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: Senegal
Field of Work: Health

Jean-Philippe Mandiamé is leading an anti-smoking/pro-health movement among Senegalese youth in the belief that basic information on the deleterious effects of tobacco smoking will deter many young people from indulging in this dangerous and addictive habit.

Country: Gambia
Field of Work: Economic Development

Mama Manneh is creating replicable, grassroots-based solutions for the most severe food security problem facing farmers in the Sahel, the saison de soudure (season of hunger), beginning in June and lasting until October, when the last of a farmer’s remaining food stocks are exhausted, and before the early fall planting yields food. 

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Civic Engagement

By organizing open-air booksellers into a professional association, Abdourahmane Mbengue helps legitimize their trade and makes them aware that they are "social actors" who can play a signigicant role in making education more accessible to people throughout Senegal.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Economic Development

Latif Mbengue is shifting education in Senegal from theoretical to practical, hands-on learning. Bringing key players together, Latif is preparing students to succeed in the workforce, helping them to accelerate their professional and entrepreneurial careers and in turn creating hubs of innovation.

Country: Ivory Coast
Field of Work: Environment

Working in the poorer sections of Cote d'Ivoire's capital, Abidjan, that are not served by public trash collection services, Joseph N'Gata has pioneered a cost-effective youth-based model for municipal trash collection.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Learning/Education

Ousmane Ndongo is providing the framework for adults with basic literacy in a West African tribal language to make the transition to advanced literacy. Working with interdisciplinary teams, Ousmane is creating language-appropriate computer interfaces that enable people with basic literacy to access the World Wide Web. By linking basic literacy with tech literacy, he...

Country: Mali
Field of Work: Economic Development

Ladji Niangane has worked with farming communities along the banks of the Senegal River for more than thirty years. Farmers in the Sahel depend on their connection to this river, and it serves as a measure of greater problems like drought, pollution, and overexploitation. By stressing the importance of this waterway and building up a network of farmers, Ladji has...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Souleymane Ouattara is making employment accessible to young people in Burkina Faso by training artisans in professions such as tailoring and weaving, and by providing them with the support they need to enter the work force and contribute to their local economies. His work training has not only transformed the current system of apprenticeship, but is also helping rural...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Environment

Throughout the southern frontier of the Sahel desert, southern Mauritania, north and western Senegal, parts of northern and western Mali, the northern region of Burkina Faso and then eastward, desertification has advanced steadily since the mid -twentieth century, taking away arable land, and threatening the agricultural livelihoods of small producers in Burkina Faso....

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Frustrated with the lack of employment options in the capital, Réné Christophe Ouédraogo moved back to the countryside to take control of his future. Recognizing the need for wood products in the city, he launched a tree farm to supply this demand, and convinced other city youth and peri-urban areas to join him. In return for their labor, Réné offers them young plants...