Ashoka engages the world’s largest and most powerful network of social entrepreneurs by searching for and selecting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs: Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship almost 40 years ago, and today it continues to build the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs. Since launching Ashoka in the Netherlands in 2014, we have elected and supported a number of Dutch Ashoka Fellows who are bringing system change in the Netherlands and beyond.
The selection of Ashoka Fellows occurs through an intensive, human-centred process; the Venture Process. Across the globe, we use the following selection criteria and the process to elect Ashoka Fellows:
We make sure that the Ashoka brand, the engagements we curate and facilitate, and the connections we open are valuable to each Fellow. We invite Fellows to make the most of the network through interactions that will increase their chances for deepening their social impact.
We are delivering value to our Fellows in 5 key areas:
Empathy & Young Changemaking
In a world of rapid change, effective collaboration is essential to capture or confront the complex opportunities and challenges ahead. The foundation of such a collaborative effort must be built on empathy: the ability to understand and respond to the feelings of others. In a changemaker world, empathy is as fundamental as reading, writing and math. At Ashoka, we are working every day to build and cultivate a community of change leaders to redefine success in growing up and inspire every young person to become an empathetic changemaker.
We believe that anyone can become a changemaker and we strive for a world in which every young person is equipped and inclined to contribute to the common good. In order to empower every young person to become a changemaker, we need to change the way in which we educate young people. Ashoka launched the Changemaker Schools Programme in 2012 to build a community of education institutions that prioritize the cultivation of empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking in their students.
Ashoka Netherlands has selected 9 Changemaker Schools. Once selected, the schools are connected with each other and with Ashoka’s community of social entrepreneurs and supporters from different sectors with the aim of reshaping the traditional education system.
Ashoka Support Network
The Ashoka Support Network (ASN) is a global community of successful, innovative leaders from a variety of fields, who connect with the world's leading social entrepreneurs to accelerate positive social change. They support Ashoka financially as well as strategically, offering their time, network and expertise.
In the Netherlands, we have a strong community of ASN members who provide their guidance and expertise to Ashoka Fellows and Changemaker Schools, supporting them to amplify their social impact. They do so in several key ways:
- Providing Mentorship
- Building Networks for Fellows
- Becoming Ambassadors for Fellows and Ashoka
- Sitting on Advisory Boards
- Investing Resources
- Bringing in Expertise
- Building New Partnerships
Globally, the Ashoka Support Network consists of over 400 members in 20 countries throughout Europe, North America, South America, India, and beyond - as it continues to expand.
Would you like to support the world's top social innovators?
Join the Ashoka Support Network by reaching out to us at [email protected] to learn more about how you can drive positive change.
Ashoka Changemaker Alliances
We build Co-Creation & Changemaker Alliances where our Ashoka Fellows, businesses, and policy makers complement each other’s skills and expertise to take on challenges that no one could solve alone, and simultaneously have access to new strategic win-win opportunities.
Accelerating Healthcare Access
The Philips Foundation and Ashoka are cooperating in a multi-year program, Accelerating Healthcare Access (AHA), to accelerate access to healthcare around the world by connecting social entrepreneurship with industry skills and exploring collaborative action. This unique cross-sector collaboration envisions to create and leverage shared value that will increase healthcare access for disadvantaged communities.
Learning for Holistic Wellbeing
At Ashoka Netherlands, we entered into a partnership with the RoundGlass Foundation to create the first ever Learning for Holistic Wellbeing Summit which took place in Jaisalmer, India from 19 to 22 February 2020. The Summit brought together more than 120 of the world's most visionary leaders in the field of education (including 17 Ashoka Fellows and 4 Ashoka Young Changemakers) to collaborate and collectively re-envision the future of education systems around the globe. The vision of the partnership is to build learning ecosystems where teachers and non-formal educators can learn to support the growth and wellbeing of children holistically; including physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual ways of learning.
Google Impact Challenge on Safety
In 2019, Ashoka partnered with Google on The Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety: a €10m fund to support organisations across Europe that are working on challenges related to hate, extremism, and child safety, both online and offline. By funding new and existing community projects across Europe, we hope to support initiatives to counter hate and extremism, and help young people to become confident digital citizens.
Never before has the impact of humanity on Earth been so decisive for planetary well-being and humanity's future as now.
I believe we must now place our resources in education and specifically in growing children's skills in empathy, positive psychology, self-awareness, collaboration, leadership and creativity. Only then will children be able to recognize problems and find solutions to the increasing challenges that they will face during their lifetimes. We really need to rethink the systems we have created, becoming the new system and collaborating to act together.
I found an organization 18 years ago, focusing on vulnerable young people in prison, 'Young in Prison', where I have seen in reality how all children CAN transform. With my initiative, I was rewarded with an Ashoka fellowship and I have since fallen in love with Ashoka's mission: 'everyone a changemaker'.
Erlijn holds two Master degrees, in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences and in South East Asian languages and cultures. She started her career in the corporate sector, working as an advisor for major Dutch companies like ABN, KLM and Philips. Erlijn is currently leading the Accelerating Healthcare Access Partnership with Philips. Next to being director of Ashoka Nederlands in the past years Erlijn is a social entrepreneur: co-founder of Microkrediet voor Moeders, an MFI operating in South & Southeast Asia. She was MD of the Banking with the Poor network (SIngapore) and HandsOn Microfinance (Amsterdam) too. And recently she founded Credits for Communities, a Global Movement aiming to increase the access to community-owned solutions that increase the well-being of the community at large. Erlijn's ambition is to contribute to a more just economy, accessible for the poor, with a special focus on social enterpreneurship, inclusive finance and Asia.
Karin holds a Masters degree in Arts & Culture Sciences. She is an experienced co-founder and executive director with a demonstrated history of working in social and cultural entrepreneurship. Preferred theme: talent development, learning & education.