How we select WomenChangeMakers’ fellows

WomenChangeMakers’ nominators in each country of operation identify potential fellows and refer them to us. The candidates are then carefully evaluated and tested against a carefully developed criteria, through a series of interviews and tests to ensure that the selected social entrepreneurs and their projects are relevant to our mission.

Social entrepreneurs don’t apply directly to become a WomenChangeMakers’ fellow. 

We invite non-governmental organizations working in the field on women’s issues who wish to know more about nominating fellows to contact us.

Our Selection Criteria & Requirements

The potential fellows are people who are aiming to scale and/or replicate their project and who are looking for help to do so, i.e. with a basic interest on their part to become engaged with WomenChangeMakers.

Selecting and evaluating the project :

 Women’s empowerment and progress: candidates need to be heading a confirmed and successful project for the empowerment women, creating an enabling environment and/or lifting the barriers to women’s emancipation; they are active in one of the following areas: access to education and training; access to health care or improvement of health services for women; promotion of women’s social and political leadership; protection of women’s dignity and integrity and prevention of sexual and other forms of targeted violence; access to economic independence and empowerment.

Inflection point: candidates need to be at an inflection point, that is, their programs should have been proven and tested as successful and efficient, and may already been approached by or included in other organizations and organisms. They must be at a level where they have a need to scale or replicate and grow. The selected fellows have been awarded recognition by cornerstone institutions in the field of social entrepreneurship, including Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, Avina etc.

Systemic change: project ideas need to address the root causes of targeted problems, rather than its symptoms, and be structured in a systemic way. They should have a strong, systemic impact demonstrated by a number of women’s lives changed, in a durable way; as well as an impact on legislation at regional, national or international levels. At the same time, they should prove to have had an impact in the collective mind and social doings of the communities they act upon.

Social impact: project ideas need to have the potential to create a substantial social impact and transform the lives of many. At selection stage, it needs to have already demonstrated a social impact with potential for growth.

Sustainability and scalability: project ideas need to include a critical path to scale including strategies to build sustainable, long-term economic models.

Independence from government and secularity.

The project leader (fellow)

Entrepreneurial qualities: "A new idea only has power in the hands of a true entrepreneur“;

Creativity: must have the capacity to adjust to changing environments and come up with creative solutions;

Leadership qualities: role models in their communities; empower people to become changemakers and empower people in their networks to become changemakers;

Personal Values: deep and consistent commitment to equal rights and opportunities between men and women;

Ethical Fiber.

How we support WomenChangeMakers’ fellows

WomenChangeMakers offers a full range of tools to its fellow social entrepreneurs to achieve growth; in accordance with their specific needs, they chose what type of support and tools they require.

CONSULTANCY AND TRAINING WITH PARTNERS WomenChangeMakers provides access for social entrepreneurs in its fellowship to professionals who can help them address key issues needed to successfully scale and/or replicate their project. These consultancies and trainings are delivered by partners of WomenChangeMakers, specialized namely in the following areas:

Business Management: Defining growth and development and a strategy to implement them. Including funding strategies.

Human Resources: Team building and management skills; leadership training and succession planning.

Networking WomenChangeMakers’ fellows will be connected with like-minded individuals in their own countries and beyond. They will be able to share ideas, advise each other and gather precious information.

Legal Issues

Public Relations, Marketing and Communication

Monitoring and Evaluation

WOMENCHANGEMAKERS CORPORATE SUPPORT NETWORK: The WomenChangeMakers Support Network is a community of successful business people, entrepreneurs, senior executives, investment bankers, venture capitalists, and consultants who share our beliefs and engage with WomenChangeMakers’ fellows, committing time and resources to support their work.

NETWORK AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS’ FELLOWSHIP WomenChangeMakers, provides all the benefits from being part of a network of social entrepreneurs that is exchanging good practices, experiences, market information and more. This takes place in the form of meetings and a virtual community platform.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT WomenChangeMakers awards financial support to its fellows, principally in the form of a stipend (salary) to the social entrepreneur him/herself or to a key person leading the transition. The aim is to enable the social entrepreneur and his/her team to take the project to the next level of growth.

