Monday, 20 February 2012

Join the ­­­­Twitter based #SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS, on March 06, 2012 between 12 noon to 12 midnight IST

As a curtain raiser to International Women’s Day celebration, join the ­­­­Twitter based #SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS, on March 06, 2012 between 12 noon to 12 midnight IST /1:30am to 1:30pm EST. Save the date and spread the word!

Ashoka Changemakers will celebrate International Women’s Day this year on Twitter. @Changemakers will host its first #SocEntSummit titled #ChangemakeHERS, to celebrate the spirit of womanhood with the most outstanding women social entrepreneurs from all over the world. 

Women have stood in the forefront of social change since time immemorial and have demonstrated powerful impact around strongest social issues. They are increasingly getting involved at all levels of changemaking to address urgent social change issues that affect the society at large (and not just women).
Ashoka Changemakers is all set to stage the most promising women changemakers from all over the world on March 06, 2012 during a Twitter based #SocEntSummit on #ChangemakeHERS, setting the tone for the International Women’s Day (celebrated every year on March 08). This event will be an occasion to share ideas, impart knowledge and build collaborative partnerships to co-create change in our society lead by women.

Ashoka Changemakers, as world’s leading online platform for social entrepreneurs, has been working towards facilitating development of changemaking ecosystem. #ChangemakeHERS #SocEntSummit by @changemakers (twitter handle of Ashoka Changemakers) is an effort to establish a twitter forum for women changemakers to continue dialoguing and sharing their ideas, thoughts and impact throughout the year (using hashtag #ChangemakeHERS).

All the content aggregated during a month with hashtag #ChangemakeHERS will culminate into a blogpost on Best women changemaker twitter accounts, most popular tweets (with maximum retweets) & most regular twitter posts with #ChangemakeHERS hashtag will also be felicitated on ChangeWire. The top twitter participant of #ChangemakeHERS each month will be interviewed for Changemakers Blog and will win in-kind prizes.

Session plan for #SocEntSummit on #ChangemakeHERS will be posted shortly.
What is #SocEntSummit and how does it work?

A #SocEntSummit is a real-time, Twitter-based discussion on social entrepreneurship focused around specific issues, areas, themes, and events that spans for 12hrs non stop. It is designed for current and aspiring social entrepreneurs, funders, journalists, and supporters to share ideas, discuss the state of the field, identify the latest innovations, and pinpoint areas requiring deeper exploration over an online media.

You are free to join the #SocEntSummit anytime during the event, using your twitter account—if you aren’t on Twitter yet, visit to sign up. Registration is quick and free. 

Here are a few simple steps to join the chat:
  1. Visit TweetChat at Also here is the shortcut link to the #SocEntSummit:
  2. Click on "Sign in," and enter your Twitter account name and password. Authorize TweetChat by clicking on "Authorize app”, when prompted.
  3. In the box marked "Enter hashtag to follow," type in #SocEntChat.
  4. Click "Go" and join the conversation!
Hashtags are Twitter’s way to set apart keywords, messages, or topics in any given conversation. Once you’re following the #SocEntSummit hashtag, you will be able to see every tweet from the event, even if you’re not yet following any users on Twitter. Don’t forget to use hashtag #ChangemakeHERSyou’re your dialogues.

Before the onset of the event, 
@changemakers will let followers, listeners, and participants know that the #SocEntSummit is underway. Those who are following along will be asked to introduce themselves. After a few quick introductions, @changemakers will start the moderated sessions.
Enter the discussion at any time, just be sure to include the #SocEntSummit hashtag, otherwise your tweet will not be seen by other chat participants. (If you're using an application like TweetChat, you can type your message without worrying about adding the #SocEntChat hashtag—many programs will do it for you automatically!) 

Please do invite your friends or colleagues or allies who are interested in or belong to the Women Changemaking space. Share this blog post on Facebook or spread the word on Twitter. Here is a sample tweet:
Join @changemakers on March 06, 2012 between 12noon to midnight IST for an intriguing #SocEntSummit on #changemakeHERS! Spread the word & save the date!

We will acknowledge all our #SocEntSummit Partners for this event during the event. All partners are expected to actively promote the event and bring in participants for the discussion to enrich it to the fullest. To be our prime #SocEntSummit partner, please contact Indrani Sharma at

* Session moderation partnerships and prize sponsors solicited. 
Check it out: new ways to grow great ideas

Friday, 17 February 2012

Change from Within - Sushmita Sen on Changemaking

I love change! The uncertainity of unknown boundaries is an adrenaline high for the explorer in me.
For me, there is only one way to change the world - with excitement and dynamism.
'Each one change one' - change starts when one starts with themselves.
I can only change me :)
To think I can change another is just wishful thinking :)
Changemakers is a wonderful platform to inspire people to change themselves and then set about changing the world for the better.

