Ashoka began its operations in the Arab World in 2003.
In 2005 we turned our attention to Palestine, searching for promising individuals driving systemic social change to benefit local communities. In 2006 we proudly elected our first Palestinian Ashoka Fellow. Since then, despite major shortages in funding and no established presence in Palestine, we have elected a total of 9 Palestinian Fellows.
Palestine has proven to be a fertile land for social entrepreneurship and holds much potential for further growing the number of Palestinian Ashoka Fellows. Given this rich potential, Ashoka Arab World aims for 15% of our Fellows to be working in Palestine by 2015. However, we cannot reach this target without establishing a permanent presence in Palestine and securing financial support.
This year, our Palestinian Fellows have joined forces in the aim of openning a local Ashoka Arab World office in Palestine. Our Fellows themselves formed this plan, recognizing the great benefit of having an Ashoka presence on the ground.
With a presence in Palestine, Ashoka will be able to extend and expand our services to our Fellows in Palestine so that they may maximize their impact on the ground.
Our Palestinian Fellows have each agreed to contribute to the costs of premises, but are still exploring how to cover the salaries of two Ashoka Arab World representatives.
Although obstacles still remain, the Fellows have nonetheless made wonderful progress which will contribute enormously to the growth of their work and impact.