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Ashoka Changemakers Announce “She Will Innovate” Winners and 2012 Fellows

Today Ashoka Changemakers, supported by Intel Corporation, announced the three winners of the She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives Girls competition, a global challenge designed to bridge the gender and technology divide and find communication technology solutions that improve the lives of girls and women. Also announced were four Ashoka Fellows, also supported by Intel, who work in the nexus of technology as a tool to empower women and girls.

The three winners below were selected by Ashoka Changemakers’ online community, and each received a cash prize of US $10,000 from Intel to invest in scaling their idea.

  • Hesperian Health Guides, a nonprofit health information and health education source, created a mobile app, Safe Pregnancy and Birth, which provides pregnant women and health workers with lifesaving health information that is medically accurate, easy to understand and empowering.
  • To support hiring in the developing world, DUMA created an SMS-based job matching service that connects short-term laborers and potential customers in emerging markets. With the click of a button on a basic cell phone, DUMA’s unique software pairs employers with local job seekers to whom they are socially connected.
  • Aware that 796 million adults lack basic literacy skills, and two-thirds of whom are women, Cell-ED created a mobile phone platform, using audio and SMS, to bring basic literacy to learners anytime, anywhere and in any language.

Ashoka launched the She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives Girls online competition in June 2012 in an effort to find the world’s most innovative solutions that equip girls and women with new digital technologies, enabling them to live healthier, smarter and more meaningful lives. The competition was open to solutions from around the world and nearly 300 entries from 56 countries were submitted. Successful entries described a systemic or disruptive solution with realistic and clearly outlined long-term goals and proposals for securing financial backing. The proposals also demonstrated the possibility of large-scale, global replication.

“Ashoka knows that when women and girls have a chance to succeed, everybody wins,” said Ashoka President, Diana Wells. “The three winners in the ‘She Will Innovate’ competition are unlocking access to literacy and education, health information and economic opportunity for girls and women worldwide, while helping to bridge the digital divide.”

“Our goal was to shine a light on the innovative uses of technology that break down barriers to access, accelerate digital literacy and promote economic resilience for girls and women around the world,” said Shelly Esque, vice president, Global Director of Corporate Affairs Group, Intel Corporation. “We congratulate the winners with the hope that becoming a Changemaker accelerates solutions to challenges impacting their communities and world.”

The four new recipients of the Ashoka Fellowship are leading social entrepreneurs who are recognized for their groundbreaking solutions for social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. They demonstrate an unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and are proof that compassion, creativity and collaboration are tremendous forces for social advancement. This group of Fellows aims to improve the lives of girls and women through the use of technology as either the focus of their idea or a key element of their strategy.

  • Alexandra Bernadotte (USA) is creating a powerful feedback loop between K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions with Beyond 12, so that high schools can better match their priorities and teaching practices to the skills students need to succeed in college and after graduation. Beyond 12 has tracked the post-secondary progress of nearly 12,500 students and worked with over 90 partner schools and organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • James Whelton (Ireland) is building a citizen movement of young technology experts with the necessary skills to keep up with the rapidly evolving field of technology. He has crafted a global network of free coding clubs with CoderDojo, which is built on action-based learning, collaboration and open-source principles.
  • Daniela Silva (Brazil) is creating an initiative, Transparencia Hacker (Transparency Hacker), to spread government transparency and civic participation by gaining access to government data and sharing this information in an accessible manner.
  • Tulin Akin (Turkey) is bringing together Turkish farmers and information technologies with Tarimsal Pazarlama to provide farmers with up-to-date information, know-how, skills and professional development, while also creating opportunities for them to reach alternative markets by bypassing traditional intermediary structures.

In addition to access to the exclusive 3,000-strong Ashoka Fellowship community, Fellows receive strategic 3-year financial support through the partnership with Intel. This investment allows Fellows to dedicate themselves full-time to scaling their ideas at the most critical launch phase of their life’s work.

About Ashoka Changemakers

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-source process, is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.

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