Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Social Entrepreneurship Learning Experience



Sikha Roy was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.
Sikha Roy founded SRREOSHI in West Bengal, India, to improve the status of women through the establishment of property rights. She was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
★★★
Sikha Roy’s mother was unable to get schooling, but she felt strongly that education would create a better life for the women in her community. So she made sure that her daughters got the best education she could provide.
From her mother’s belief in education, Sikha developed a lifelong commitment to empower women in rural areas, where education takes a backseat to the chores of daily life. Working in India’s remote places has its own set of challenges, but Sikha says that there are a few basic qualities that people need to have within themselves if they want to bring about change at any level.
“Responsibility is paramount,” Sikha said. “You need to realize that the lives and livelihoods of many people depend on your work, so you cannot take it lightly.
“You also need to identify and empathize with them, which you can do only by living among them and understanding their problems. All this is not possible unless you are devoted to your work and the cause. Without that, it is easy to give up hope.”
Sikha started work as a fieldworker with the Service Centre, the largest rural development NGO in West Bengal. As she traveled into the interior, she saw women commuting long distances in search of jobs.
It was at this time that she met a woman from Jamshola village (in West Bengal), who was going into the hills to break stones, leaving her five children at home with an alcoholic husband. Being responsible for her family, she endured many hardships for just a few rupees each day. Sikha found that there were many women in the same hapless situation, and she decided to do something to kick start change.
Each project is a learning experience, so doing an analysis of the ground realities before taking on a new project helps make informed decisions. Sikha and her team often work in remote areas where security is a major concern.
“To go on about your work, you need mental strength and conviction to see you through,” she says. “There are many problems that may crop up unexpectedly when you are in the field.
“It helps if you have the trust and support of the community you are working with. This is not possible overnight – there’s no short cut. We need to stay with them, be available to listen to their problems, help them find solutions, and show results.
“Only then, over time, the community will learn to trust and support you. Until that happens, it can be very difficult to spread your message.”
Sikha believes that it takes government help to overcome the difficulties of bringing about positive and permanent change that can be sustained over time. Through her organization SRREOSHI, she works with the government advocacy programs, helping the government to implement the best policies, and to intervene when the policies are not in the best interest of the community.
When asked what advice she would have for her former 15-year old self, she doesn’t hesitate to say, “Be aware of your surroundings and all that is happening in your society.
“A person sitting in an office in the city will have a different orientation to life, and a person closer to the ground will have a different view – they will see the prevalence of inequalities and injustice, and develop change-making skills to oppose them. Only with awareness, will you understand and then take action to fight the evils that prevail.”
Sikha advises those who want to enter the field of social entrepreneurship to first get a first-hand understanding of the community that they will be working for and with. Without this understanding, there will be no support from the community, and their work will not be considered credible.
Next, you need effective marketing to make people aware of your work and cause. This includes where and how to spread your message to help further your goals. Finally, take this understanding to the bank when asking for financial support.
Sikha predicts that in the future, women will be more aware of their rights and hence will not tolerate discrimination in any form. “We are trying to bring about awareness at this stage, and change is a slow process. But when change does happen, women can focus more on managing their rights and their own lives.
“Their decision-making powers will increase as they become more aware. Violence against them will be reduced, there will be more woman leaders in society, and they will be considered as human beings first—not just a woman.”
Sikha said she is deeply touched her organization has gained global recognition as a winner of the Changemakers Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities competition, and a finalist in the Changemakers Property Rights: Identity, Dignity and Opportunity for All competition.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Activate Empathy and Join the Movement to Teach What Matters



At Ashoka, we believe that empathy is central to our ability to imagine (and create) better communities, societies, organizations, companies, and institutions. We believe that empathy is a skill. We believe that empathy is a muscle we all have. And most importantly, we believe that, like all muscles, empathy is strengthened by use and exercise.   

In this backdrop, Ashoka Changemakers® has launched a global competition on Jan19, 2012 titled: Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters, where more than $70,000 in cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded to the best ideas, programs, and learning models that ensure children master empathy, enabling them to be effective citizens, leaders, and trailblazers.

Also, with this competition, we are challenging teachers, principals, parents, students, and other innovators to rethink our approach to school culture and curricula. The Activating Empathy competition seeks to spark greater collaboration among efforts such as those that encourage social and emotional development, address bullying in ways that advance understanding of others’ perspectives, promote community diversity and respect for differences, or champion children as real-world problem-solvers. 

