Application for Social Entrepreneurs in Rural Innovation and Farming in East Africa

Ashoka Fellowship:
Call for nominations

Course(s) Offered: Agriculture, Rural devpt
Course Level: Support fellowships
Provider: Ashoka
Country to Study in: Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)

Scholarship Description
Calling for nominations! Ashoka is recognizing outstanding social entrepreneurs in the field of rural innovation and farming throughout East Africa.

Ashoka invites all social entrepreneurs in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to apply for fellowships in small-holder farming and rural innovation - the Ashoka fellowships.

Under this call for applications, Ashoka will provide generous grants for three years, along with access to technical support and partnerships.

The search is open to all individuals in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda working to serve small-holder farmers or innovating in rural development.

Selection Criteria:
What characterizes a leading social entrepreneur? How does Ashoka decide which candidates to nominate and which to turn away? Ashoka's selection process is anchored by our five criteria against which all Fellow candidates are evaluated:
  1. The Knockout Test: A New Idea
    Ashoka cannot elect someone to the Fellowship unless he or she is possessed by a new idea—a new solution or approach to a social problem—that will change the pattern in a field, be it human rights, the environment, or any other. We evaluate the idea historically and against its contemporaries in the field, looking for innovation and real change potential.
  2. Creativity
    Successful social entrepreneurs must be creative both as goal-setting visionaries and as problem solvers capable of engineering their visions into reality. Creativity is not a quality that suddenly appears—it is almost always apparent from youth onward. Among the questions we might ask: Does this individual have a vision of how he or she can meet some human need better than it has been met before? Does the candidate have a history of creating other new visions?
  3. Entrepreneurial Quality
    Perhaps our most important criterion, entrepreneurial quality is the defining characteristic of first class entrepreneurs. It defines leaders who see opportunities for change and innovation and devote themselves entirely to making that change happen. These leaders often have little interest in anything beyond their mission, and they are willing to spend the next ten to fifteen years making a historical development take place. This total absorption is critical to transforming a new idea into reality, and it is for this reason that Ashoka insists that candidates commit themselves full-time to their ideas during the launch phase.

    Ashoka is looking for the Andrew Carnegies, Henry Fords, and Steve Jobses of the citizen sector.
  4. Social Impact of the Idea
    This criterion focuses on the candidate's idea, not the candidate. Ashoka is only interested in ideas that it believes will change the field significantly and that will trigger nationwide impact or, for smaller countries, broader regional change. For example, Ashoka will not support the launch of a new school or clinic unless it is part of a broader strategy to reform the education or health system at the national level and beyond.
  5. Ethical Fiber
    Social entrepreneurs introducing major structural changes to society have to ask a lot of people to change how they do things. If the entrepreneur is not trusted, the likelihood of success is significantly reduced. Ashoka asks every participant in the selection process to evaluate candidates for these qualities rigorously. To do so often requires one to resort to instinct and gut feelings, not just rational analysis. The essential question is: "Do you trust this person absolutely?" If there is any doubt, a candidate will not pass.
Eligible groups
Citizens of ANY country living in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

Participating Institutions
Outstanding social entrepreneurs throughout East Africa

Fields of study
Social entrepreneurship in the field of rural innovation and farming

Number of awards
Not specified by provider

Sponsorship duration
A living stipend for three (3) years

Scholarship benefits
Benefits of the Ashoka Fellowship include:
  • Collaboration and learning opportunities within a global network of over 2,500 world class and like-minded social entrepreneurs
  • Access to technical support and pro bono partnerships to help grow your organization
  • A stipend for three years that is meant to allow the entrepreneur to focus 100% on his/her work
  • Access to institutional funders and grant makers
Method of Application
Having read the criteria for selection, if you believe you qualify as an Ashoka Fellow candidate, please apply by 5 March 2011 for the current selection cycle. If you think you know a leading social entrepreneur who should be a candidate, please email this post to him/her.

How to apply:
Download, fill out this form (see Application Form below) and email it back to us at

Application Form (.doc) | Criteria Guideline (.pdf)

You need to go through the Criteria Guidelines (link to it is above) before filling in your application.

Apply by or before 5 March 2011 for the current selection cycle.

Ashoka invests in people. We search the world for leading social entrepreneurs and at the launch stage, provide these entrepreneurs—Ashoka Fellows—a living stipend for an average of three years, allowing them to focus full-time on building their institutions and spreading their ideas.

We also provide our Fellows with a global support network of their peers and partnerships with professional consultants. Once elected to the Ashoka Fellowship, Fellows benefit from this community for life.

Application Deadline: 5 March 2011
Open to International students: No (ONLY East Africans)

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: Scholarships in Agriculture for International Students

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