Ashoka Sahel Fellows

Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who we recognize to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change. Ashoka Fellows work in over 70 countries around the globe in every area of human need.

Country: Mali
Field of Work: Human Rights

Addressing the long-standing practice of black Touaregs enslaved to white Touaregs, Ibrahim ag Idbaltanat offers an alternative social system based on fraternity and shared heritage to bring the Touareg communities in northern Mali together as one. Stigma and discrimination linked to slave caste identity, coupled with the issues isolation, have made both civil society...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Claude Ariste is encouraging the individual fruit and vegetable producers in Burkina Faso's fresh produce sector to form cooperatives and increase their revenue through collaborative training, production, and marketing. This framework has the added benefits of enhancing nutrition for farmers and communities and contributing to the reforestation of Sahelian zones.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Learning/Education

Judi Aubel is improving the lives of women, children and families by empowering grandmothers, an abundant and underutilized cultural resource, to catalyze change in socio-cultural norms related to many issues, including girls’ education, early and forced marriage, teen pregnancy, female genital mutilation, maternal and child health/nutrition and intergenerational...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Leon is combatting extreme poverty and improving health levels by modernizing milk production by educating and spreading financial resources for the poorest farmers throughout Burkina Faso and neighboring countries.

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Health

In 2001, Bagnomboé Bakiono created the African Network for Youth Health and Development in Burkina Faso (RAJS/BF) to address issues related to HIV/AIDS and to promote sexual health among youth. Today Bagnomboé is developing the network in West Africa and linking it to a larger network in other parts of Africa.

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Blandine is transforming the image of the most marginalized women in extreme poverty through economic empowerment, education and improved health. She is starting with one of the least respected groups of women – traditional beer producers – and is making them a model example of successful, educated, environmentally conscious and socially aware women through a portfolio...

Country: Mali
Field of Work: Health

A medical doctor by training, Garba Hamadoun Cissé has organized his colleagues to volunteer their time and skills to bring specialized medical care to those without access while simultaneously training local medical agents to provide such care in the future.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Health

To tackle the related problems of rural women’s poverty and the unaffordable cost of healthcare, Lobé Cissokho is coupling mutual credit and savings institutions with health insurance mutual institutions. As a result, both are sustainable and better able to support the women they serve.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Environment

Opa Cissokho is providing farmers with incentives to be agents in forest conservation. In the Tambacounda region, much of the coal and wood used for household fuel comes from felling trees. Forests are disappearing because of ignorance about the environmental consequences, as well as a lack of natural resource management systems. Opa trains farmers to become agroforest...

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Civic Engagement

Annette Mbaye D’Erneville’s Le Musée de la Femme Henriette Bathily on the island of Gorée in the harbor of Dakar was the first women’s museum in Africa. The idea of a women’s museum focusing on issues pertaining to women of that particular area of Africa where the museum is located (vs. “African women”) has been copied in a permanent museum in Mali and the theme has...