As quoted by Danielle Goldstone, Director of Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative, “Empathy is essential for success in a rapidly changing world. We are calling on teachers, administrators, parents, students, and innovators to share their ideas for integrating empathy into the core of the student learning experience.”

The work of Ashoka Fellows and others demonstrates that empathy can be learned, practiced, and measured. For instance, 77 percent of students that are active in Peace First, founded by Ashoka Fellow Eric Dawson, reported reduced levels of fighting, thanks to the program, and Mary Gordon’s Roots of Empathy has seen helping behavior increase in up to 78 percent of children who participated in her program.

Entries submissions are invited until March 30. You can also nominate your favorite learning initiatives and post comments on submitted entries via Changemakers.com/empathy. One “people’s choice” winner will be selected by online community voting, and an expert panel of judges will select the two overall winners. As part of its efforts to create the future of play, Mattel is offering $25,000 in prizes for ideas that enhance empathy through play. DonorsChoose.org will also offer $30,000 of Townsend Press Prizes for the top five solutions by a U.S. public-school teacher, student, or administrator that advance the mastery of empathy in a way that addresses bullying.

Follow the initiative (and join us) on Twitter: #startempathy

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Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other.  Through its online collaborative competitions and Open Growth platform, Changemakers.com is one of the worlds most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the worlds most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker. Ashoka is the global association of the worlds leading social entrepreneursmore than 2,500 men and women with system-changing solutions for the worlds most urgent social problems.




Thursday, 19 January 2012

Gloria D'Souza on how to grow into a "fruitful" entrepreneur


Gloria D'Souza was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influential and inspiring women. 
One of the first three Ashoka Fellows, Gloria de Souza (center left) turned down lucrative business career opportunities to teach. She found an educational system that deadened student’s creativity, motivation to learn, problem-solving capacity, and faith in India. Gloria created and introduced modern experiential education that challenged students to think and to solve problems together instead of chanting facts. Her core contribution has not been to invent modern education but to adapt it to make it attractive to everyone in non-Western settings. Her patient work of adoption, persuasion, training, and organizing spread her impact widely. Eventually the government of India introduced her work into other districts, and UNICEF asked her to help first in Sikkim and then beyond. Other areas of India, in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East want Gloria to extend her program to their areas.

Who are your favourite changemakers from history? 
Tarabai Moda is one of my favorites. She gave me my best lessons in an environmental approach that makes sensory awareness the key to learning by observation, enquiry, and discovery—indeed, to learning that lasts. 

Tarabai Modak, who lived from 1892 to 1973, is another. She won the Padmabhushan award in 1962 for her original contribution to the field of education.  She pioneered an approach that enabled impoverished rural children, and their parents as well, to learn from their daily experiences in their environment.  She was 65 years of age, when she set in motion her project to educate adivasis (indigenous peoples in India) through anganwadis (a government sponsored child-care and mother-care center), believing that if children cannot reach school, school should reach them.

My exposure to Tarabai Modak’s ingeniously simple and inexpensive ways of using the learner’s available environment—to enable growth in learning skills and in the internalization of concepts related to maths, science, and geography—was my first experience of an authentic environmental approach to learning.

What are three qualities that make a changemaker successful? 

Let me begin by saying that the word “successful” is often perceived as being “that something that attracts name and fame.”

So, let me replace the word “successful” in your question with the word “fruitful” (which carries a kind of organic growth connotation to it).

The three qualities of a fruitful changemaker are:
  • Clarity of vision – what is crying out for change and why?
  • Tenacity of purpose – even when unforeseen obstacles interfere with strategic planning, and prevent desired outcomes.
  • An open mind – listening to and learning from the wisdom of others, critical and creative thinking (that would envisage necessary detours from earlier plans), and taking the calculated risks that may be called for.
What has made you successful in your work? What specific strategies or tactics did you employ? 

