Our vision and mission

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Our vision

Ashoka envisions a world where everyone can embrace their agency, live with dignity, has the skills to solve problems, and creates positive change for the common good. Let’s build together a more resilient, regenerative, and equitable society, one where everyone is a changemaker for the good of all. 

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Our mission

Ashoka identifies and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, learns from the patterns in their innovations, and mobilizes a global community that embraces these new frameworks to build an „everyone a changemaker" world. 

Three ways to understand social change – through Ashoka

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Welcome Change Series: be inspired by leading changemakers, in 30 minutes per week

Which great ideas are shaping the planet and why don't we hear more about them? Join us every week (via Zoom) when Ashoka-colleagues interview the world's best social entrepreneurs, or rewatch previous episodes to be inspired. Topics include: a national movement of 150 community banks, strategies for companies against human trafficking & exploitation on a continent, young sea rangers for marine protected areas, ending homelessness, learning platforms build by students, Roma women leading across generations, solutions journalism, drones for good, LGBTQ+ liberation in the Arab world, the future of food systems or...grandmothers democratizing mental health care!

cover of the mindset shift course of the Ashoka Globalizer

Online Courses: Learn to change systems, shift mindsets and work with the government

Are you a changemaker from any sector? The Ashoka Globalizer has created open knowledge products, based on the wisdom of advanced social entrepreneurs on changing systems. You can analyze systemic roots of the problem of your concern and then develop a detailed journey to systems change with specified milestones in the system change masterclass. ​Identify existing mental models which fuel the problem of your concern, understand their influence and offer alternatives with the mindset shift course. Learn different ways in which social entrepreneurs have been working with governments to achieve systems change sooner. Video-led, self-paced, free & online. 

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Knowledge Hub: discover the system change we all need, social entrepreneurs driving it & Ashoka's role

Meet the innovations of the Leading Social Entrepreneurs who recently became part of Ashokas largest global network of social entrepreneurs. On the topics of health, citizen participation, growing up, environment, human rights & more. Learn how international NGOs and social entrepreneurs combine their know how & co-create programs to better serve their target populations and increase the effectiveness of aid. Reimagine international development in this New Allies report. Dive into the strategies of social entrepreneurs based on a 2021 survey of 800+ Ashoka Fellows, in the Unlonely Planet Report 2022. Learn about funding systems change, or solutions for planet & climate. 

Ashoka's global programs - a selection

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The E2 Network - social & business entrepreneurs meet here

The Entrepreneur-to-Entrepreneur — or E2 — Network is a growing yet exclusive network of world-class founders and CEOs. Its members have built businesses that transformed the world around them. Now, they support select Ashoka Fellows as mentors and thought partners. They catalyze our Fellows’ impact by deploying their network, influence, and financial capital. Co-creating solutions through Ashoka's lense of systems thinking and collaborative leadership.

Globalizer Summit Ashoka 2016

Ashoka Globalizer - accelerating systemic change of changemakers

The Ashoka Globalizer has been helping changemakers identify and address systemic root causes of social and environmental problems since 2010. Its Systems Change Strategy Accelerator has helped 350+ social entrepreneurs around the world develop clear and robust systems change strategies. Added in 2018, the Systems Change Research Lab has produced online courses, podcasts and reports. Additionally, the Globalizer co-creates a supportive environment for changemakers working to improve systems through its Ecosystem Inititiatives

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Ashoka Changemakers - materials to grow your impact

Ashoka Changemakers creates opportunities for companies, foundations, and impact-sector organizations to co-create large-scale social change. Their tools: online challenges, social innovation mappings, course-activated communities, changemaker bootcamps and network mappings. The community of action at changemakers.com is a place for stories of changemakers, how-to-guides and beginners' courses cause anyone, anywhere can be a changemaker. 

Ashoka Young Changemakers Nigeria Cohort 2

Ashoka Youth Years - equipping youth with skills for change

Youth Years programs are co-created with schools/educators, youth, universities, parents, and companies and include: LeadYoung collects a series of stories about young people changing their worlds and successful adults who started things in their teens. Your Kids [In development] working with corporations to foster employee/parent support for their kids becoming changemakers while building a changemaker culture within these corporations. Ashoka Young Changemakers selecting young people aged from 12 to 18 in East Africa.

