Ashoka’s broad network and deep understanding of social entrepreneurship gives us a unique capacity to harness the learning from leading social entrepreneurs. The Citizen Base Initiative (CBI) seeks to use this distinctive vantage point to capture, share, and enable how leading social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations mobilize key human, technological, information, and financial resources from their citizen base. By creating an open, curated, and self-propelling platform, we aim to highlight the power of a dedicated citizen base, and empower those seeking a social change with effective citizen-based resource mobilization solutions.

First launched in 1996, CBI conducted over 140 case studies and a series of competitions to identify and celebrate the creative ways organizations build a dedicated citizen base. Ashoka’s broad network and deep understanding of social entrepreneurship give us a unique capacity to harness the learning from leading social entrepreneurs. CBI aims to highlight the power of a dedicated citizen base, and empower those seeking a social change with effective citizen-based resource mobilization solutions.

Below we spotlight powerful examples of Ashoka Fellows mobilizing the citizen bases around them.



Joaquim de Melo, Banco Palmas

Joaquim is creating a community banking system that uses local assets as currency. Between 2007 and 2009, Banco Palmas made 3139 Palmas loans, an equivalent of $2.5 million, benefiting 2,500 families.

A. H. Md. Maqsood Sinha, Waste Concern

Maqsood is tackling urban waste disposal by developing a network of decentralized, financially self-sufficient composting centers adapted to Bangladeshi conditions.

Suraiya Haque, Phulki

Suraiya Haque is addressing the issue of work place based day care centers in Bangladesh. She has developed and implemented working models for factories, offices, and community based centers. Her organization also provides training on management of day care centers so that the factories and offices are eventually able to run the centers themselves.

Hany El-Miniawy, ADAPT

Hany is introducing low-cost housing to low-income communities by producing appropriate local building materials, adopting a participatory approach for transfer of know-how, and using simple and fast building techniques. When applied nationally, Hany’s idea will address two of Egypt’s major problems: low-income housing shortages and inhumane living conditions in squatter and illegal areas.

Nike Esiet, Action Health Inc.

By engaging adolescent peer educators, volunteer parent counselors, and teachers in a comprehensive program to provide information to adolescents about health and sexuality, Nike is enabling thousands of Nigerian teenagers to make informed decisions that will enhance their reproductive health and their dignity.

Erzsébet Szekeres, Alliance Industrial Union

By providing medical care and training, the Alliance Industrial Union works to integrate disabled adults into Hungarian society.

Charles Maisel, Men on the Side of the Road

MSR seeks to bridge the gap between the growing economy and unemployed people with low skills by increasing people's ability to earn a sustainable income.

Tomasz Sadowski, Barka Foundation

Tomasz Sadowski is pioneering a new approach for dealing with Poland's most chronic homeless cases by creating self-sufficient rural communities. 

Wellington Nogueira, Doctors of Joy

Wellington Nogueira created an organization devoted to bringing happiness into the lives of children in hospitals through the dramatic art of clowning. Through his program he strives to give this form of artistic expression a predominantly social character in an effort to humanize Brazilian hospitals.

Nebahat Akkoc, KA-MER

Nebahat Akkoc has launched a comprehensive support center for women in south-eastern Anatolia, the poorest - and for women, most oppressive - region of Turkey. The self-supporting center, financed by an on-site restaurant and daycare center, provides a range of services, including legal and psychological counselling, human rights education, and child-care.

Ximena Abogabir Scott, Casa de la Paz

Ximena Abogabir Scott is implementing a new approach in the field of informal environmental education that will both enhance the effectiveness of the numerous organizations that are currently working in that field and stimulate urgently needed citizen participation in more general civic activities. Her initiative employs a well-planned and coordinated combination of new educational materials, training, networking and a publicity campaign.

Harley Henriques do Nascimento, GAPA

Harley Henriques do Nascimento is combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Brazilian state of Bahia, through a network of peer educators based in the region's disenfranchised communities.

Jorge Strada, Fundación Papelnonos

By creating spaces and opportunities for elderly people to exercise their creativity and imagination, Papelnonos combats the negative effects of loneliness on the elderly while promoting a culture of inclusion and active participation.

Marcela Zubieta, Fundación Nuestros Hijos (FNH)

Fundación Nuestros Hijos (FNH) provides integral support to disadvantaged children with cancer in order to increase their life expectancy, improve quality of life, and decrease the psychosocial impact of the illness on both the children and their families.

Mora Podestà, Fundación Logros

The mission of Fundación Logros (Achievements Foundation) is to contribute to a sustainable social development taking the individual development as a starting point, through formal and non formal educational processes. 

Pradip Sarmah, Centre for Rural Development (CRD)

CRD aims to create sustainable livelihoods for poor families in North East India by using local resources and focusing on skills development. 

Souleymane Sarr, AJA Mali

Souleymane Sarr is confronting the staggering problem of unemployment and underemployment among youth in his native Mali. In 1993, he created the Association Jeunesse Action Mali (AJA Mali) in an effort to revolutionize the system of artisan apprenticeship.

Petra Vitousova, Bílý Kruh Bezpečí (BKB)

Bily Kruh Bezpeci (BKB) offers comprehensive counseling and aftercare for the victims of violent crime in the Czech Republic.

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