28 March 2017
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Skoll Foundation (Palo Alto)

Skoll Foundation Announces 2017 Awardees for Social Entrepreneurship

Photo: Skoll Foundation
Dr. Rajesh Panjabi (Last Mile Health) and Kola Masha (Babban Gona) recipients of the 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders whose organizations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-scale change, and are poised to create even greater impact on the world.

PALO ALTO, CA, MARCH 27, 2017 — — Four recipients are developing innovative approaches for transformative change

Kicking off next week’s 14th Annual Skoll World Forum, the Skoll Foundation announced the four recipients of the 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders whose organizations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-­‐scale change, and are poised to create even greater impact on the world. By investing in organizations when an innovation is ripe for accelerated and scaled adoption, the Skoll Awards help unleash the full global potential and reach of social entrepreneurs.

“Social entrepreneurs are drawn to the world’s most challenging problems,” said Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation. “They are incorrigible optimists, always peering out at the landscape through a solutions lens. These four remarkable people give us great hope that a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future is on the horizon.”

“This year’s Awardees are social entrepreneurs who understand that human dignity depends on the security of meeting basic needs: health, food, shelter, and safety,” Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Only when those needs are addressed can all people achieve their full potential.”

Each of the four 2017 Awardees lead organizations that show great promise of expanded impact around meeting those basic needs. Babban Gona is a social enterprise serving smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups. Build Change trains homeowners, local builders, engineers, and government officials to construct or retrofit disaster-­‐resistant buildings in areas vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons. Last Mile Health partners with government to deploy and manage networks of community health professionals working in the most remote communities, and integrate them into the public health system. Polaris combats human trafficking, and intervenes in specific industries with a coordinated data-­‐ centric approach to outreach and advocacy.

Awardees’ organizations receive $1.25 million 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.

Watch live as these remarkable social entrepreneurs accept their awards alongside Global Treasure Awardee Bono at the Skoll World Forum’s Awards Ceremony (#skollwf) on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 4:00-­‐6:00PM (GMT+1). skoll.org/live

Kola Masha: Babban Gona

To help prevent the spread of insecurity and extremism in Nigeria—where young people face a 50 percent 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 small networks of smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth. The 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.

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler: Build Change

More than nine in every ten 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 standardized 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.

Dr. Rajesh Panjabi: Last Mile Health

Last Mile Health partners with government to deploy, support, and manage networks of community health professionals integrated into the public health system. With training in maternal and child health, family planning, treatment adherence, and surveillance of epidemics, together with mentorship 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 receiving treatment for diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia has increased. As a result 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.

Bradley Miles: Polaris

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 $150 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 organizations and agencies across the United States and eventually, around the world.

About the Skoll Foundation

Jeff Skoll created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, our mission is to drive large-­‐scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, we empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.

About the Skoll Awards

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations are disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo and have demonstrated impact on solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Award recognizes organizations that have the potential to scale their success and drive large-­‐scale, systems change.

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