Changemakers

Ashoka U - innovating education for millions of students

Ashoka U collaborate with colleges and universities to break down barriers to institutional change and foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation. By recognizing innovative colleges and universities, convening educators and innovators from higher education, and producing free publications. 

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The Ashoka Support Network community of committed leaders

The global community of Ashoka Support Network Members strengthens the impact of Ashoka Fellows by supporting Ashoka financially, with their network, experiences and ideas. According to the study behind The Unlonely Report 2022, ASNs helped most Fellows receive strategic guidance, recognize the importance of changing collective mindsets on the social issue they work on, see themselves as a leader and acquire new partnerships. 

next now Logo. Black background. NEXT NOW in white letters in the middle of the photo, where the N is written in cursive with an arrow at the end of the n. Underneath is a line that says "Powered by Ashoka" in smaller lettering with the Ashoka tree logo, all in white.

Next Now - a collection of solutions on 4 global topics

From a bird’s eye perspective, Next Now sees patterns and frontiers of innovation that show a way to a better future. We weave a community of innovators committed to building it and share our findings and insights with the world – helping people and institutions see and build a radically new future in the fields of new longevity, gender, planet & climate and tech & humanity. 

Panel Discussion; Ashoka's Women in Social Entrepreneurship Program

WISE - Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship

A global initiative led from the global South that aims to elevate the number, knowledge, and power of women in social entrepreneurship by redefining success from a gendered lens and celebrating the unique ways in which women successfully lead and make impact. WISE believes that there are 3 types of scaling: scaling up (laws and policies), scaling out (large areas or populations), scaling deep (mindsets and cultural norms). 
 

ABOUT ASHOKA: We help social entrepreneurs & changemakers change systems and shift mindsets

There are already countless ideas to do good in the world. But few of them go beyond symptoms and have the real potential to redesign systems to better serve the needs of all. And even fewer of them are in the hands of an entrepreneur. But to solve complex social challenges at the pace necessary, we need more and more citizens to become creative problem-solvers – pioneering and implementing real-life solutions. We call them changemakers.

Are you one of them? If you're still on your way and a little lost, the Ashoka Changemakers website is a great place to dive head-first into inspiring stories and beginner resources. Cause anyone can be a changemaker, and Ashoka is committed to making changemaking accessible to all. Just read on to learn the difference between a changemaker and a social entrepreneur.

changemaker definitions

◎ Changemakers

Changemakers are people who, no matter how old they are or what their profession is, feel empowered to lead a change for the common good. They may stand up to a bully, run a campaign, organize a march, or write a series of provocative articles. Some of them build organizations that deliver services improving the lives of many. They are driven by the desire to make a positive impact on the world and to find innovative solutions to unsolved challenges. For that, they envision a new reality and take action by building a team. They understand change, take up responsibility and never stop learning.    

social entrepreneur definitions

◉ Social entrepreneurs

Among changemakers, there are transformative guides for society who go beyond building one organization and developing important services. They develop participative, people-centric solutions and undertake systemic measures to address a deep-rooted societal problem. We call these people systemic or system-changing social entrepreneurs. By taking an indirect impact approach such as changing policies, industry norms, power structures, incentives, mindsets and more, social entrepreneurs can shift a system to produce better outcomes itself and as a result achieve a significantly greater and longer lasting change.  

Baart, Kailash, Claire, Jeroo, Sue, Jos – 6 successful social entrepreneurs from a network of 4,000

Social entrepreneurs change systems, shift mindsets and activate others as changemakers.
And Ashoka supports selected social entrepreneurs to amplify their impact. 

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Baart Weetjens

Mozambique’s landmine problem was once one of the most severe in the world. Bart’s APOPO deployed its unique mine detection rats to clean up the country. Rats ignore scrap metal making them much faster at detecting landmines than metal detectors. Today, the "HeroRATS" detect landmines across Cambodia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Vietnam, Lao DPR and Thailand, as well as tuberculosis in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia. 

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Kailash Satyarthi

90,000 children were rescued from trafficking and exploitation in India by a movement built by Kailash. Kailash became an Ashoka Fellow in 1995. Among other initiatives, in 1998, he led a global march against child labor, leading the ILO to adopt its fastest-ratified convention. In 2014, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Claire Nouvian

With BLOOM, Claire led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling, successfully shifting French supermarket giant and fleet owner Intermarché‘s fishing practices and getting the European Commission to protect a significant area of the ocean. 

