Purina and Ashoka recognize the power of the pet-human bond to transform society. And we know innovators and social entrepreneurs are some of the first to unleash these dynamic, new, creative solutions to foster positive impacts for individuals and communities.  

This year, the second edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize features two application streams and an expanded geographical scope. Purina and Ashoka are on the search for social innovations both piloted/implemented and idea-stage that are focused on harnessing the mutual positive power of the pet-human bond. The latter stream, idea-stage innovations, is specifically aimed at young innovators, from 18 to 25 years old. Now accessible to more countries across Europe, Middle East and North Africa – EMENA region, the 2020 Prize application process will be open from the 25th of November and will close on the 28th January 2020. 

We’re inspired by innovators and social entrepreneurs who are benefiting both pets and humans by: 

  • Leveraging the pet-human bond to help develop further key emotional and behavioural competences in children and adults (such as empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence and collaboration) as well as enabling both people and pets to learn from each other and cultivate emotional self-care to overcome societal issues such as violence, abuse, or abandonment. For example, the 2018 BetterwithPets Finalist Canine Hope, runs a programme dedicated to working with survivors of rape and sexual violence, with rescue dogs in need of a home as canine co-tutors. 
  • Bringing the power of the pet-human bond to the community level to promote inclusivity by connecting and convening people and pets, helping them overcome disconnection and isolation. For example, pet-human community initiatives that help people with disabilities or the elderly overcome physical limitations, as demonstrated by 2018 BetterwithPets Prize winner the OOPOEH Foundation which helps to reduce loneliness and increase physical activity for the elderly by matching them as a dog sitter to a family in their neighbourhood.  

  • Enhancing physical health and wellness through pet therapies, or by enabling people and pets to live a healthier life. An example is Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) by Ashoka Fellow Michelle Lem, that aims to improve the health of homeless individuals and their pets through a “one health” model of care. By offering human health services and health education alongside preventative veterinary care, CVO seeks to improve access to veterinary and human health resources for an at-risk population and leverage the human-animal bond to increase human health resource uptake. 

  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society. Projects that aim at researching and/or working on how pets can help improve public health system. For example, the 2018 BetterwithPets Finalist Medical Detection Dogs, a charity harnessing the powerful scenting ability of dogs to help detect the early stages of Parkinson’s disease in patients.  

  • Revolutionizing veterinary care for pets. Ashoka Fellow Nalinika Obeyesekere is a great example of this. She has established Pet Vet Clinic in Sri Lanka to raise the standard of animal health care, by combining a unique multi-doctor model that allows clients to benefit from the varied expertise and interests of a diverse veterinary team. In addition, her project is promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare standards. 

These examples just begin to capture how forward-thinking social innovators could harness the positive power of the pet-human bond for the health and wellbeing of society. The BetterwithPets Prize welcomes other creative approaches regarding this challenge.  

Submit your entry to the BetterwithPets Prize by 28th January, 2020. There are two application streams: piloted/implemented innovations and idea-stage innovations. The latter is specifically aimed at young innovators, from 18 to 25 years old. 

For details on the application process, eligibility criteria as well as the terms and conditions, please visit: https://network.changemakers.com/challenge/purinabetterwithpetsprize/brief. All entries must be made in the English language.

Purina BetterwithPets Prize: Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? We have an answer. Be sure to review the Purina BetterwithPets Prize Frequently Asked Questions to understand the information and details you need to enter your innovation.
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Meet the winner of the first BetterwithPets Prize

The OOPOEH Foundation hopes to reduce loneliness and increase physical activity for the elderly by matching them as a dog sitter to a family in their own neighbourhood
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For this second edition, we aim to reach social entrepreneurs and young creators from across EMENA who are innovating to harness the power of the pet-human bond for the well-being of pets, the people who love them and society as a whole.

Bernard Meunier
CEO, Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe, Middle East, North Africa
Bernard Meunier

Because of the Purina BetterWithPets Prize, the OOPOEH has been able to visit, encourage and help 320 seniors find a dog to take care of and keep them company!

Sofie Brouwer
Founder, OOPOEH Foundation
Sofie Brouwer, founder of the OOPOEH Foundation