So yes, to be aware is to know this truth and to nurture it.
With awareness everything grows and without, it stagnates and ultimately decays.
I practice this awareness everyday...the force within!
What we resist, persists. I practice no resistance to change and transformation.

An hour of silence is a must everyday; give and receive unconditionally; follow your heart; be non-judgemental; and don't have any misguided ideas of "perfection".
I nurture the doing and not be attached with the result.
Above all, I strive to have a purpose in life, which goes beyond the 'me' to the 'we'.
I use the unique DNA I was born with, for the good of the world at large...after all, life is not lived in isolation.
To have money, fame, adulation and whatever else I desire...and then to realise that good is not enough for me - I must be better!

I believe every life has awareness, some may not have realised it yet :)
If one can live their lives to the fullest potential, the world will automatically draw inspiration from that celebrated example.
Gandhiji said it well - "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Missing Link Between Ideas and Investment — Help Build It!

Editor's note: This post was written by Tim Scheu, Ashoka Changemakers Senior Project Manager
In the coming months, you'll see a new suite of features on that focus on growth—growth of impact, growth of capacity, growth of network. At the core of these tools is something called the Growth Planner.
Here's the thinking: You want support for your work. Support comes from people who are inspired by your idea and understand where your organization is headed. Changemakers' Growth Planner produces information that supporters need to engage and invest. 
Here’s how it works: You encounter a series of questions. Have you piloted your solution? Are you carrying out monitoring and evaluation? Is your Board of Directors optimized for your current stage of growth? Etc.
Based upon your responses to those (and other) questions, we’ll present recommendations for building your operational capacity or ensuring financial sustainability. You select the recommendations that are most appropriate, and you're on the path to growth.
Then, publish your short- and medium-term plan and reap the rewards of transparency! Would-be funders and volunteers are drawn by your track record and your ability to plot a clear strategy. They short-list you as one of the changeshops to watch. In some cases, they respond to a specific need you've shared. What to do from there - that's up to you.
As the number of innovators using Growth Planner increases, the experience only gets better. The more we learn about participating innovators, the more nuanced and accurate we can be with the recommendations. And the more data we collect about funding or talent needs, the better we'll be at assembling partnerships that fill those gaps.
To demonstrate how the Growth Planner could work (and how it might flow into related services), I've put together a quick demo. If you have 10 minutes, I'd love your feedback!
Thanks in advance for your support.
Ashoka Changemakers gives you tools you need to nurture the spark of an idea—the kind of spark that is found at the beginning of every movement—that holds the promise of a better world. Through Changemakers, you become part of a network of do-ers, advocates, and investors that can turn that initial idea into something larger.
Together, we'll build movements.
Disclaimer: Re-posted from