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Jeroo Bilimoria

Jeroo closed her organization, Child and Youth Finance International, in 2019. Her work on financial literacy and financial inclusion policies achieved its mission after she had worked with 64,000 partners in 175 countries. Today, every child can have their own bank account and save up for their future. 

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Sue Riddlestone

Sue’s Bioregional initiated the BedZED eco-village in London, based on 10 principles to live within the Earth’s boundaries. She systematized its approach by creating a sustainability framework called “One Planet Living”, which has been applied in $30 billion of real estate development, and by local governments and companies worldwide.

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Jos de Blok

Jos revolutionized community health and elderly care in the Netherlands. Today, Buurtzorg employs 15.000 nurses, has won “Best Employer of the Year” multiple times, and client satisfaction rates are the highest of any healthcare organization—all that while saving the Dutch social security system hundreds of millions of Euros every year.

"Ashoka leverages the most powerful social innovations and innovators."

The global non-profit and its network in the words of Ashoka Fellows, partners and media

Ashoka finds, helps launch, and then links and leverages the most powerful social innovations and innovators.

Carol Bellamy
Former Executive Director, UNICEF 
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Ashoka provides us with a great model for best practices. The engaged global community of social entrepreneurs that Ashoka has fostered helps each one of them to have more impact than would have been possible individually.

Pierre Omidyar
Founder and Chairman of Ebay, Chair of the Omidyar Foundation
Pierre Omidyar

Most important about what Ashoka is doing is that they make people believe that change is possible. That belief can go viral.

Anne Wojcicki
Co-Founder and CEO, 23AndMe
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Ashoka is a living encyclopedia of social innovation in every field around the world.

Jimmy Wales
Founder of Wikipedia, Ashoka Fellow
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Ashoka’s Global Fellowship opens pathways for us to build upon ideas at a broader level.

Jeroo Billimoria
Ashoka Fellow since 1998, Founder of Childline
Jeroo Billimoria

Ashoka is a world-class organization, internationally renowned for its pioneering work in the field of social entrepreneurship.

Jeff Skoll
Founder of Skoll/Foundation and First President of E-bay
Jeff Skoll

Forbes knows that the story is change. No one sees that more clearly than Ashoka. It has an extraordinary ability to both envision the big, new patterns and to engineer their emergence.

Forbes
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Four ways Ashoka accelerates impact beyond Venture, the selection of social entrepreneurs to its Fellowship

Just a little reminder. What of this do you see the biggest need in? What makes you want to get involved?

◍ Source & Select

​...the most impactful social entrepreneurs and young changemakers​.

◉ Scale

...their solutions through tailored support, partnerships and topic-specific initiatives​.

◎ Connect

...communities of changemakers locally and at the European level to leverage the network’s power.

◍ Analyse & Share

...innovation trends, learnings and most impactful​ solutions coming​ from our​ experience. 

◉ Influence

...new discussion spaces through ecosystem initiatives, communication campaigns, events and policy work.​

How to engage with Ashoka

Whether you want to stay connected to the stories of social entrepreneurs driving change in their communities, get the tools and opportunities you need for your own changemaker journey, nominate an innovator in your circles for their next big adventure, offer your support or bring in your organisation to amplify its impact — we have you covered. 

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Stay in touch

Want to dive into stories of changemakers on our website? Read up today. And did you know that the new Ashoka Community website is up now - with opportunities for learning, connection and collaboration? The good news: it has a newsletter featuring successes and opportunities from the world of Ashoka! With a focus on Europe — more below. You can also follow us on our international LinkedIn. Or subscribe to any other communications by navigating through Ashoka's websites, just like Ashoka Austria's newsletter (in German). 

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Nominate a Fellow

Did you know that you can recommend a social entrepreneur as a Ashoka Fellow? We can't source the world’s leading social entrepreneurs on our own, so we need you. Ideal candidates are characterised by possessing a new idea, creativity, entrepreneurial quality, social impact of the idea and ethical fiber. Also, keep an eye out for any of Ashoka's calls for social entrepreneurs, young changemakers & Co. and help us reach more doers and dreamers with these opportunities. Thank you! 

