Ashoka, a registered 501c3 not-for-profit organization in the United States, is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs—men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. Since 1981, they have elected over 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in 70 countries working in every area of human need – from health care and education, to civil justice and the environment. For 25 years, Ashoka has supported leading social entrepreneurs by investing in them and connecting them to a global community of their peers. Ashoka has no religious or political affiliation and receives funding primarily from individuals, volunteer chapters, foundations, and business entrepreneurs.
With the global community, they develop models for collaboration and design infrastructure needed to advance the field of social entrepreneurship and the citizen sector.
The Fellows inspire others to adopt and spread their innovations - demonstrating to all citizens that they too have the potential to be powerful changemakers.
What Ashoka Doe:
Ashoka works on three levels:
1. Support Social Entrepreneurs - First, they support individual social entrepreneurs—financially and professionally—throughout their life cycle.
2. Promote Group Entrepreneurship - Second, they bring communities of social entrepreneurs together to help leverage their impact, scale their ideas, and capture and disseminate their best practices.
3. Build Sector Infrastructure - Finally, they help build the infrastructure and financial systems needed to support the growth of the citizen sector
and facilitate the spread of social innovation globally.
All of the programs in these three areas contribute to Ashoka's vision and mission; all understand the historical transformation of the citizen sector taking place and are building upon that understanding. None of the programs exist to provide services exclusively.
Ashoka's three levels are mutually reinforcing; together they are bringing the vision of Everyone a Changemaker closer to reality.
Fields of Work:
Ashoka supports ideas and develops initiatives in every field of human need, from microfinance to water management to children's health. Much of the work around the globe falls into six major fields—
1. Civic Engagement: Ashoka Fellows and initiatives effectively organize and amplify the voices of private citizens, empowering a culture of participation.
2. Economic Development: By expanding economic opportunities, strengthening bargaining power, and developing markets that are more responsive to the poor, Ashoka Fellows and initiatives are creating economic independence for individuals around the globe.
3. Environment: Creating broad solutions that protect the environment while also tackling closely linked social problems is the core mission of Ashoka's sustainable environmental efforts.
4. Health: Ashoka Fellows are improving the quality of human health worldwide by strengthening health care delivery systems, increasing access to essential medicines, and establishing public-private partnerships that foster health equity.
5. Human Rights: Around the world, Ashoka supports innovations that secure the full range of civil, political, and social rights for all people.
6. Learning/Education: Ashoka supports the development of new methods for learning and education that engage youth in the learning process. Ashoka Fellows' innovations develop schools, curriculum and programs that encourage problem solving, decision making, responsibility, teamwork and creativity.
Regions of Work:
Africa - There are more 350 Ashoka Fellows in 17 African countries. Ashoka Africa currently works under the 3 cluster regions of East, Southern and West Africa, and has 4 regional offices based in Mali, Senegal, South Africa, and Kenya
Asia - Ashoka’s Asia programs have identified nearly 600 leading social entrepreneurs in Asia, making this the largest region of activity in the world.
Europe - 229 Ashoka Fellows have been elected in 14 European countries to date.
Middle East / North Africa (MENA) - To date, they have elected 20 Fellows from the region.
North America - Ashoka's presence in North America began with the launch of Mexico in 1987, followed by the expansion to the United States and Canada in 2000.
South America - Since launching Ashoka Brazil in 1986, Ashoka has elected over 500 leading social entrepreneurs from South America into its Global Fellowship.
Over 25 years, Ashoka has helped change the lives of millions all around the world through its Fellows, programs, and staff. And while the numbers of those helped are extraordinary, they are most proud of the impact the Fellows have had in terms of systemic change—shifting societal perceptions, encouraging new behavior patterns, and revolutionizing entire fields.See more