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.
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.
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.
"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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
There’s no such thing as starting too early when it comes to forming healthy habits, according to the Healthy Beginnings for Preschoolers 2-5 team. They provide resources, training, and guidance to early learning practitioners that help ensure preschoolers are learning healthy eating habits and keeping active from an early age in in British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Quebec.
Finalists will be revealed on 9/3! Until then, we’ve rounded up top stories about empathy making waves as a powerful driver of change in communities. (Photo: NERDS (Native Education Raising Dedicated Students) is a Semi-Finalist of the Building Vibrant Communities challenge and is featured on the Ashoka Changemakers Instagram this week!)
But first, a few announcements:
We have to change the way the next generation of children learn, think and interact with people and the environment (both built and natural).
“This world requires a new paradigm for growing up and therefore also for education,” Bill Drayton wrote last year in Stanford Social Innovation Review.
An astonishing 90 percent of assaults are committed by repeat assailants, and only 22 percent of sexual assaults on campuses are reported to authorities, according to estimates. Victims of sexual assault on college and university campuses need a safe space where they can report assailants in a transparent and confidential way —and where they can help put an end to what is often an ongoing cycle.
A former high school teacher, Jordyn Lexton recalls telling a student in her English class, “that, with hard work and over the course of time, he could achieve his goal of becoming an architect.
“As the words left my mouth, another student respectfully objected, telling me I was ‘selling dreams’,” Lexton said. “In that moment, I realized I needed to do more.”
When it comes to healthy living, changing age-old habits is not always easy. Today in Canada, one in four children is overweight or obese, and less than 7% of children are physically active each day.
You know that India ranks first in the world for deaths caused by traffic accidents. You know that most of the deaths are pedestrians. And you know that UL and Ashoka have come together to surface the most innovative solutions that are making roads in India safer.
Without decisive action, today’s children could become the first generation of Canadians to have shorter life-spans than their parents. The growing twin epidemics of physical inactivity and unhealthy eating is placing the health of Canadian children at risk and threatens to be a massive driver of heart disease, stroke and soaring health costs in the future.
"The 2015 goal to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation is running 150 years behind schedule.”
—WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation 2010
Editor's Note: This article was written by Tsega Belachew, Global Content and Engagement Manager for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. This article was first featured on AllAfrica.com on 29 July 2014. RLabs, founded by Marlon Parker, is an innovation movement that transforms youth in troubled communities, gangsters, dropouts and ex-convicts, into changemakers.
From a pool of more than 200 entries, the short-listing team at Ashoka Changemakers has selected 86 Semi-Finalists of the Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change challenge.
Video caption: Early Entry Prize Winner and Semi-Finalist iLead+Design submitted this video illustrating its unique model for teaching students empathy skills and how to use design thinking to solve problems.
How many times have you been told to exercise more, to eat a little healthier or to sleep a little longer? And how many times have you actually got out there and done it? Probably not as often as you’d like.
What is needed to get people to actively support environmental sustainability?
“Marketing,” says Kevin Davies, Ashoka American Express Emerging Innovator and founder of Green Start, an organization committed to reducing waste in Calgary, Canada and educating Calgarians about the impact of their personal decisions on the environment around them.
“I believe that marketing could well be the missing piece of the puzzle. I believe in marketing as a force for good.”
Project Happiness (PH) teaches students the skills to build emotional resilience, self-awareness, and empathy. Informed by neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness, PH “teaches kids to be happy and strong from the inside” and helps adults strengthen social and emotional skills as well, said founder Randy Taran.
More than 200 entries were received for the Building Vibrant Communities competition! We’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered. Due to the overwhelming response, we are pushing back our timeline one week and will be announcing Semi-Finalists on July 24.
Video caption: A trailer for the film produced by Early Entry Prize Winner and Semi-Finalist Project Happiness. The film is part of Project Happiness' set of tools for helping young people and adults strengthen the skills of empathy, emotional resilience, and self-awareness.
Ashoka Fellow Stephen Leafloor is creating young leaders among First Nations and Inuit communities affected by issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, depression, family violence and school desertion. Using a blend of hip-hop dance and music and traditional Inuit performance arts as a hook, he guides youth and other community members to create comprehensive networks of support and solutions to these mental health crises.
Editor's Note: This article was written by Eme Essien Lore, Senior Associate Director of The Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.