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Global Changemakers

Empower changemakers of all ages to take part in designing, developing and implementing sustainable solutions to global challenges.

Photo of Bodo Hoenen
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Written by

Open-Source Social Ventures

We can foster the innate curiosity, creativity, and passion of young people and empower them to tackle the world's grand challenges. By enabling them to impact their world in a real way from a young age, we can help instill the core skills they need to set them on a trajectory that will drive real change in communities, societies and the world.

193 countries have signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to tackle the world's grandest challenges over the next 15 years. The Ashoka organization has the world's largest fellowship of social entrepreneurs working on these challenges and a growing network of schools empowering children to become changemakers themselves. We believe it is this network that can be the seed to inspire children and young adults everywhere to take a lead in the accomplishment of the SDG goals and other global challenges. 

Through a mobile phone and web application, we are leveraging our Ashoka network to bring changemakers together, help existing projects and inspire new changemakers to start their own projects. It is this global collaboration and a spirit of openness that can drive impact at an exponential pace across all the world's grand challenges. 

Explaining the idea:

Explain your idea

See linked presentation above. (here for reference: )

Who Benefits?

Initially, we are deploying this to the three thousand Ashoka Fellows (The largest network of social entrepreneurs, supported through the Ashoka organization) and the more than 50 thousand children in Ashoka changemaker schools. This will be the 'seed' for the platform. Once we have significant engagement we will expand the rollout to partner organizations and open the platform up to the public. These users will be the direct beneficiaries and will gain the ability to: — Easily connect and collaborate with other changemakers — Find interesting projects, get inspired — learn from others, open data, solutions, and approaches — Attract funding, collaborators, and resources for their projects It will significantly increase the success and impact of existing projects and efforts while at the same time inspire and empower tens of thousands more changemakers to contribute and start their own impactful ventures.

How is your idea unique?

There are many open-source software libraries and platforms for collaboration on software projects. There are many siloed networks of changemakers, and siloed libraries of learning, approaches, and data. There are many project-based learning initiatives that are bridging the skills gaps left by traditional education. However, nothing that is effectively bringing all of these together, in a system-changing open platform. By using the Ashoka family as the 'seed' to this open platform, our existing three thousand fellows, and 50 thousand students can create a critical mass and instill the open culture a platform like this needs to become successful.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

This project ( ) is a partnership of many fellows in Ashoka, the Ashoka organization as a whole, including many friends of Ashoka. This is an open project and we welcome any, who share our passion and vision and have suitable skills and resources to contribute.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jill LaLonde

Hello Bodo,

I work for OneVillage Partners, a community-led development organization that builds leadership capacity and resiliency in West Africa. I love this idea, and as a practitioner working to empower change agents in rural communities, I can see huge value in using technology to facilitate continued dialogue and collaboration among these change agents. I look forward to tracking your project and progress, and learning of any opportunity to collaborate as a like-minded organization.


Photo of Bodo Hoenen

Thank you for the comment and support Jill. I'd love to stay connected and I just reached out via LinkedIn.

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack


This sounds great, But then its users may not come from Rural communities.

Photo of Bodo Hoenen

Hi Ozuluonye, thank you for the comment, I'd like to address that:

However, let us define users first. We can group them into two groups (even though this distinction will not be relevant as we rollout): 'Existing changemakers' (Like the Ashoka Fellows) and 'Aspiring changemakers' (like those students in changemakers schools). Both groups will be users of the platform.

— Existing changemakers: Most of the three thousand Ashoka fellows and their organizations work on projects that are focused on the most underserved all over the world. We are changemakers working where there is need, including in rural contexts. Existing changemakers extends to anyone who has a social venture, a project, an idea for making positive change.

— Aspiring changemakers: Many of the changemaker schools and inparticular the various partner schools and projects are specifically operating in rural underserved communities. Aspiring changemakers includes anyone who —not just students in Changemaker schools— wants to become a changemaker, wants to find exciting projects to contribute to or to start their own initiatives. We see a large portion of these coming from our rural communities.

This is also why we are developing this ecosystem 'Mobile first' I.E available via a mobile app that could also work in environments where data and connectivity are a challenge.

I hope this addressed your comment.

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack

Hi Bobo,
Absolutely you have address my comment and thanks.

Photo of Bodo Hoenen

Great, thank you for taking the time to comment!

Photo of Nancy Welsh

Looks great,Bodo. Thanks for getting this live for us!

Photo of Kate Rushton

HI Bodo!

How many real users are signed up for the project?

Is Ashoka the official partner for the project?

What are the plans for implementation of the project? Where do you see the project in 1,2 and 3 years time? When do you plan to expand it to organisations outside of Ashoka?

Photo of Bodo Hoenen

Hi Kate!

— "How many real users are signed up for the project?" —

The functionality and processes described above are already in use within Ashoka via many separate systems and tools (The Ashoka Hub,, Ashoka Schools, Fellow organizations). In that sense, we have tens of thousands using some form of these features. This project is about bringing together these various siloed platforms and processes into a singular open ecosystem and using Ashoka as a 'seed' to create a global open platform for changemakers.

— "Is Ashoka the official partner for the project?" —

Yes, This project is a partnership of many fellows in Ashoka, the Ashoka organization as a whole, including many friends of Ashoka.

— "What are the plans for implementation of the project? Where do you see the project in 1,2 and 3 years time? When do you plan to expand it to organizations outside of Ashoka?" —

The rollout will initially focus on projects and people within Ashoka and Ashoka changemaker schools, to drive initial engagement. Many Ashoka fellows and friends already work on similar projects (Supporting/training changemakers, helping changemakers connect and collaborate...), our schools and networks will also take part in this early rollout stage. Once we gain a critical mass of usage and engagement we will follow a global rollout plan. From the start, the platform will be open, however, our initial focus will be on the Ashoka family of people and organizations.

In a couple of years from now, we see this as an open platform that utilized the large Ashoka network as a 'seed' to create a global movement of collaborative changemakers of all ages.