Monday, 13 February 2012

Five Tips for Creating Learning Spaces that Lead to Change

When Vishal Talreja started Dream a Dream with friends in 1999, he was armed more with passion than experience in education or development. But after a transformative and boundary-shattering experience working with HIV-positive children in India’s shelter homes, Talreja felt the very real need to put his empathy into sustained action.
He came to realize that the shelter system had to provide much more than refuge: without the ability to work in teams, to communicate effectively, and to feel a core sense of resilience and self-efficacy, young people would end up back on the streets the instant they left the home. Dream a Dream has since developed a life-skills teaching approach that is altering how people view street children—and how street children view themselves.
The program’s ripples are beginning to transform India’s caste-based society. Dream a Dream trains adult facilitators to work with youth and then builds additional alliances by bringing in an army of community volunteers. All involved work to foster and sustain safe spaces that cultivate empathy.
Here are five techniques that Talreja uses to create those spaces:
1. Empower everyone to be learners and teachers
The children, adult facilitators, and community volunteers are all encouraged to be both learners and teachers. For children, this may mean recognizing that a peer struggles in a certain subject or at a certain game, and stepping in to give them a hand.
For the adult facilitators, it means an in-depth training session that focuses on their own personal transformation. Facilitators learn about themselves, constructing and defining their own narratives and views on the world, before ever walking into the room to work with youth.
This same principle is likewise critical to the transformation of volunteers. Volunteers do not simply give their time and skills; they are asked daily to forge personal relationships and learn from the children they serve.
As these relationships deepen, they start asking questions that catalyze important shifts in understanding: “This child could easily be the son or daughter of the driver at my house. If I’m giving so much love, care, and respect to this child, why do I mistreat the driver so much?”
2. Build space for reflection
Dream a Dream incorporates life lessons about teamwork and building healthy relationships into all kinds of group activities, cementing them through an intentional reflection. If, for example, a child learns principles of conflict management during a game of soccer, they’re then asked to figure out how to translate them into their own lives in the slums, and to challenges they may face with their peers or parents.
After one reflection, Talreja recalled, a young adult came back up and said, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to change my father’s attitude toward beating me up, but today at least, I understand where he comes from. I understand why he’s so violent. It’s because he didn’t have anyone to guide him when he was a child.”
Though a child might just sign up for a game of soccer, a carefully guided reflection afterward can leave him or her with powerful life-long insights.
3. Play "In," not "Out"
Usually when you play a game, whoever makes a mistake is then “out.” That sends a very powerful message: “If you’re not good enough, you’re always going to be thrown out of life.”
And thus people start labeling themselves: “I am good,” “I am not good,” “I am not good enough,” “someone else is better than me”—you know the drill.
Every single game played at Dream a Dream removes the isolation that comes with being knocked out. If make a mistake, you start facilitating the game, breaking down the concept of winners and losers.
Affirmation plays an equally important role. “India is a place of saying, ‘no, no, no,” said Talreja, “You can’t do this, this will never work.”
The organization instead plays the “Yes Game,” where you’re only allowed to say “yes.” That simple word has a catalytic effect on individuals’ belief in their own voice and ability.   
4. Create a Community Agreement
Whether the group is coming together for sports events, art workshops, or neighborhood projects, they are asked to create a Community Agreement. Children propose and agree upon the goals of the session and then on the commitments they’ll make to ensure that the group reaches its goals and intended outcomes.
It can be as simple as agreeing to show up on time, or to be 100 percent present when a meeting is in session. Children have also been known to make rather extreme commitments, in an effort to keep the group on track: “We will not take a toilet break when the session is going on, so we’ll go to the toilet before we come to the session.”
These agreements are also molded and shared by facilitators so that everyone feels equally invested in the success of the community.
5. Question the status quo
“Once we take you to that space of empowerment, you’ll be ready to help someone else,” Talreja said. Moving from an initial state of accepting things the way are—where poverty is fate and the caste system is unshakeable—to a place where your ideas have value and you have an opportunity to do something in life, is a powerful thing.
By being more aware of themselves, their peers, and their surroundings, the children are empowered to ask questions that lead to action: “Why are the communities I live in the way they are, and how can I change that?”
Children have been able to look around them and identify all kinds of issues that were once just unchangeable pieces of their reality. One group decided to get the community to follow better sanitation practices.
Another group took the initiative to teach art to students in a neighboring school, without even telling the Dream a Dream program. “It’s that expression of empathy,” says Talreja, “that allows them to become changemakers.”

Friday, 10 February 2012

Changemakers has Changed

Ashoka Changemakers® provides the tools and resources to empower everyone to contribute to a better world. Our community's mission is to grow new ideas through transparency and collaboration, a process of Open Growth. No matter where you are starting, or where you are going, Changemakers makes it easier to share an idea, track progress, communicate with supporters, and invest in global change. 

Log on to and browse through the best social innovations from around the world. You can also support innovators of your choice with your interest and feedback. 

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Join #SocEntImpact Twitter chat on February 16, 2012 between 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM IST. Save the date and spread the word!

Ashoka East Africa and Ashoka India to host #SocEntImpact Twitter chat, featuring four outstanding social entrepreneurs and their success stories. 

 The new paradigm for social change is today embedded in the power of collaboration. As some of the largest social issues remain unsolved, there is an increasing need for people across the board to share ideas, knowledge and build collaborative partnerships, geared towards achieving mutual goals.  Ashoka, as one of the world’s largest networks for social entrepreneurs, has been working towards facilitating such exchanges, both within their Fellowship and the larger ecosystem. As one such exchange, we are happy to announce that Ashoka East Africa and Ashoka India is hosting a Twitter chat featuring four outstanding social entrepreneurs and their success stories. 

The chat will last for two hours. The first ten minutes will be spent in introductions. Each Social Entrepreneur will be featured for 20 minutes. Ten minutes the questions will be moderated by Ashoka while the remaining ten minutes will be open for audience questions. Here is the format for the chat:
  • 1.       Introduction-10 minutes
  • 2.       Rural Innovations and Employment – Ashoka Fellow, Anshu Gupta (20 mins)
  • 3.       International support – What works? – APOPO/HeroRATs, Ashoka Fellow, Bart Weetjens’ organisation (20 mins)
  • 4.       Innovations in Education -  a transcontinental experience – Ashoka Fellow Sunanda Mane – 20 minutes
  • 5.       The importance of ICT for today’s youth – Ashoka Fellow, ‘Gbenga Sesan (20 mins)
  • 6.       Discussions and ways forward -30 min

This chat is open to anyone who has a Twitter account. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create an account Registration process is simple and easy.  

