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2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

11 April 2017 at 12:57 pm
Lina Caneva
Entrepreneurs fighting extremism, disrupting human trafficking, developing safe housing, and managing community health networks in the world’s hot spots have been named as the recipients of the 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Lina Caneva | 11 April 2017 at 12:57 pm


2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship
11 April 2017 at 12:57 pm

Entrepreneurs fighting extremism, disrupting human trafficking, developing safe housing, and managing community health networks in the world’s hot spots have been named as the recipients of the 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Awards, announced at the 14th Annual Skoll World Forum, distinguish transformative leaders whose organisations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-scale change, and are poised to create even greater impact on the world.

With the 2017 announcement, the Skoll portfolio now totals 100 social entrepreneurs.

“Social entrepreneurs share several important characteristics: concern for the vulnerable, optimism about our future, an ability to think and do, and most importantly, an unfailing belief in solutions,” Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation, said.

“These four remarkable people give us great hope that a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future is within reach.”

He said that by investing in organisations when an innovation was ripe for accelerated and scaled adoption, the Skoll Awards helped unleash the full global potential and reach of social entrepreneurs.

The four winners were:

To help prevent the spread of insecurity and extremism in Nigeria—where young people face a 50 per cent unemployment rate—a revitalized agricultural sector that offers youth attractive prospects for a viable income is urgently needed. Babban Gona is an investor-owned social enterprise serving networks of smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth.

Members receive development and training, credit, agricultural inputs, marketing support, and other key services. Besides increasing each farmer’s yield and income to 2.3 times the national average, the Babban Gona franchise works to demonstrate that the smallholder segment is a viable model for investment and to attract massive new capital to the sector. Kola Masha is the managing director

More than nine in every 10 natural disaster-related deaths occur in developing countries. Many of these occur in overcrowded and unsafe neighborhoods where housing is likely to collapse. With an emphasis on prevention, Build Change trains homeowners, local builders, engineers, and government officials to construct or retrofit disaster-resistant houses and schools in emerging nations vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons.

Build Change makes the work affordable by leveraging cost savings through standardised retrofitting designs, existing subsidy and incentive programs, and partnerships with local universities providing seismic engineering experts. It works with governments and development agencies to promote standards, building codes, and financial incentives for disaster-resilient construction.

Last Mile Health partners with government to deploy, support, and manage networks of community health professionals and to integrate them into the public health system. With training in maternal and child health, family planning, treatment adherence, and surveillance of epidemics, together with mentoring from nurse supervisors, these community health workers deliver quality healthcare to remote communities.

In communities Last Mile Health serves, newborn mortality has decreased and the percentage of children treated for diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia has increased. On the strength of this success, Last Mile Health is now supporting the Liberian Ministry of Health to implement the approach nationwide, preparing policy documents, training curricula, and impact measurement tools, and coordinating with NGO partners.

Human trafficking is a low-risk, high-profit criminal industry, enslaving more than 20 million people each year in forced labor and commercial sex and generating some US$150 billion (A$200 billion) in profits. Polaris systematically disrupts human trafficking networks and restores freedom to survivors. Grounded in data gathered from victims’ experiences, Polaris directly supports victims, equips key stakeholders with data to address and prevent human trafficking, and intervenes in specific industries through targeted campaigns.

With experience and expertise from direct victim services such as hotlines and resource centers, to policy advocacy, Polaris provides a data backbone for the sector. This data enhances law enforcement access to tips and actionable information, identifies gaps in services and resources, and facilitates collaboration to support organisations and agencies across the United States and eventually, around the world.

Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg said: “This year’s awardees are social entrepreneurs who deeply understand that human dignity depends on the security that comes from knowing fundamental needs are met: health, food, shelter and safety.

“Only when those needs are fulfilled can all people achieve their full potential.”

Awardees received US$1.25 million (A$1.7M) core support investments to scale their work and increase their impact.

“The social entrepreneurs also gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving some of the biggest global challenges of our time,” Osberg said.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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