit organization that launched a Tech Kiosk initiative in 2012 to support 41 Tech Kiosks across five Indonesian provinces. 

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Melek Pulatkonak's picture

Closing the Gender Gap in Turkey

Turkish Women’s International Network (TurkishWIN) seeks to inspire and connect female leaders in Turkey and abroad with stories that convey whole hearted stories and inspiration. The goal is simple: utilizing the power of video and the format of TED talks, it provides wings to women’s stories, unleashing the economic power of women by inspiring and connecting them across the homeland and in the Turkish diaspora.

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Rebuilding Guatemala … Through Its Soil

The story of how one social entrepreneur in Guatemala, Curt Bowen, is starting a revolution—for farmers, by farmers.

Guatemala, 1970. General Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio became the face of the Institutional Democratic Party, essentially a club of military dictators whose brutal rule, between 1970 and 1986, changed the country forever. Guatemala's development plan, supported by the US, aimed to “aid campesinos as well as small and medium farmers” for a diverse national production.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

Making The Daily Commute Safer for Women in Pakistan

The daily commute  is considered a routine task by many people around the world – mundane, unchanging and more often than not, simple. In many parts of South Asia, however, this seemingly simply task of commuting to and from work is considered difficult and often dangerous for women. An issue brought to light by the horrific gang rape in Delhi, safe, harassment-free transportation is hard to come by for many working women in the region.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

Striking A Balance to Empower Female Engineers

“Children should have the right to have their mother at home, not in the form of a maid, babysitter or grandmother,” says Nermin Saad. “At the same time, don’t these mothers have the right to use their degrees and qualifications flexibly whilst taking care of their children? 

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

The Most Innovative Solutions of the "Women Powering Work" Competition

Investing in women creates a multiplier effect for society: better health and education outcomes, societal resilience, reinvestment in communities, and national prosperity. While progress has been made globally, women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) still face some of the most daunting barriers in asserting their economic rights.

“Women currently make up half of the world’s population, work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half the world’s food, but only earn 10 percent of the income and own less than 2 percent of the world’s property,” according to Ashoka Fellow Ben Powell of Agora Partnerships. Moreover, the MENA region has one of the lowest rates of female labor participation in the world.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

Reviving Afghanistan One Farmer at a Time

It’s hard to believe that Afghanistan was once considered the “orchard of Central Asia.”

In the 1970s, about 60% of the world’s dried fruit came from Afghanistan with fruits and nut exports making up about 40% of the country’s foreign exchange with bountiful vineyards, farms and forests peppering the nation’s terrain landscapes. After years of drought, conflict and the Taliban rule, the war-torn country now stands as one of the poorest in the world.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

UAE's First Virtual Job Market

Finding work in the Arab World is a daunting task. Battling the highest rate of unemployment among youth in the world, nearly a quarter of men and 42 percent of women aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in 2012. In contrast, youth unemployment in the European Union and the US are 18 percent and 16 percent respectively.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

How Are These Women Leading the Tech Revolution in Yemen?

Yemen has long been one of the poorest countries in the Arab world and with a history of civil conflict and particularly conservative cultural traditions, the challenges facing its citizens, especially women, are nothing short of enormous.

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Future Forward Team's picture

Improving Job Creation for Young People

Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation have partnered to bring the second webinar in the Future Forward series featuring youth and innovators, Ashoka Fellows selected in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to answer: How can job creation be improved for young people?

Panelists:

Judy Stuart, Founder of Future Farmers, http://bit.ly/1g9I1Rw

Nokukhanya Nxumalo, a youth and now aspiring farmer participating in Future Farmers

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Reem Rahman's picture

5 Innovative Trends in Women's Economic Equality

Investing in women creates a multiplier effect for society – including better health and education outcomes, more resilient societies, reinvestment in communities, and greater prosperity. While there has been overall progress globally, women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) still face some of the greatest barriers in asserting their economic rights.

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The World Cup Effect

Sporting mega events such as the FIFA World Cup TM consume the hearts and minds of people around the world. With Brazil 2014 quickly approaching, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, streetfootballworld would like to ensure that these mega events leave a lasting, positive effect on the host country of Brazil.

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Future Forward Team's picture

Four Lessons From A Social Entrepreneur

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on Forbes.com. Dorien Beurskens, founder of Young Africa (YA) and an Ashoka Fellow who was elected as part of the “Future Forward” partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, shares key insights and approaches as part of the #AfricaYouthFwd innovative solutions conversation.

News headlines are replete with stories of a growing youth bulge and impending youth unemployment crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the bad news. However, many social entrepreneurs are at work even now creating solutions to these types of challenges—a sort of counterbalance that shapes fortune out of misfortune. And within Africa, innovators are stepping up to the challenge of affecting behavior and pattern change with a deep understanding of the context of their communities’ problems. Young Africa (YA) founder Dorien Beurskens and her partner Raj A. Joseph are part of a wave of social entrepreneurs who are identifying root causes for the youth employment challenges in Africa and developing innovative solutions, which place the needs, assets, and priorities of the youth and the wider community at the forefront.

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Leena Al Olaimy's picture

Powering Up the MENA Region: Solutions from Bahrain to Jordan

The Middle East and North Africa region represents a wildly diverse variety of cultures, customs, religions and political groups. And the relationships between these constructs and popular ideas about women's rights are similarly varied throughout different countries in the region.

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Danielle Batist's picture

Intellectual Property: a $25 Billion Opportunity for Africa

What do Ethiopian fine coffee farmers, Uganda vanilla producers and women gatherers of Nilotica shea nuts have in common? 

...They were all losing out on their hugely valuable products because of a lack of intellectual property tools. Ashoka Fellow Ron Layton is working to change that. 

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John Converse Townsend's picture

Interview With Tony Juniper: 'No Nature, No People'

Tony Juniper is a campaigner, writer, and “by popular consent the most effective of Britain’s eco-warriors.” He’s currently a special adviser to the Prince of Wales Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, a senior associate with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), and editor-in-chief of National Geographic Green Magazine.

We caught up with Juniper to chat about climate change, sustainability, and how nature is actually the basis of economic activity.

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Kris Herbst's picture

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.

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Kris Herbst's picture

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. 

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Marzena Zukowska's picture

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.

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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. Life is very, very good.

There’s just one problem. This wealth has a cost. And unfortunately, until today, either because we’ve either not been aware of it, or because we’ve believed it was an acceptable trade-off, we’ve kind of been ignoring it. 

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Danielle Batist's picture

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.

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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.

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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?

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Danielle Batist's picture

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.

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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.

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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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Alex Beyard's picture

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