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: Civic Engagement

Hamadou Tidiane Sy is developing a Pan-African corps of independent, investigative journalists to focus on a range of important public issues. This media approach is helping to redefine African journalism and has the power to positively impact the dissemination of local and regional news.

Country: Mali
Field of Work: Environment

Where Malian public officials have failed, Cheick Amala Tabouré is successfully mobilizing residents of Bamako's poorer quarters to finance and install household septic tanks instead of the current unhygienic and dangerous practice of disposing waste water in open pits along public streets.

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Learning/Education

Thirty years ago Paul Taryam Ilboudo found a way to integrate trilingualism into teaching literacy. Instead of denying access to local languages in education, Paul engineered fast paced courses that use local languages as the building blocks for literacy. With increased student self-confidence and evident progress, this literacy could then become the grounds for...

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Environment

Wolimata Thiaw has launched a volunteer women’s movement to firmly place the responsibility, ownership, and benefit of protecting the environment in the hands of local communities. By not separating the environment from other community needs—indeed by doing the very opposite, by showing how caring for the environment can help bring about highly desired, broader...

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Health

Faced with the problem of child malnutrition, coupled with the sparse economic resources of the women in her community, Marguerite Thiaw has created a series of innovations based on the banana, the main crop of her native region of Tambacounda, in Eastern Senegal. Using everything from the fruit to the skin, and combining it with other ingredients, her continuous...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Health

Issoufou Tiendrébéogo provides crucial medicine to AIDS patients by distributing unused anti-retroviral drugs from Europe and North America at a reduced cost to members of his education and support network

Country: Mali
Field of Work: Learning/Education

By combining literacy training, mentoring young Malian authors, publishing textbooks written by Malians for use in local schools, and a revolutionary low cost rural book distribution scheme, Ismaila Samba Traore is preserving Mali's rich indigenous knowledge base while giving rural Malians access to the broader world and pride in their own culture and history.

Country: Senegal
Field of Work: Health

Dr. Salimata Wade is changing the urban Senegalese food culture and building a new nutritional African gastronomy to prevent and treat the chronic diseases that are becoming endemic in urban areas. 

Country: Ivory Coast
Field of Work: Human Rights

Constance Yai is the first person in Cote d'Ivoire to successfully introduce grassroots organizing around women's rights. Her several campaigns have crossed social and economic barriers and laid the foundation for dismantling a legal structure that discriminates against women from the time they are born. Her approach brings together women from rural and urban areas and...

Country: Burkina Faso
Field of Work: Economic Development

Over the last decade, Desire has turned the traditional activity of beekeeping into a modern, vibrant, environmentally sound, and profitable industry that provides rural populations with a new level of economic potential. From this initial, hard-won success, Desire is bringing his comprehensive approach to modernizing other local industries.