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Become a supporter

Are you here because you share the vision of Ashoka? You can become part of the Ashoka Support Network (ASN) today! ASN members provide Ashoka with financial support while lending Fellows their time and expertise. These committed leaders join to give back to, learn from and co-create with our community of changemakers. Are you one of them? Do you want to instead provide resources or collaborate on projects as a partner organisation? Discover the partners of Ashoka Austria, or those of your local branch. 

Ashoka X TED: Want more inspiration? Get it from Ashoka Fellows

Ideas worth spreading from Ashoka Fellows around the world.
An Israeli and a Palestinian Talk Peace, Dignity and Safety | Ali Abu Awwad and Ami Dar | TEDAn Israeli and a Palestinian Talk Peace, Dignity and Safety | Ali Abu Awwad and Ami Dar | TEDWhy Is It So Hard to Get Effective Birth Control in the US? | Mark Edwards | TEDWhy Is It So Hard to Get Effective Birth Control in the US? | Mark Edwards | TEDA Foster Care System Where Every Child Has a Loving Home | Sixto Cancel | TEDA Foster Care System Where Every Child Has a Loving Home | Sixto Cancel | TEDHow to Participate in Your Own Legal Defense | Lam Ho | TEDHow to Participate in Your Own Legal Defense | Lam Ho | TEDHow to Revitalize a Neighborhood -- Without Gentrification | Bree Jones | TEDHow to Revitalize a Neighborhood -- Without Gentrification | Bree Jones | TEDMental Health Care That Disrupts Cycles of Violence | Celina de Sola | TEDMental Health Care That Disrupts Cycles of Violence | Celina de Sola | TEDThe Most Powerful Untapped Resource in Health Care | Edith Elliott and Shahed Alam | TEDThe Most Powerful Untapped Resource in Health Care | Edith Elliott and Shahed Alam | TEDHow to meaningfully reconnect with those who have dementiaHow to meaningfully reconnect with those who have dementiaTechnology can't fix inequality -- but training and opportunities could | 'Gbenga SesanTechnology can't fix inequality -- but training and opportunities could | 'Gbenga SesanWhy are drug prices so high? Investigating the outdated US patent system | Priti KrishtelWhy are drug prices so high? Investigating the outdated US patent system | Priti KrishtelCommunity-powered criminal justice reform | Raj JayadevCommunity-powered criminal justice reform | Raj JayadevThe trauma of systematic racism is killing Black women. A first step toward change...The trauma of systematic racism is killing Black women. A first step toward change...Science didn't understand my kids' rare disease until I decided to study it | Sharon TerryScience didn't understand my kids' rare disease until I decided to study it | Sharon TerryWhat Islam really says about women | Alaa MurabitWhat Islam really says about women | Alaa MurabitThe reporting system that sexual assault survivors want | Jessica LaddThe reporting system that sexual assault survivors want | Jessica LaddRoberto D'Angelo + Francesca Fedeli: In our baby's illness, a life lessonRoberto D'Angelo + Francesca Fedeli: In our baby's illness, a life lessonTristram Stuart: The global food waste scandalTristram Stuart: The global food waste scandalAmory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energyAmory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energyJennifer Pahlka: Coding a better governmentJennifer Pahlka: Coding a better governmentCaroline Casey: Looking past limitsCaroline Casey: Looking past limitsThe economic injustice of plastic | Van JonesThe economic injustice of plastic | Van JonesSaving Money to Save the Planet | Neil McCabe | TEDxHa'pennyBridgeSaving Money to Save the Planet | Neil McCabe | TEDxHa'pennyBridgeCan the Catholic Church solve the climate crisis? | Molly Burhans | TEDxBostonCan the Catholic Church solve the climate