For the 7th consecutive year, Ashoka has been awarded the highest possible rating as a philanthropic organization in an evaluation by Charity Navigator for 2008. Charity Navigator is an independent evaluator that rates the fiscal health of charity organizations. By evaluating charities on their organizational efficiency and organizational capacity, Charity Navigator calculates how well organizations spend their money on what it’s intended for; their programs and services.
Ashoka’s 7th consecutive achievement of a 4-star rating is very rare, and achieved by few other organizations in the field. Only 1% of the organizations reviewed by Charity Evaluator have received at least 7 times a 4 star-rating, indicating that Ashoka outperforms the large majority of its peers.
Fellow Sameh Seif is taking the concept of community development to a whole new level with his current project “Ro’ya”, in which he is rebuilding the entire village of Al-Sheikh Yaqub, located in the Egyptian governorate of Beni Suef, from scratch! This massive achievement includes the construction of new homes (and the reconstructing of existing homes), using more sustainable clay bricks. The biggest feat of the project is the installation of environmentally-friendly toilets in every house. These toilets are a part of Sameh’s development of a low-cost, community appropriate sewage system; which will improve the general health, quality of life and environment for the inhabitants of Al-Sheikh Yaqub. Other ways by which Sameh is significantly improving life in the village are through various additional projects; granting loans to female breadwinners, offering professional training to young people, building a computer center, a bakery, a medical center, and setting up a community services organization.
Bill Drayton recently offered his views in Newsweek article on the benefits modern technology has to offer for social entrepeneurs. In the article, Bill points out the uses Web 2.0 can have for increasingly effective innovation. He links the open nature of most virtual media nowadays to the bottom-up, collaborative and innovative nature of a social entrepreneur’s plan for change. A clear example of the symbiosis these two fields can lead to is Ashoka’s Changemakers platform, whose ‘open-sourcing of social solutions’ allows anyone to online enter creative ideas for development. Since Ashoka’s start nearly 30 years ago, the limits to social entrepreneurship seem to be endless.
The organization of our Fellow Sani Youssef, ‘Friends for Life’, has recently entered the virtual sphere with the launch of its website. Sani and ‘Friends for Life’ are working to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt, providing psycho-social counseling and medical treatment to patients, as well as combating the deprecatory social stigma and alienation these people face. With this website Sani will hopefully be able to raise even more awareness and support for his goals.
Ashoka Arab world Fellow Mohamed Abbad Andaloussi appeared as a guest in Stanford University’s ‘Design for Change’ program, in an interview to talk about his organisation ‘Al Jisr‘ (‘The Bridge’). Mohamed is significantly improving the quality of education in Morocco, inciting the entrepeneurial spirit of Moroccan students, and engaging the business sector in Morocco in the education system. By connecting the private sector with schools, Andaloussi is keeping businesses involved in the country’s education system, and better preparing students for their future. To learn more about ‘Al Jisr’ and how it is making a change for Moroccan’s students, listen to the podcast of the interview here.