Leading Women ChangemakeHERS Reveal Blueprints for Action

By Ashokas Changemakers, PRNE
Monday, March 7, 2011

Celebrating International Women's Day Centennial

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 - Imagine a master class for social change: an academy of action where
concrete advice, guidance, and direction for every level of changemaking -
from the first spark of an idea to the scaling of an innovation across the
globe - are shared by some of the world's most accomplished innovators and

Imagine their insights then analyzed and distilled - aggregated to
identify common threads of wisdom that inform a comprehensive tool for
changemakers, a first-ever definitive blueprint for effective action at every
level of changemaking.

Ashoka's Changemakers brings these elements together in ChangemakeHERS, a
campaign launched in honor of International Women's Day that presents the
collective wisdom of some of the world's most accomplished women. This
campaign reaches across the globe and into Ashoka's deep 30-year history as
the pioneer and leader in global social change.

Each day, the Changemakers Idea ExChange blog will feature invaluable,
concrete advice that only experienced, successful leaders can provide. In
their own words, they will share what works and what doesn't.

Iman Bibars knows both. A veteran social entrepreneur and women's rights
activist in Egypt, she is an Ashoka Vice President and Regional Director for
the Middle East and North Africa.

"To encourage and advance collaboration, you cannot just make an
introduction," she said. "You can't simply say to a social innovator, 'You
know, I want to put you in touch with someone else doing great things in your
field. I think you could really help each other achieve your goals.' That
won't work."

What does work, she says, is setting up a framework that allows
complementary innovators to come together and work effectively. It is a
process that requires strong leadership. In her blog she will explain,
step-by-step, how she sets up such a framework to enable social entrepreneurs
to collaborate. "Collaboration is the key to making large-scale and profound

But large-scale change does not happen without small-scale change first,
and ChangemakeHERS also will offer plenty of advice for people just getting

"One of the most powerful assets a budding changemaker can seek is
mentorship," said Sejal Hathi, founder and executive director of Girls
Helping Girls. "Being able to go to someone you trust to discuss, debate,
reshape ideas-someone who feels as comfortable sharing with you her fortes
and foibles as you do connecting with her-is incredibly valuable, because
that relationship becomes a tool and a portal for discovering parts of
yourself that you never otherwise would have known existed, and that could
prove key to your projects' success. But mentorship is like any other
relationship: it takes conscious effort and time to cultivate."

The women featured on Idea ExChange are breaking down barriers to women's
empowerment and, through innovation, are tackling global problems on every
front. Some of them are doing it in their own communities, others on a global
scale. They work in different fields, in different countries, in different
conditions. What they all share is a deep belief that everyone is a

They build strong organizations and networks. They unlock economic wealth
by pioneering property rights. They confront gender inequality through
technology. They leverage the power of sport to combat rape and HIV. They
build solar energy distribution networks that employ and empower. They have
succeeded at reaching their goals, and they continue to reach for more.

These women are inspiring, but ChangemakeHERS will take their expertise
well beyond inspiration. It will be captured in a way that accelerates
change. At the end of the month, Changemakers experts, with a decade of
experience in analyzing and distilling trends, barriers, and opportunities in
the field of social change, will convert the teachings into a tool for
success for women around the world and for anyone working to make a

About Ashoka's Changemakers

Ashoka's Changemakers is an online community of action connecting social
entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each
other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process,
Changemakers.com builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and vision for an
"Everyone a Changemaker" world by creating a place where the best ideas in
social innovation can be shared, refined, and funded.

    Delyse Sylvester

Delyse Sylvester, dsylvester at ashoka.org, +1-250-352-0616

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