This profile was prepared when Daphne Nederhorst was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Daphne is identifying grassroots leaders and using new media technologies to spread their stories and projects to local and global audiences. Daphne builds local media networks and uses a web platform to create and disseminate short videos that showcase the Heroes’ successes to extreme poverty and disseminate their stories globally.Sawa Heroes are individuals that have created their own successful solutions to extreme poverty with no or very little outside support, and create positive and long-term impact to reduce extreme poverty in their communities. Daphne has trained youth videographers in 11 target countries in videography and journalistic skills so that they are able to profile the stories of Heroes in local communities, news sources and on the international Sawa website. Heroes are continually identified through the networks of youth videographers and through partnerships involving local media, citizen organization (COs) and individuals. Daphne will establish regional Sawa education centers where Heroes can exchange methodologies, collaborate amongst themselves, and teach surrounding communities about their solutions to foster local replication and scale up their successes.To further support the work of Heroes, and to help them sustain, expand, and scale their projects, Daphne is connecting Heroes to a global network of partner organizations. This creates a network of support for Heroes to increase their impact and disseminate knowledge about their work.Daphne is engaging with global bodies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and private corporations such as PepsiCo Quakers Food and the Grameen Creative Labs. She aims to influence their approaches to international foreign aid efforts and to put the focus on local and bottom-up solutions by surfacing and supporting successful projects with the aim to reach 50 of the world’s poorest countries. She is transforming Sawa’s website into an online resource center to share best practices as alternatives to traditional top-down models of international aid.