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How Flexible Work Culture Can Make Business More Social

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Forbes.com)

Ten years ago, I met a woman working in the kitchens of my son’s school. Prior to having children, she had been a high flying professional. This, she told me, was the only job she could find with the flexibility she needed to care for her family. After searching for months for something at her level of skill and ability, she felt she had no choice but to “back pedal” on her achievements, earning capacity and future ambitions.

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Danielle Batist's picture

Why Co-Creation Is the Future for All of Us

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Forbes.com. Photo credit: Specialisterne – "People with autism at an IT company")

In a world defined by rapid change, the search for solutions to societal and environmental challenges has become more complex. While market systems have become interconnected and supply chains have become supply webs, public policy and industry norms are not changing as fast. As a result, they are increasingly inadequate tools to govern our societies.

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Know Your Goals, Know Your Audience: Lessons From The 2013 Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovators Mexico City Boot Camp

 

If you want to obtain different results, don’t do the same things. Improve your potential by combining systems that meet skills and strengthen creative gaps. Make the change you want to see as clear as the problem you want to solve.

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Hyacinth Mascarenhas's picture

Breaking Barriers for Women in Pakistan: The Women's Digital League

Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Maria Umar was a full-time teacher at a private school in Pakistan. After she got pregnant, however, she was refused maternity leave and fired. Discovering online work through sites such as Odesk and Elance, Umar began to take on micro online tasks ranging from content writing to social media management before outsourcing them to her nieces, friends and other women in Pakistan. In 2009, she founded her own all-women virtual firm – The Women’s Digital League.

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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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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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Kristie Wang's picture

Sasha Kramer: Nutrients for All Changemaker

Sasha Kramer is working with communities in Haiti to fight diarrhea-related disease, the leading cause of child mortality. She co-founded SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods), which transforms human waste into a resource for sustainable livelihoods, agriculture, and reforestation.

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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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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.

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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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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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