An Incredible Two Weeks for the Ashoka Fellowship

Ashoka at CGI: Nigeria Fellow Dr. Joseph Adelegan ashoka CGI Clinton Global Initiative Dr. Joseph Adelegan network for Environment and Economic development research

The last two weeks have been great ones for the Ashoka Fellowship. During this time a stunning number of Fellows have received a variety of accolades. We are thrilled that these visionary social entrepreneurs are being recognized by so many organizations. Awards are important for social entrepreneurs. They often come with resources vital to the ongoing success of their work. They raise the profile of their work, inspiring others to join their cause. And they sustain and inspire changemakers through the inevitable challenges and set-backs along their journey.

First we found out that Zimbabwean Fellow Betty Makoni has been selected by TIME Magazine as one of their top 10 Heroes of 2009.

American Fellow Eboo Patel was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership as one of America’s Best Leaders 2009.

Then Pastor James Wuye and Imam Mohammed Ashafa of Nigeria were announced as recipients of this year's Fondation Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention, which aims to improve awareness and support for those who dedicate a part of their lives and resources to preventing conflicts.

Almost the same day The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and 3M Canada announced the first winner of the Canadian Environmental Innovation Award, honoring Ashoka Fellow Sidney Ribaux, co-founder of Équiterre, a Montréal-based organization that develops projects which empower citizens to make environmentally and socially responsible choices.

Also last week Conde Nast Traveler magazine announced the winner of their prestigious Environmental Awards and to our delight they have selected Ashoka Fellow Al Harris for his work preserving the marine biodiversity of Madagascar. Al was recently featured in Ashoka’s first eBook, Stories of Change: Fellows and Their Journeys, which is available for download here.

And today Latin Trade, Latin America’s leading international business magazine, will be presenting two of its prestigious Bravo Awards to distinguished members of the Ashoka Social Entrepreneur community: Rebecca Villalobos, an Ashoka Fellow from Costa Rica who promotes quality eye care for all, and Ashoka Support Network member, Lorenzo Mendoza, Executive President of Empresas Polar. Rebecca Villalobos is receiving the Bravo Humanitarian Award for her work founding ASEMBIS, through which she has reached over 3 million Costa Ricans, providing quality, affordable care to people of all economic backgrounds and in the most remote areas of the country.

We send our congratulations to all the winners and look forward to more much-deserved recognition for our Fellows in the future.


More Ashoka Fellows have been recognized by the Tech Awards, an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity in five categories: environment, economic development, education, equality, and health. Three of this year's 15 laureates are Ashoka Fellows:

Dr. Joseph Adelegan, Nigeria

Dr. Joseph Adelegan(seen in video above) has brought technological innovation to conventional anaerobic biodigesters. He designed a reactor dubbed “Cows to Kilowatts” that treats slaughterhouse waste in an effort to abate water pollution and mitigate greenhouse gas emission. He engages local communities in the implementation of his project which produces biogas usable as domestic cooking gas to create a commercially sustainable solution to a persistent environmental problem.

Bright Simons, Ghana

Bright Simons is empowering consumers to protect their health using simple and user-friendly technology to instantly authenticate and the safety of pharmaceuticals at point of purchase. In doing so, he is building a win-win coalition engaging and educating manufacturers, regulatory agencies and consumers. Read more about his MPedigree project.

Howard Weinstein, Brazil and Botswana

Howard Weinstein’s business model gives access to low-cost, high quality hearing aid technology to the low-income people in developing countries that need it most. His deaf employees are taught to become leaders and advocates for the full inclusion of hearing-impaired people in society. Read more about Solar Ear.

You can watch current Tech Awards ceremonies here