My perception is that Parisar Asha (the organization I was able to set up, thanks to an Ashoka Fellowship) has been fruitful, for the following reasons:
  • Parisar Asha has stayed focused on its mission of making quality education an affordable gift, even for the underprivileged, first-generation learner. This reality has resulted in a “spread” that has also enabled Parisar Asha to generate a modest income, thus becoming self-sustaining.
  • It has been ever-open to self-evaluation, to learning from feedback, to be being constantly pursuant of updating and refining its processes and products.
  • It has, at all times, reminded itself that the only medium of fruitfulness within an organization is respect for teamwork. The contribution of every member is valuable, insofar as interdependence is the key to fruitful functioning.
What are the key elements individuals should keep in mind as they grow as a social entrepreneur?
  • Be sensitive to the living condition of all humans whom you encounter in your living environment. Work unceasingly to ensure that the current gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots becomes non-existent.
  • Ensure that all that you do revolves around respect for everything that touches your life, living and non-living.
  • Be sure never to live by double standards.
  • Make an unfailing sense of discipline, transparency and accountability the cardinal principles by which you conduct your life.
Disclaimer: re-posted from www.changemakers.com/blog

Monday, 16 January 2012

Eyewitness Account

CHILD LABOR IN NORTH INDIA’S HAND-WOVEN CARPET SECTOR
[Editor's note: This, written by Siddharth Kara, appeared in the Spring 2011 GoodWeave newsletter and is reprinted with permission. GoodWeave works to end child labor in the handmade rug industry and provide educational opportunities for children in South Asia.]

The carpet belt of North India stretches across the state of Uttar Pradesh from the town of Allahabad, east to Bhadohi, ending in the rural reaches beyond Varanasi. I have visited this area several times across the last decade, and despite recent pronouncements by the government of India that child labor no longer exists in the country’s hand-woven carpet sector, there are still innumerable shacks and village huts in this area in which children as young as 10 years of age are coerced to work 16 or more hours a day weaving carpets for export to Europe and North America.

All of these children are poor, low-caste or dalit peasants who are either paid a pittance for their efforts, or are exploited through outright bonded and forced labor. Children are especially prized for carpet weaving, as their nimble fingers and good eyesight are perfectly suited for the intricate motions required to weave carpets that may be 30 to 40 square feet in size, one thread at a time.

At a shelter near Allahabad, I met 34 child slaves who had been freed from two different carpet shacks housing up to 20 children each. One of these young boys, Arjun (a pseudonym), remained deeply traumatized by the violence he suffered in one of these shacks. A dalal (trafficker) paid Arjun’s father 1,000 rupees ($22 US) and promised the child would earn 50 rupees [$1.11 US] per day in carpet weaving, half of which could be sent back to his parents. Arjun was subsequently locked in a shack with several other boys and violently coerced to weave carpets day and night, without ever being paid:

"Most days we were only given one break for eating and one break for toilet. If we tried to sleep, they would beat us. Sometimes they gave us pills so we can work all night. I felt so tired I cut myself often. If the blood from my fingers came on the carpet, they would take green chili and rub it on my wound for punishment," said Arjun.

Though hidden shacks that exploit child slaves in carpet weaving are not uncommon, the majority of exploitation in the carpet sector of North India takes place in small village huts scattered across the region. One village not far west of Varanasi typified what I saw.

The village possessed 34 huts of varying sizes (none larger than 150 square feet), each with around five to six inhabitants, all dalits. Twenty-eight of the huts had carpet looms inside them, usually taking up half of the available living space. Everyone in the village had borrowed money from two brothers who owned all of the land in the area. The reasons for the loans were myriad, to include basic consumption, life ceremonies (weddings and funerals), medicine, hut repairs, and the inheritance of debt from a previous generation.

Once indebted, each of the villagers was put to work as a bonded laborer in three sectors – carpet weaving, agriculture, and brick making. They were paid state stipulated wages (less deductions) by agents of the landowners who visited the villages regularly to ensure work was being completed on schedule. The villagers were not allowed to take any other work or leave the village. In the huts I documented, two or three teenage boys were typically at work behind the looms. In all cases, the huts were cramped and dark with no electricity. There was poor ventilation and a high level of particulate matter from thread dust in the air. Many of the child weavers were suffering from respiratory ailments, spinal deformation, vision ailments, and severe joint pain.

Whether it is in a village hut or a clandestine shack, carpets are still being woven by children in North India.  Poor, landless, disenfranchised and marginally subsistent minority castes and ethnicities remain deeply vulnerable to trafficking and debt bondage. Law enforcement intervention and rule of law are almost entirely absent, allowing wholesale carpet producers to capitalize on the vulnerability of impoverished peasants in countless ways, including the exploitation of low-wage or forced child labor for carpet weaving.

