Ashoka Bangladesh was launched in 1987 when we began supporting system change social entrepreneurs in the country, as Ashoka Fellows. To date, we have supported more than 90 men and women with creative new approaches for solving social problems and connected them into a dynamic peer network to help them grow their ideas and impact.
Today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world.
Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like agriculture development activist Shykh Seraj, human rights defender Shahidul Islam Chowdhury (Uttaran), Philip Gain (SEHD) and Salma Ali (BNWLA). Working in socio-economic upliftment, people like Humaira Islam (Shakti Foundation) and Prof. Hosne Ara Begum (TMSS), author and activist of the rural ultra poor Runa Khan (Friendship NGO), among several others.
Currently, we have over 70+ Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across Bangladesh. Our Global Academy members include Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) and World Food Prize Awardee Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (BRAC) from Bangladesh
Ashoka Bangladesh functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.
In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realized that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practising skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.
In the last couple of years, Ashoka has also worked closely with organisations like BRAC, Friendship, Toru, DNet and others to launch initiatives like the BRAC University Empathy Lab and the Frugal Innovation Forum on 'Scaling Opportunities for Youth.'
To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Venture and Fellowship and #LeadYoung we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.
Yashveer has worked with International development organisations on strategy & sustainability and has been instrumental in launching & setting up new projects. Prior to this, he founded a youth non-profit to address talent inequity in the development sector and influence youth culture in India by inspiring, educating, and supporting university students to pursue social innovation and entrepreneurship. For his work, Yashveer has been recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs in "Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia" list in the year 2016. He was also awarded prestigious Youth Action Net 2012 Fellowship – as 1 of the 20 young social entrepreneurs representing 16 different countries by International Youth Foundation and was recognized as Global Shaper 2011 by World Economic Forum.
He earned his MBA at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, where he was the only MBA student to receive Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award 2014. As the President of Student’s Union BITS Pilani 2006-07, Yashveer co-founded the University VISION 2020 Plan.
Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur with a long record of founding organizations and public service. As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. After graduation from Harvard, he received an M.A. from Balliol College in Oxford University. In 1970, he graduated from Yale Law School. After working at McKinsey & Company, he taught at Stanford Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 1977 to 1981, while serving the Carter Administration as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, he launched emissions trading (the basis of Kyoto) among other reforms. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. Bill is Ashoka’s Chair and Chief Executive Officer. He is also chair of three other organizations; Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! Bill has won numerous awards and honors throughout his career. In 2005, he was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. Other awards include the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honor, the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; and the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award. As one of three members of the Leadership Team, his special responsibilities are leadership of the new group entrepreneurship and social financial services programs as well as staff search and marketing functions.