Born and raised in the Sahel, I have been privilege enough to be brought up in a family where basic needs were met, and where education was considered important and worth making sacrifices for. I was even more fortunate to have meet and worked at a very early age with visionary people who serve as mentors, teachers and guides.
I had the treasurable opportunity of learning by doing in the education field work with institutions raging from PADEC, a local education and culture club in Dakar to the Institute for Popular Education in Kati, Mali http://iepmali.org. I have learned in the feminist movement field while working with the Women Living Under Muslims laws http://www.wluml.org and from Aprofes the association for the promotion of women in Senegal. http://aprofes.org. I am still learning and discovering new opportunities as part of the Per Ankh cooperative http://www.perankhbooks.com and as a manager writing, publishing and distributing children’s educational books.
Whether it be through the multiple organizations that I have worked with when I was a younger person like YES! http://www.yesworld.org, or African consultant international http://www.acibaobab.org and today as a board member of the Urgent Action fund for women http://urgentactionfund-africa.or.ke or as an advisor http://www.globalfundforwomen.org, http://www.newfieldfound.org the purpose has been the same, bringing justice, well being and happiness into peoples lives. As I look at young people grow, rural women rising, I can tell it is possible to change the world for the better.
In the last 7 years at Ashoka http://Ashoka.org I have worked on searching, selecting, and supporting social entrepreneurs in the Sahel. We start from a radical perspective and assumptions that everywhere there are people working to make positive change happen. There are people who understand their environment and have the sensitivity, the creativity it takes to transform a difficult situation. They are entrepreneurial and courage, they believe in justice but also have the skills and capacity to work with others to create models that are sustainable and replicable to bring about social change.
One of the first Ashoka fellows in Burkina Faso Halidou Ouedraogo has created the movement for human right in West Africa. Working patiently even in very hostile environment to set up small club and grassroots groups that will defends human right in Burkina Faso and then federating them. Today this movement has gone far beyond his reach and is part of the fabric in many other regions.
And one of the latest fellows elected in Senegal has created Jokkolabs http://jokkolabs.net inspired from the open source technologies, understanding that sharing can mean growing, inspiring and supporting new generation of young entrepreneurs to think differently rather than loosing something in the process.
It is my mission to find more of them and make them visible, to connect them to each other and to people and institution that can help move their work further, to give them the opportunity to inspire more of us in the world. Between them and many more working in all fields, education, health, finance, art, agriculture and multitude of other fields that are yet to be define.
Our focus today is to make sure everyone is a changemaker. We have learned from over 30 years and 3000 social entrepreneurs around the world that it starts with our children. It begins by giving them a chance to access knowledge and information and providing the capacity that will allow them be aware, sensitive and responsive to their environment and build them to be true citizen of this world and participate in the well being of this planet.
There are many ways participate and one of them is through transforming schools. We are currently identifying and integrating our network of Changemakers schools.
There will come a time when parents, teachers and policy makers will agree and act so that all children are raised to become changemakers and one of the first steps toward that is to master Empathy http://empathy.ashoka.org.
I am currently a how fellow http://www.howfund.org and have received in1998 Lafetra family fellowship that allowed me to do my BA completion program.