ASHOKA. THE FELLOWS OF CHANGE
A global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.
Empowering people on the ground may seem like a naïve notion in this age of multinational corporations. But certain individuals have the vision and skills that to positively affect their entire communities.
Bill Drayton, before founding Ashoka, traveled in India to test out this idea. He went door to door in one community and asked each person to write on a card the name of the person who had had most influence or caused a change in their lives. Then, he organized the cards and figured out the social network of this community; all paths led to one woman, Gloria de Souza, who had spearheaded an experiential learning approach to education. Her educational system, based on creativity and problem solving rather than traditional rote learning and skill development, inspired positive changes throughout her entire community.
Ashoka was born out of this realization: that there is nothing more powerful than an idea for change in the hands of an entrepreneur.
What Ashoka really looks for is not just a great idea or a social entrepreneur that can bet his life on his ability to solve the problem, but a pattern-changing idea, one whose effects can ripple around the world.
Thirty years later, there are more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows (social entrepreneurs who received support from Ashoka to launch and develop their ideas) who continue to prove this concept true. Over 90 percent of Ashoka Fellows had their programs replicated within 10 years, and over half succeeded in changing national policy.
In summary, from 1980 Ashoka has championed the most important new ideas for social and has supported the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, prosper, and collaborate.
To learn more about the projects supported by ASHOKA, read the article previously published in IM Magazine (written by journalist Carla Costa and with design by Rui Matos).