Ashoka Fellows: Social Innovation Demystified

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Ashoka Fellow Growth Graph

What is “Social Innovation”?

If you enjoy following charitable sector news, you’ve probably picked up on the buzz around social innovation; you may even find yourself inspired and excited about the possibilities. That said, you would not be alone if you hadn’t the foggiest idea how to explain what it is or why you’re so excited to others.

Social innovation is emerging around the globe as people realize that it’s time to work together and collaboratively to find new solutions to challenges that face our society. Clearly it’s a BIG concept and it’s also very fluid.

CanadaHelps is thrilled to have partnered with Ashoka Canada to bring the Giving Life audience a unique series featuring Ashoka Canada Fellows to help demystify social innovation, where Ashoka Fellows share their stories that offer tangible examples of social innovation at work.

What is Ashoka?

Ashoka is a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs – individuals with innovative solutions to the world’s most urgent social problems.  After an intensive selection process, Ashoka elects these leading social entrepreneurs, Ashoka Fellows, into their global network of 3,000 Fellows in over 72 countries. This includes 49 Canadian Fellows that have been elected across the country since 2002. Ashoka’s network exists to accelerate their impact.

Ashoka’s vision is to enable a world where everyone can be a changemaker. A world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.

Featured Ashoka Fellows

Over the next month, we will highlight four Canadian Ashoka Fellows; visionaries who are getting systems unstuck and creating new opportunities for citizens of the world. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change

Meet the Fellows & their Initiatives

Fiona Sampson, The Equality Effect
The Equality Effect uses international human rights law in creative ways to legally hold governments accountable for their failures to protect the rights of women and girls.  Through creating an international network of social activists, social workers, lawyers and academics Fiona and her team are enabling educational and economic opportunities for victims of gender based violence. Read Now>>

Manon Barbeau, Wakiponi Mobile
Oral traditions and storytelling are fundamental aspects of aboriginal cultures that have always played a critical role in establishing strong inter-generational links in communities. Manon’s initiative, Wakiponi Mobile, is creating a new way for the youth to recover this important traditional through modern applications of film and music production. Read Now>>

Usha Tamba Dhar, Sage Youth
The focus of Sage Youth is to strengthen literacy in marginalized communities across Canada by implementing a strong community-based approach. This approach is twofold: Tama builds her student’s self-esteem and integrated community support to address low literacy rates in marginalized communities. The tools that are developed enable families and volunteers in the community to support youth to read and write. Read Now>>

Nadia Duguay, Exeko
The mission of Exeko is to foster and promote inclusion and development of marginalized populations through innovation in culture and education. Through her new approach, Nadia teaches reflective thinking to prisoners, at-risk youth, and those suffering addiction. Read Now>>

The above reflects just a few examples of the innovative work lead by Canadian Ashoka Fellows. Check back next week on Giving Life for our first profile of this series. To learn more about Ashoka, please visit their charity profile page>>

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