Claims that child labor in the rug industry exists because producers cannot afford to pay full wages are spurious. To the contrary – the typical carpet weaving business model produces more than sufficient profits to pay full and fair wages; however, greed drives exploiters to utilize bonded, forced and underage labor to maximize profits in full violation of the law. In my forthcoming book on bonded labor, I developed profit and loss statements for a “typical” carpet weaving business that employs 30 bonded or child laborers. Such a business can generate $952 in net profits per laborer on a net profit margin of 50.7 percent. At best, nominal or no wages may be paid to the carpet weavers, even though there is ample profit available to compensate them fairly.

This exploitation will not end until we negate the financial incentive for producers who act with impunity. GoodWeave offers a successful, replicable model for transforming the industry, by putting the power into consumers’ hands to hold producers accountable for their actions and by giving them the choice of a child- and slave-labor free purchase.

Siddharth Kara is a Fellow on Human Trafficking at Harvard University and author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. His research into the hand-woven carpet sector of South Asia will be included in his forthcoming book on bonded and child labor in South Asia, to be released in Fall 2012.

Photo credit: U. Roberto Romano
Disclaimer: re-posted from www.changemakers.com/blog. 

Asia #SocEntChat on #innovatehealth: Summary & Excerpts


Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio together have launched a competition titled 'Innovations For Health: Solutions That Cross Borders' to seek health care solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care systems.
Ashoka Changemakers hosted the Asia #SocEntchat on Jan 10, 2012 for its Asia twitter community to discuss replicable healthcare models and views on what kinds of health care challenges are shared by communities around the world, in the realm of Innovation for Health competition.  The 2-hour session was attended by more than 100 participants and gathered above 400 tweets from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, HongKong, Israel, Nigeria, Finland, UK and many other countries.  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio co-moderated parts of the session. Major participation for this online event came from India and Indonesia.

Here are some excerpts from the discussions:

Q 1. What are the examples of public health issues that the Asia communities face?

India
- Access to qualitative and quantitative medical and healthcare facilities in remote rural areas is a challenge. In remote villages people die of TB, Appendicitis, and food poisoning. Filaria identified in 13 districts of 7 endemic states, - AP, Bihar, Kerala, Orissa, TN, UP, WB, covering about 41 million people. In the last five years, Japanese Encephalitis caused by flavivirus group has acquired serious magnitude in 11 states.
- Common Health issues discussed were infant mortality, tuberculosis control and control of diseases caused due to mosquito bites.
- One of the common public health issues is level of awareness and sanitation in remote rural areas.
-  Yet another public health hazard is disposal of hospital waste that poses threat to general masses.    Contaminated cotton is often used for ear buds. Small pathological containers are often used as packing container for spices by roadside vendors.
- Implementation of Government’s medical aid for general masses is not very effective and is full of layers of corruption. Except for Polio Eradication, other government schemes on healthcare has not been successful (There are iodine, vitamin A related government schemes also, never saw in action). There is a Govt TB treatment program, but poor villagers from remote areas are made to pay for it.
- Many unregulated healthcare providers present huge challenges especially in remote areas for low income group population. Many government doctors are engaged in private practice and lower-ranking staff are engaged in the racket of injecting saline injections and charging patients for it.
- Punjab province has one of most extensive health infrastructure.

Pakistan
- Pakistan is currently facing issues like quality, accessibility & coverage of services especially MNCH services. Some new public health problems like Dengue has also been observed.
- Pakistan is still battling with polio. UNICEF is undertaking a study to find fact and cause.

Indonesia
- Public health issues in Indonesia include accessing public health facility, reproductive health and sanitation.
- Indonesia has a high rate of malnutrition due to improper nourishment of children.

Nigeria
-  The problem of access and quality is rampant in Nigeria but rural areas are the worse hit.
-  In must rural areas in Nigeria, hospitals are without electricity, water, mattresses, bedsheet and other needs.
- Changemakers are faced with huge corruption, politicizing health schemes and lack of funds.

Q 2. What are some obstacles to the scaling/expansion of viable solutions to other countries/regions?

