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PAROLES D'EXPERT.E.S #4
Dana Mekler

Ashoka

Chaque mois, un expert vient répondre à nos questions sur l'entrepreneuriat social. Ce mois-ci, rencontre avec Dana Mekler, d'Ashoka.

Hello Dana !

Can you introduce yourself a bit to Espace Bidaya’s readers ? Why did you chose to work mainly in the field of education ?

Hello, my name is Dana Mekler, I am the Global Project Manager of the Empathy Initiative at Ashoka. I am originally from Mexico and Spain and have lived in the US for the last seven years. I have worked over the last few years in the field of social innovation, with a special focus on education because I feel that through educational opportunities and frameworks you can address any and all problems in society.

You are currently working in the group Ashoka and more precisely in Empathy Ashoka. Could you describe what the goals of both projects are ? How are they fostering social entrepreneurship ?

Ashoka is the organization that invented the term “social entrepreneur” and is one of the pioneers in the field of social entrepreneurship. We have a network of more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows from 89 different countries that are designing solutions to the world’s biggest problems. To learn more about Ashoka, you can go to www.ashoka.org.
 

The world has always known change, but the change we see today is transforming the way we live, work, and interact at a rate and scale never seen before. The Empathy Initiative was created to respond to the need for new skills in a context where the jobs of tomorrow don’t exist today, and where creative thinking and empathy are as important as knowing how to read.
 

Through a careful selection process, we find innovations in education that provide opportunities to children to develop their changemaker skills and grow up as agents of change. We have a global network of Changemaker Schools from different contexts that are proving that change is possible and that there is a different way of doing things that allows children to fully develop as human beings and enjoy the journey of learning in the process. For more information, you can go to www.changemakerschools.org .

Before working in Empathy Ashoka, you had been working for the project Sports for Sharing aiming to shape better citizens from childhood. How can sport lead to be a better citizen ?

At Sports for Sharing, now Education for Sharing, I worked a lot with educators and children from very different contexts. It was incredible to see how through collaborative sports and games and by just having fun as a team people could come together and connect at a very deep level. The curriculum we implemented was designed to derive lessons about gender equality, empathy, fair play and teamwork from each of the sports and games. These values and others are at the core of good citizenship.

With the changemakers schools, you are trying to involve the children in the social global change. Do you think that everybody can become a changemaker ? How is it possible to have a positive social impact on the world in which you are living ? 

Our vision and understanding of the world comes from Ashoka’s experience in pioneering the field of social entrepreneurship over the last 35 years — Our work with Ashoka Fellows has helped us understanding that it is not enough to have a small group of innovative entrepreneurs solving the world’s largest social problems.
 

No matter the context and the resources at our disposal, we firmly believe that everyone can become a changemaker for the good of society. That’s why we work closely with schools, educators, parents and institutions: to make sure young people in particular, but adults too, realize their potential as powerful agents of change.

Thank you Dana !

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