crisis? | Molly Burhans | TEDxBostonAccelerating Science Learning in Africa | Solomon King Benge | TEDxBYUAccelerating Science Learning in Africa | Solomon King Benge | TEDxBYUChangeMaker: Tutti possono essere attori del cambiamento | Alessandro Valera | TEDxBolognaChangeMaker: Tutti possono essere attori del cambiamento | Alessandro Valera | TEDxBolognaTime to use your superpower | Agata Stafiej-Bartosik | TEDxWarsawTime to use your superpower | Agata Stafiej-Bartosik | TEDxWarsawHealthcare: humanity above bureaucracy | Jos de Blok | TEDxGenevaHealthcare: humanity above bureaucracy | Jos de Blok | TEDxGenevaAshoka Fellow | Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka | TEDxAshokaAfricaAshoka Fellow | Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka | TEDxAshokaAfricaFairphone -- changing the way products are made: Bas van Abel at TEDxAmsterdamFairphone -- changing the way products are made: Bas van Abel at TEDxAmsterdamThe challenge of Islamic fundamentalism in Nigeria | Femi Fani-Kayode | TEDxJabiThe challenge of Islamic fundamentalism in Nigeria | Femi Fani-Kayode | TEDxJabiUnusual Suspects in Energy Transition | Aart van Veller | TEDxAUCollegeUnusual Suspects in Energy Transition | Aart van Veller | TEDxAUCollegeForget the money, conservation is all about people | Wietse van der Werf | TEDxAUCollegeForget the money, conservation is all about people | Wietse van der Werf | TEDxAUCollegeAshoka Fellow  | Dr. Priscilla M Achakpa | TEDxAshokaAfricaAshoka Fellow | Dr. Priscilla M Achakpa | TEDxAshokaAfricaElderhood rising -- the dawn of a new world age | Bill Thomas | TEDxSFElderhood rising -- the dawn of a new world age | Bill Thomas | TEDxSFYouth sports as a development zone: Jim Thompson at TEDxFargoYouth sports as a development zone: Jim Thompson at TEDxFargoOtra forma de enseñar a leer y escribir | Beatriz Diuk | TEDxRiodelaPlataOtra forma de enseñar a leer y escribir | Beatriz Diuk | TEDxRiodelaPlataAshoka Fellow  | Haron Wachira | TEDxAshokaAfricaAshoka Fellow | Haron Wachira | TEDxAshokaAfricaNew solutions for dyslexia: Luz Rello at TEDxMadridNew solutions for dyslexia: Luz Rello at TEDxMadridTEDxABQ - Jill Vialet - What Play Can Teach UsTEDxABQ - Jill Vialet - What Play Can Teach UsRecuperar el rol de las mujeres en la tecnología | Melina Masnatta | TEDxRiodelaPlataRecuperar el rol de las mujeres en la tecnología | Melina Masnatta | TEDxRiodelaPlataSalir de la cárcel | Andrea Casamento | TEDxRiodelaPlataSalir de la cárcel | Andrea Casamento | TEDxRiodelaPlataMudar dói, mas não mudar mata o futuro das crianças | Celmira Macedo | TEDxPortoMudar dói, mas não mudar mata o futuro das crianças | Celmira Macedo | TEDxPortoCaso Tadeo: Redefiniendo el autogobierno en México | Saskia Niño de Rivera | TEDxTecdeMtyCaso Tadeo: Redefiniendo el autogobierno en México | Saskia Niño de Rivera | TEDxTecdeMtyAshoka Fellow  | Jennifer Uchendu | TEDxAshokaAfricaAshoka Fellow | Jennifer Uchendu | TEDxAshokaAfrica|LO QUE TÚ PUEDES HACER POR LA DEMOCRACIA| | Mariana Niembro | TEDxCiudadDeMéxico|LO QUE TÚ PUEDES HACER POR LA DEMOCRACIA| | Mariana Niembro | TEDxCiudadDeMéxicoTEDxDF - Manuel Wiechers - El acceso a la energía y el desarrolloTEDxDF - Manuel Wiechers - El acceso a la energía y el desarrolloTejiendo un mejor futuro... desde prisión | Daniela Ancira | TEDxUniversidadPanamericanaTejiendo un mejor futuro... desde prisión | Daniela Ancira | TEDxUniversidadPanamericanaLa vida es para compartir | Dina Buchbinder | TEDxMedellinLa vida es para compartir | Dina Buchbinder | TEDxMedellinWater, justice & sustainability in rural Guanajuato | Dylan Terrell | TEDxSanMigueldeAllendeWater, justice & sustainability in rural Guanajuato | Dylan Terrell | TEDxSanMigueldeAllendeISLA URBANA | Enrique Lomnitz | TEDxCalzadaDeLosHéroesISLA URBANA | Enrique Lomnitz | TEDxCalzadaDeLosHéroes