As part of the Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE), the ChangemakHERS online community, Ashoka has launched a series of monthly ChangemakHERs Huddles aimed at co-building solutions. These sessions aim to engage women Ashoka Fellows and their teams as well as Ashoka team members from around the world in discussions about various challenges arising in Fellows' work. Each session highlights one Ashoka Fellow's story, giving each individual the chance to share her chanemaking story, present a challenge, and break it down in a discussion aimed at co-building potential solutions or collaborative approaches.
This month’s meeting - and the second ChangemakHERS Huddle - has proven yet another great success, with 25 attendees joining from the Ashoka network across various countries, such as Canada, Kenya, Poland, Egypt, Brazil, India, and the United States. Led by Ashoka fellow Janet Longmore, the Huddle was titled “Thinking team - Moving from Vertical to HERizontal." Janet drew on her experience as Founder of Digital Opportunity Trust
(dot) in Canada - an organization working to address youth unemployment through peer-led training, an interconnected global network, and strategic cross-sector partnerships - to spark an engaging conversation that resonated personally with many of the attendees.
Janet discussed how peer coaching is a crucial approach to teaching or mentoring building up individuals' skills and characters. The conversation was centered on three main lessons:
- “Support your peers to build characters”
- “Be a giver of energy, not a taker”.
- “Look for your underlying passion”
Many of the women who attended related to the importance of peer-to-peer mentoring as a way of helping team members or youth nurture desirable skills, sharing diverse stories from their own workplaces and personal experiences. Janet maintained that it is important to keep one's energy high around people by being a giver of positive energy, rather than always a taker, especially in the stressful and often emotionally-loaded nature of leading a social enterprise that works with vulnerable individuals. Janet wrapped up the Huddle by stressing that when one has a passion for a certain cause or goal, she finds herself doing the impossible to reach her goal. Ruth Kaveke from Kenya, a social entrepreneur part of #DOTYouth shared her success story of raising 10,000$ and training more than 200 students, driven by a passion to make her community a better place.
What the ChangemakHERS community offers is more than just a membership to an online network. It is an opportunity to share experiences, wisdom, and strategies, as well as connect with Ashoka Fellow ChangemakHERS working across different sectors and countries to learn from each other's challenges and co-build solutions to pressing issues. Through the platform, women Fellows from all over the world have access to a space where they can find useful resources, including funding opportunities, competitions, and most importantly a support system of women supporting one another's growth and empowerment.
Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming ChangemakHERS Huddles and feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you're interested in leading one of your own.
If you missed this session, watch the huddle here!