This profile was prepared when Christina Jordan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
People who want to be actively involved in development in Africa have limited choices: they may volunteer at an existing project in Africa or write a check to an aid agency. But Christina introduces a new form of interaction: a global online community that watches, learns about, and supports community development projects in Africa. She has created a virtual marketplace for ideas and opportunities related to African development. This community then becomes her support and investment base for testing innovative development ideas. By sharing the personal histories and current successes and struggles of Africans, Christina provides an online space for people around the world to learn about Africaespecially through positive stories that tend not to be the focus of the mainstream media. Having engaged people in the online community, Christina then provides them with ways to get involved in the community. She highlights what she sees as good investments, such as the first microenterprise fund entirely publicly supported through the Internet. In this way, Christina guides the community's interests to solving problems with new, simple, replicable ideas.