WEF-backed Schwab Foundation names top social innovators for this year, 5 Indians on list

New Delhi: As part of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship – WEF’s sister organization – on Wednesday recognized 16 organizations for social innovation from countries including India, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nigeria, the United States, France and the United Arab Emirates.

The winners include 25 leaders, including five Indians, working in areas such as education, agriculture, microfinance, environmental projects and empowering women in the informal economy.

The five Indians who won the awards were Aniket Doegar, co-founder and CEO of Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions; Kanika Pal, sustainability manager for South Asia at Unilever; and Khushboo Awasthi, designer of the Punjab Education Collective, and co-leaders Rucha Pande and Simranpreet Oberoi.

The WEF awarded this year’s leading innovators in 4 categories – Social Entrepreneurs, Corporate Social Intrapreneurs, Public Social Intrapreneurs and the new category, Collective Social Innovation.

Outstanding Social Innovators

Social entrepreneurs are leaders who create systemic solutions to the social and environmental challenges of today’s world, from the refugee crisis and human rights abuses to water infrastructure and financial inclusion. Seven organizations from Uruguay, India, Palestinian Territories, El Salvador, United States, Nigeria and Pakistan were awarded in this category.

Aniket Doegar’s Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (HESPL) is a social impact organization working to digitize social protection schemes in India to improve accessibility for low-income rural and urban communities. HESPL has digitized over 6,000 programs in various local Indian languages ​​and supported over 120,000 people in rural and urban areas over the past seven years.

Another recipient is Säbeen Haque from Pakistan – co-founder and executive director of DoctHERS – for her work to provide affordable, quality health care to women in the country. Launched in 2014, this innovative healthcare platform connects female physicians to millions of patients from marginalized communities, helping women gain better access to healthcare and reintegrating female physicians into the workforce. The Pakistani social enterprise aims to reduce neonatal, maternal and medical mortality rates by 50% through video consultation and other telehealth services.

Public social intrapreneurs

Two innovators from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sierra Leone in West Africa were honored this year in this category. Public social intrapreneurs are leaders within the public sector, governments and international organizations, who create a public good through social innovation within the framework of policies, regulations or public initiatives.

Among the winners, Bushra Al Mulla, Chief Executive Officer of the Family Care Authority of Abu Dhabi, works to improve the quality of life by providing specialized services according to the needs of families and empowering children and people with disabilities . Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown City Council in Sierra Leone, was recognized for her work in transforming the city’s services, infrastructure and environment using an inclusive data-driven approach.

Corporate Social Intrapreneurs

Two French and Indian innovators were rewarded for their work within multinational or regional companies to respond to societal challenges. Corporate social intrapreneurs are leaders who work to develop new products, initiatives, services or business models within companies to solve the challenges facing the world today. Among the winners was Benoit Bonello, Director of Social Innovation for the SUEZ Group, who was recognized for his work leading the company’s inclusive business approach to positively impact society and the environment. environment.

India’s Kanika Pal, Unilever’s South Asia Sustainability Manager, won the award for her campaigning for healthy and sustainable communities. She founded the Solutions for Clean and Healthy Environment Foundation to influence behavior change for a cleaner planet.

Collective social innovation

Finally, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship introduced a new category this year to recognize the work of organizations that come together to solve complex problems that cannot be solved by individual actors. In the “Collective Social Innovation” category, organizations that work together to make optimal use of resources such as knowledge, innovative solutions, human capital and more to solve deep-seated problems around the world are recognized for their contributions. .

Five organizations from Canada, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and Brazil were recognized, including India’s Punjab Education Collective, a group of four education-focused organizations working towards system transformation. public education in the state.

By identifying key structural challenges, this collective co-creates solutions through programs involving parents, teachers, school and district administrators, and NGOs, among others, to help improve the educational experience.

Khushboo Awasthi, Rucha Pande and Simranjeet Oberoi of the Punjab Education Collective were awarded for impacting 2.3 million students in 19,000 public schools across the state.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship consists of a community of over 450 global social entrepreneurs who have impacted the lives of nearly one billion people in 190 countries. These entrepreneurs provide access to healthcare, education, housing, finance, digital skills and advocacy networks, resulting in job creation, economic opportunity, better health and stability.

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