If you haven’t attended a Twitter Chat before, joining the chat is easy. Sign in with your Twitter account, search for the hashtag #SocEntImpact and contribute. Please remember to add the hashtag #SocEntImpact or you won’t be able to see the contributing tweets.

You can also follow the following steps to enter the chat:
  1. Visit the TweetChat application at
  2. Click on "Sign in," and enter your Twitter account name and password. Authorize TweetChat by clicking on "Authorize app,” when prompted.
  3. In the box marked "Enter hashtag to follow," type in #SocEntImpact.
  4. Click "Go" and you can now contribute to the chat.
Do save the date, be there and spread the word! 


     Check it out: new ways to grow great ideas

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Citizen Media Trends: Digital Tools in India Catalyze Participatory Citizenship and Combat Corruption

Access to media in India is accelerating in both traditional and new digital forms. Television and radio are reaching more people than ever, and unlike much of the world, print readership in India is strong and on the rise. Although universal Internet access is far from a reality — only about 5.3 percent of India’s population uses the Internet, according to the World Bank — rapid changes to the way people access news and share information are on the horizon. 
Internet access and the use of social media tools for personal expression and news-sharing is fairly strong in cities and among middle- and upper-income groups. Prominent Bollywood actors, like Aamir Khan, are contributing to the mass popularity of blogging and tweeting, and due to its sheer population size, India ranks globally as one of the highest participants in top social media sites like Facebook. 
The situation is far different in rural areas, which have extremely limited access to digital communication technology. But awareness is growing. Last year, the Internet and Mobile Association of India reported that only 16 percent of the rural population was aware of the Internet. This year, that number jumped to 69 percent. 
“For the country, times are really exciting,” said Nihar Kothari, director and executive editor of the Patrika group, one of India’s largest media conglomerates. “Technology is coming in really fast. It’s getting cheaper and more accessible to people.”
Most promising for rural populations are mobile broadband and SMS technologies, which are beginning to bridge the gaps of income and distance. 
A United Nations (UN) report on sanitation recently published the startling statistic that more people in India own mobile phones than toilets. One positive take on this finding is that it reflects a tremendous opportunity for rural and poor households to connect with the flow of news and information.
A number of social enterprises are leading the charge to give rural populations a voice through mobile technology. Organizations like SMSONE are pioneering community newsletters and educational alerts for people in rural areas. 
“What we’ll see is more people leapfrogging over computer Internet access and just using smartphones,” said Lindsay Clinton, a researcher and development strategist at the hybrid think tank SustainAbility. “And with SMS newsletters, people don’t even actually need access to the Internet.” 
These forms of local, “micro-media” allow rural villagers to share information and mobilize around causes that are important to them. They also allow people to communicate in their local languages; most content on major social networking sites is available only in English, which is just a fraction of the media market in a country with 18 official languages. English is “a single digit percentage,” Kothari said. “There is no English newspaper amongst the top ten newspapers on the Indian scene.”
The ability to connect people through local languages is just one advantage of grass roots citizen media tools; these tools’ potential to help people make their voices heard and advance citizenship is just beginning to be tapped.
Citizen media tools are also beginning to serve as previously unavailable independent news sources. “Most of the news going out to rural areas is controlled by the government,” Kothari said. “They own the largest television stations . . . and private radio stations do not have permission to broadcast news yet.”
But online independent radio stations like Dabba Radio are breaking this barrier and calling on everyday citizens to share their stories. The station has called itself “a movement to create a new type of media,” and asserted, “There are thousands of untold stories happening everyday and we want to be the storytellers.”
The Internet is also facilitating a new crop of websites that help everyday citizens fight against corruption and mobilize in politics. Sites like invites Indians to report instances when they were asked to pay unlawfully for government services. 
Other sites like invite citizens to sign petitions as part of advocacy campaigns for various causes. Avaaz’s petition to improve the Indian government’s weak anticorruption bill garnered an astounding 500,000 signatures in the first 36 hours it went live.
“I think this really shows that when you give people the tools, they will raise their voices and participate in the discussion,” Clinton said. “Technology is proving to be an equalizer of sorts when it comes to creating more informed citizens and ensuring social justice. It can completely unsettle the power dynamic in a country that has long been characterized by divisions of caste and class.”
Nihar Kothari, also an Ashoka Globalizer, recently sat down with Changemakers to discuss mass media trends and journalism in India as part of the Citizen Media Expert Interview Series. Listen here.

Photo courtesy of Video Volunteers (VV) (cc)
Author: Kristie Wang 
Originally posted on