- Lack of coordination between various implementation organisations, especially between donor & government.
- Scaling or expansion also largely depends on the country's public health policy.  
- Lack of proper documentation and dearth of coordinating platform for sharing information.
- Inadequate public-private engagement or partnerships.
- One of the big challenges to expansion is availability of skilled human resource.
- Socio-economic inequality has been a crucial obstacle in health care in India

Q 3. What is the role of social entrepreneurs in improving health processes? Are there some examples of such initiatives?

 -  Apollo recently launched the telemedicine service. It has health insurance that costs 2.5 US cents/day for a family of 5, for a village in Andhra Pradesh of 50,000 people.
- The main focus of Cancer buster community in Indonesia is providing balance information about cancer for child patients and their parents & assisting those who suffered.
- Gram Vikas (which literally means 'Village Development') is an organization that has been working since 1979, to bring about sustainable improvement in the quality of life including use and management of natural resources.
- Mr. Durojaiye launched his company after noticing that even though 20 million people lived in Lagos, there were very few public toilets, thus creating a health hazard. His mobile toilets are now built locally with local materials.
- One of the key health focuses of NGOs in rural Morocco is to reduce newborns death and congenital disability. 
-  Barefoot College, started by Bunker Roy in 1972, has made innumerable school dropouts in villages into “barefoot” doctors
- Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy and Thulasiraj D Ravilla established Aravind Eye Hospital in 1976. It has treated more than 2.3 million outpatients and carried out more than 2, 70,000 operations in 2006-07, most of them free.
- Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Medical Sciences & its network of hospitals run by Devi Shetty perform 20 free surgeries a day.
- Successful models can only have the maximum effect when Govt and Social Entrepreneurs work to complement each other.
- Collaborative approach has been adopted by people in South Halmahera, Indonesia to eradicate malaria.

Q 4. Are there health innovations you have seen around the world that you would like to see in your country?

-  Better e-systems in South African state hospitals that improves efficiency of hospital administration.
- Cambodian rural areas have health counsellors on motorbikes for tuberculosis (mobile DOTS).
-  Preventing low birth weight with chewing gum done by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The team hopes to roll out chewing gum or gummy snacks containing polyols to try to reduce early births in Malawi.
-  Stopping HIV transmission with a vacuum pack @ Duke University from Durham, N.C
-  Mobile heart monitoring and data gathering @ Save the Children Federation from Westport, Connecticut.
- Isha Foundation's Mobile Health Clinics tours surrounding villages.
- An innovative alternative to forceps @ The World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The devices is a film-like polyethylene like open plastic bag wrapped around the head of the baby, sealed to help extraction during complications. WHO says Odon could be safer and easier than forceps, and would require lesser training.
- Diagnosing with paper stamps @Diagnostics for All, Inc. from Cambridge, Massachussets. Diagnostics for all created 2 postage stamp-sized paper tools to detect anaemia, hypertensive disorders for high-risk pregnancy.
- Ashoka Fellow Anna Alisjahbana has also created vacuum foot pump for birthing (Frontiers for Health Indonesia).
- Telemedicine is also gaining wide popularity.
- Coupled with mobile health units, telediagnostics could be a great solution for rural areas.
- In Pune (India ), Project for sweepers named, START YOUR BACKWARD COUNTING BACTERIA- HERE WE COME.

Q 5. For someone starting health initiative in your country, would you have some advice?

-  Mobile applications are useful only when there is high penetration and use of the applications.
- Newly trained midwives are providing basic healthcare to over 20,000 mothers and children monthly in 5 districts in Afghanistan.
- A woman health officer has motivated sweeper community of Kalyani (Kolkata) to shun open defecation & start using toilets. These sweepers now use theatre to spread awareness and motivate fellow-sweepers to maintain good hygiene and sanitation.
- The Yeshasvini Cooperative Farmers Health Scheme is a young but successful microinsurance scheme in Karnataka.
- Stagnant water is the agent for spreading many diseases. Planting LOTUS in such regions helps to remove stagnant water.
- PlayAble believe that INCLUSIVE SPORTS has an amazing power to create awareness.
- In the Maoist belt of Orissa, where doctors fear to venture, an NGO named ASHA serves a deprived community with healthcare solutions.
- A community radio initiative in Bihar enables locals to voice their problems and raises awareness on mother/child health.
- SHALOM Delhi is an HIV/AIDS project, providing care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) in and around Delhi. Their Transgender Project Aims to bring healing and care to eunuchs through care, nutritional & medical support and health education.

