Topic : Environment & Sustainability
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In Switzerland, Ashoka nominates one or two social entrepreneurs every year to be part of our fellowship programme. Ashoka fellows are visionaries who develop innovative solutions that fundamentally change how society operates.
In response to the increasing industrialization of dairy farming in France, Fabrice is developing an entrepreneurial-driven small-scale farming alternative that reinvents the role of farmers keeps them in the agricultural and economic landscape. Through new modes of production and distribution that respect the environment and offer healthy milk, he positions dairy producers as wellness partners and reconnects them with consumers.
Guilhem Chéron is creating a viable alternative to France’s industrial agricultural production system by using peer-to-peer marketing to fundamentally transform the economics of artisanal, environmentally sustainable food production. By reducing overhead costs and inefficiencies, Guihem is more than doubling the income suppliers receive for their products, first for suppliers in France and ultimately, across Western Europe.
In response to increasing agricultural industrialization throughout France, Jérôme Deconinck has created the first agricultural land trust to mobilize the French population to preserve their agricultural heritage, and to promote the development of a more unified small-scale organic farming culture. He is demonstrating that another form of rural development—one that preserves landscapes, ensures custody of the environment, and maintains economic and social activities—is possible.
Since the 1980s, Jean-Guy Henckel has worked to help the most excluded out of long-term unemployment. His innovative model trains them to produce high-value, organic agricultural products and organizes them into local “Cocagne Gardens,” organizations that market their packaged products to conscientious consumers, who in turn commit to buying their products every week. Beginning locally, Jean-Guy has expanded his approach to over 100 locations across France.
Nicolas Metro is redefining forest preservation as a human development issue, one that reaches far beyond environmental conservation. By positioning trees as central actors in creating economic opportunities and addressing social issues, Nicolas develops simple ways for companies and local communities to find common ground where entrepreneurial solutions are encouraged to flourish.
Judi Aubel is improving the lives of women, children and families by empowering grandmothers, an abundant and underutilized cultural resource, to catalyze change in socio-cultural norms related to many issues, including girls’ education, early and forced marriage, teen pregnancy, female genital mutilation, maternal and child health/nutrition and intergenerational communication.
Kevin Lee is enabling vulnerable communities in the Philippines to demand, create and sustain water and sanitation systems through a new governance approach that simultaneously channels consumer needs and increases local government capacity to deliver.
In the mid 1980s Yvonnick Huet pioneered a market-based model to solve poverty and food issues through the restructuring of viable local farming markets in developing countries. Unlike the field of development that has traditionally been charity-focused and culturally skeptical toward economy-oriented projects, Yvonnick has focused his efforts on small businesses as the key facilitator in development.