New Delhi: As part of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship — a sister organization of the WEF — awarded 16 social innovation organizations from countries including India, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nigeria, the US, France and the UAE on Wednesday. .
Among the winners are 25 leaders, among them five Indians, working in areas such as education, agriculture, microfinance, environmental projects and women’s empowerment in the informal economy.
The five Indians who won the awards are Aniket Doegar, co-founder and CEO of Hakdarshak Empowerment Solutions; Kanika Pal, Director of Sustainability South Asia at Unilever; and Punjab Education Collective designer Khushboo Avasthi, and co-leaders Rucha Pande and Simranpreet Oberoi.
VEF awarded this year’s leading innovators in 4 categories — Social Entrepreneurs, Corporate Social Intrapreneurs, Public Social Intrapreneurs and the newly introduced category, Collective Social Innovation.
Outstanding social innovators
Social entrepreneurs are leaders creating systemic solutions to the world’s social and environmental challenges today, from the refugee crisis and human rights abuses to water infrastructure and financial inclusion. Seven organizations from Uruguay, India, Palestinian Territories, El Salvador, USA, Nigeria and Pakistan were awarded in this category.
Aniket Doegar’s Hakdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (HESPL) is a social impact organization working to digitize welfare schemes in India to improve accessibility to low-income rural and urban communities. HESPL has digitized more than 6,000 schemes in various local Indian languages and supported more than 120,000 people in rural and urban areas in the last seven years.
Another honoree is Sabin Haque from Pakistan — co-founder and CEO of DoctHERS — for her work in providing affordable and quality healthcare to women in the country. Launched in 2014, this innovative healthcare platform helps connect women doctors with millions of patients from marginalized communities, helping women gain better access to healthcare and reintegrate female doctors into the workforce. A Pakistani social enterprise aims to reduce neonatal, maternal and medical mortality rates by 50 percent using video consultations and other telehealth services.
Public social intrapreneurs
This year, two innovators from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sierra Leone from West Africa were awarded in this category. Public social intrapreneurs are leaders in the public sector, governments and international organizations, who create public good through social innovation within policy, regulation or public initiatives.
Among the winners is Bushra Al Mulla, Director General of Abu Dhabi Family Care Authority, which works to improve the quality of life by offering specialized services based on the needs of families and empowering children and people with disabilities. Yvonne Aki Sawyer, Mayor of Freetown City Council, Sierra Leone, was honored for her work to transform the city’s services, infrastructure and environment using an inclusive, data-driven approach.
Corporate Social Intrapreneurs
Two innovators from France and India were awarded for their work in multinational or regional companies to solve social issues. Corporate social intrapreneurs are leaders who work to develop new products, initiatives, services or business models within companies to solve the challenges facing the world today. Among the winners was Benoit Bonello, director of social innovation at SUEZ Group, who was awarded for his work in leading the company’s inclusive business approach with the aim of having a positive impact on society and the environment.
India’s Kanika Pal, director of sustainability in South Asia at Unilever, won the award for her work in campaigning for healthy and sustainable communities. She founded the Foundation for Solutions for a Clean and Healthy Environment to influence behavior change for a cleaner planet.
Collective social innovation
Finally, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship introduced a new category this year to recognize the work of organizations that come together to tackle complex problems that cannot be tackled by individual actors. Under the “Collective Social Innovation” category, organizations that work together to optimally use resources such as knowledge, innovative solutions, human capital and more to solve deep-rooted issues around the world are recognized for their contributions.
Five organizations from Canada, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and Brazil were honored, including India’s Punjab Education Collective — a group of four education-based organizations working to transform the state’s public education system.
By identifying key structural challenges, this collective co-creates solutions through programs involving parents, teachers, school and district administrators, and NGOs, among others, to help improve the educational experience.
Khushboo Avasthi, Rucha Pande and Simranjeet Oberoi of Punjab Education Collective were honored for impacting 2.3 million students in 19,000 government schools in the state.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is comprised of a community of over 450 global social entrepreneurs who have impacted the lives of nearly 1 billion people in 190 countries. These entrepreneurs offer access to healthcare, education, housing, finance, digital skills and advocacy networks, resulting in job creation, economic opportunity, improved health and stability.
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