Our Fellows

Alice Freitas, Founder and CEO of Asta (Rio de Janeiro), Ashoka Fellow and Avina leader. Asta contributes to social equality and economic development in Brazil by strengthening women's productive enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid through access to markets, know-how, and the creation of networks. Asta has created a direct sales catalog to help informal artisans overcome the challenges of large-scale distribution. By equipping a network of well-trained amateur sales agents with an intimate understanding of the personal histories and social impact behind the products, Asta provides a direct communication channel between producers and consumers. 93% of the 600 artisans it works with are women; 97% of the 650-700 re-sellers are women and 100% of the Asta team are women - www.redeasta.com.br

Safeena Hussain , Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Educate Girls.   Educate Girls has developed a comprehensive model that leverages existing resources from the government, village and school levels and creates community ownership for school reform. They ensure that teachers, the government, parents, and even girls become active participants in the process and operate independently in school governance even after the withdrawal of Educate Girls. Educate Girls is building a cadre of village based youth leaders to work as champions for girls' education and catalysts for school reform. Team Balika works in the schools as well as village communities spreading awareness about girl child education. It boosts enrolment, retention and learning outcomes for all girls. To create synergy, they work top-down with government officials on different levels, and bottom-up with villagers and village committees. This enables them to realize their mission in a 2-year intervention with an average cost of just INR 100 or $2.60 per child -http://educategirls.in

Neelam Chhiber, Co Founder and Managing Director of Industree/Mother Earth

Neelam Chhiber was nominated by the Schwab Foundation. She co-founded the for-profit Industree Crafts Private Limited (ICPL) that was set up as a social business, where the profits were ploughed back into production and the skilling of artisans. The non-profit arm, Industree Crafts Foundation (ICF, later renamed Industree Foundation, or IF), was established in August 2000 to focus the organization’s work with rural producers on design development, and technical and skill initiatives in the natural fibre sector. In time, the Foundation’s mandate broadened to include other crafts as well. The Foundation also sought to build up the production base and enable artisans to become owners of their enterprises. In a nutshell, Industree is a hybrid social enterprise that works on two levels: i) it supports the livelihoods of rural producers and agricultural workers in the natural fiber crafts sector across India by manufacturing contemporary products, mainly home accessories; and ii) connects rural producers to urban markets, thus ensuring sales’ outlets. 90% of the 10,000+ producers engaged presently with Industree are women. For more information see: http://motherearth.co.in/industree-foundation/

WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship to Neelam Chhiber will support Industree Foundation’s goal of mass scaling its capacity-building of (mainly) women artisans, thus enabling them to acquire a sustainable source of income. IF’s goal is focused on skills’ development and capacity-building programs for 200,000 artisans over the next 10 years. WomenChangeMakers Fellowship’s key focus thereby will be to help Industree Foundation create strong, high quality training systems; develop a sustainable funding model; enhance network linkages and strengthen the monitoring and evaluation systems, which will include measurements of IF’s impact on women’s empowerment.

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh; Founder and Executive Director, Bandhan

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh (CS Ghosh) was nominated by Ashoka India. CS Ghosh founded Bandhan that was set up with a dual objective of poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. The model incorporates two entities. Through a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (BFSPL) is bringing financial stability to poor women through micro-loans in 19 Indian states and Union Territory in which it operates. To date, it caters to 4.8 million disadvantaged women.   Bandhan-Konnagar, the non-profit arm of the organization, aims at fostering a deeper systemic development by focusing on ultra-poor women (or the ‘hardcore poor’, such as destitute or homeless women), who fall outside the lending net of most microfinance institutions (MFIs). Through its ‘credit plus approach’, it brings them on par with those to whom MFIs and banks will give credit. Bandhan-Konnagar lends muscle to the women’s financial advancement through community-based programs targeted at education, health, and livelihoods. For more information please see: http://www.bandhan.org/Default_org.aspx

WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship to CS Ghosh will support Bandhan-Konnagar’s expansion plan for next 3 years, with a goal of reaching 10 states covering 2,000,000 households through 5 community development programs. The key focus of this Fellowship will be to strengthen the organization’s communication strategy, improve its use of technology, enhance the networking and fundraising capacities, review its monitoring and evaluation systems and advance its women empowerment programs. 

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