Ewa Wojkowska

Ashoka Fellow
Bali, Indonesia
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Ewa Wojkowska was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Ewa has created a system that connects existing but currently disconnected actors to ensure that far-flung communities have access to appropriate technologies to improve their welfare. Together with Kopernik, an organization she and her husband co-founded, Ewa is creating distribution channels that engage local civil society organizations, cooperatives, savings and loans groups, local kiosks, funders or investors, and technology producers to ensure that last-mile communities have access to much needed appropriate technologies to address their basic needs. These technologies include water filters, solar lights and fuel efficient cookstoves.

Creating a system to make the technologies accessible is important, as is making sure that the technologies are affordable. Ewa, moving away from a solely philanthropic approach is balancing business and philanthropy by using donations from corporations and individual donors to pay for the up-front cost of purchasing and shipping technology and then providing technology on a consignment basis to local partners. Then the local partners ensure that people have access to credit or installment payment schemes to further make the technologies affordable.

Unlike other technologies that reach the market without verifying impact, Ewa has developed a feedback mechanism engaging the users and producers and technical university support, to ensure the products work as intended and the people in the last mile are well served. The system provides the ability to find out whether anything has gone wrong - so that this can be addressed - and identify aspects of the technology that need to be improved by the technology producers. With the mechanism, Ewa ensures the technologies brings positive impact to the people, the technologies perform effectively (and if not, that the problems are addressed or the technology is no longer distributed) and the producers are able to best serve their clients.

With the system in place, at least 25,000 life-changing technologies have been serving more than 140,000 people in 14 countries of whom 60,000 are from Indonesia spread across 10 provinces. The system has engaged at least 53 local civil society organizations, 38 technology producers, 24 funding partners and 23 in-kind partners. As it has shown positive impact, aspects of the model are being adopted by programs in big multinational corporations, the World Bank and the UN Agencies.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


To date, we have been working primarily with solar lights, water filters and clean cookstoves, which make life easier for families in remote communities, particularly for women. Beyond the household level, we are expanding our work into productive use of technologies, for example food?processing and agricultural technologies, which can increase productivity and economic opportunities in the communities we serve. From launching in 2010 until 2015, we have connected simple technology with more than 320,000 people. These products are saving families time and money, improving health and safety, easing pressure on the environment, and opening up new economic opportunities ? especially for women, through our Wonder Women Indonesia initiative. We train women in some of Indonesia's poorest provinces to become clean energy micro?social?entrepreneurs ? and currently work with 330 'wonder women', who sell technologies in their communities. In addition to improving distribution of technology, we plan to expand our activities on technology needs identification, assembly and testing.

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