Useful Resources: 

@Feature | Blockchangemakers Enter Innovation for Health competition at http://www.changemakers.com/innovations4health
@Feature | BlockCHMInnovations Check out our Highlights Report from 2011 which shows new innovations and key trends from around the world! http://healthmarketinnovations.org/sites/healthmarketinnovations.org/files/CHMI-report-120211-digital.pdf
@meryemefaris @CHMInnovations @changemakers More promising innovations can be found in our free online database! http://healthmarketinnovations.org/programs
@EnnoventSEbot #socentchat The World Bank http://wbi.worldbank.org/developmentmarketplace/ encourages funding dev projects through social entrepreneurship.... - 3:15 PM Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | Blockudayusuf Check our website : http://cancerbustercommunity.org/ <-- @changemakers #socentchat, we focused on motivate patients and parents who suffered cancer -2:44 PM Jan 10th, 2012

Quotable tweets:

@Feature | Blocklahwahleh RT @statweestics: #socentchat is getting popular, +1200% the last hour : http://t.co/QXuv3JwM -2:33 PM Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | Block ableinlife Listen to the people and communities first! Find out what they really need and not what the government thinks they need! #socentchat -3:34 PM Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | Block AkilaCharagi Mobile applications are useful only when there is high penetration and use of the apps. Can poor people afford the mob apps? #SocEntChat -3:48 PM Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | BlockHinaHazrat Please look into the health of EUNUCHS, they are even not allowed to enter hospitals- talking in broad sense! #socentchat -3:49 PM Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | BlockHinaHazrat HEAVEN ON EARTH is a project which is working on EUNUCH in Pakistan!
@Feature | BlockHinaHazrat Next time, Jennifer Ali will be joining us, she is the leading Health Change Agent in Pakistan! #socentchat - 4:10 PM (IST), Jan 10th, 2012
Feature | Block@CHMInnovations We have found that a health market place with many unregulated healthcare providers presents huge challenges #globalhealth #SocEntChat -2:14 PM Jan 10th, 2012
Feature | Block@CHMInnovations Thanks for the great #innovatehealth chat! Well worth getting up in the middle of the night. Now back to bed! #SocEntChat - 4:10 PM (IST), Jan 10th, 2012
@Feature | Block pioneerrwjf Thanks 2 those who participated in @changemakers #SocEntChat! Learn about #innovatehealth solutions that cross borders http://t.co/Vr5Ub2Kq - 4:10 PM (IST), Jan 10th, 2012

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Join Ashoka Changemakers on January 10, 2012, at 2pm IST for Asia #SocEntChat on Innovations for Health.




Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio together have launched a competition titled 'Innovations For Health: Solutions That Cross Borders' to seek health care solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care systems.

If you know about any healthcare models that could be replicated elsewhere or have views on healthcare to share or are interested in knowing about what kinds of health care challenges are shared by communities around the world - Join Ashoka Changemakers on January 10, 2012, for Asia #SocEntChat on Innovations for Health.

Join @changemakers from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Indian Standard Time (IST) — that's 3:30 to 5:30 a.m. EST  to participate in a Twitter-based discussion with innovators, social entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts about health care solutions that have the potential to be applied in other countries in order to improve health and health care. This is your chance to make your voice heard or to ask experts in the field your most burning questions.

What is a #SocEntChat and how does it work? 
A #SocEntChat is a real-time, Twitter-based discussion about social entrepreneurship that focuses on specific issues, areas, themes, and events. 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.

Joining the conversation is easy. Just log-in to Twitter at 2 p.m. on January 10, 2012. Then:
  • Use the #SocEntChat hashtag to make your comments visible in the stream. Use search.twitter.com or an application like Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com) or thwirl (www.thwirl.com) to follow the #SocEntChat hashtag and keep up with the conversation.
  • Introduce yourself and take a minute to get to know the other chatters when you join.
  • Send your questions to @changemakers without the hash tag (to keep them out of the stream) so they can be considered for this conversation.
Please remember to use the #SocEntChat hashtag, stay on topic, be respectful, and have fun! And be sure to invite your friends and followers to join the discussion, too; the best way is to post a tweet like this one:

Join @changemakers on Jan 10 at 2pm IST for a #SocEntChat on health innovations that cross borders! Spread the word & save the date! #innovatehealth

Looking forward to catching you on Twitter!

Team of @changemakers in Asia