Coming together in times of crisis! 

Ashoka Changemakers' Accelerator participants in Oslo, March 2020. Photo by Rodney Harper
Ashoka Changemakers' Accelerator participants in Oslo, March 2020. Photo by Rodney Harper

Dear friends of Ashoka,

In these times of uncertainty and reflection on our individual and collective responsibility, we want to strengthen our community more than ever. Although our mindset as changemakers pushes us to take action, we believe that the solution to the current challenge lies in our capacity to slow down and take time for mutual aid and co-creation.

As a community,  Ashoka Nordic has decided to take the situation seriously, while also focusing on the learning and innovation opportunities that emerge. We want to especially highlight what some of our Ashoka friends in the region are doing to support the wider community at this moment. If you feel inspired and would like to get involved or support one of our member’s initiatives please do get in touch with us!

Nordic Ashoka Fellow Ole Kassow is connecting the elderly with the rest of the population through Cycling Without Age (CWA). CWA’s guiding principles are generosity, slowing down, storytelling, relationships and “without age” and CWA as an organization is adapting to these difficult times by switching its activities from biking with the elderly to buying them food, medicine and exploring online interactions to keep the relationships growing. Ashoka Fellow David Cuartielles and César García, both innovators in the open source space, are helping to curate the Coronavirus Makers Forum. More than 10.000 makers are coordinating efforts today to build masks, respirators and cabins for hospitals. Find out more here! Anton Karlsson, alumni from Changemakers Camp, has developed Coronahjälpen – a digital platform linking teachers, educators and students for online study/homework support. Anton has also partnered with Medborgarskolan and Frivilliga Insatser vid Kris Katastrof (FIKK) to strengthen the impact and outreach during crisis.

Hello Nordics alumni Sisters in Business are helping the Norwegian effort to contain the corona virus by sewing protective wear for Norwegian health professionals. This effort has been both a meaningful step in helping tackle the crisis and a way to keep all the Sisters in Business workers fully employed during a difficult time.

“Our communities need your innovative and empathic changemaker skills now. To be able to do that, it's crucial that you take care of yourselves and get support from your peers. We want to be here to support you in these difficult times!” (Emma, Director of Ashoka Nordic)

As a team we also want to take action to enable us to come together and would like to invite you all to a series of online community and learning calls responding to some of the needs we are facing at the moment. These will be informal conversations focused on joint learning and sharing, guiding us through challenging circumstances. We will send out information on how and when to join the calls shortly.

Community call "How to build and strengthen cross-sector partnership so that they weather crises and challenges" – a collaborative discussion with Emma Lindgren, Ashoka Nordic and Jenny Perzon, Accenture Sweden and PhD at Stockholm School of Economics on cross-sector collaborations. When? 16 April at 13.00-14.00 CET. Where? Clicking on this link. Digital workshop on “Self-leadership for students – and how teachers can nourish it” hosted by Lisa Gawell, Raoul Wallenberg Academy, partner in our youth work. When? 1st April 2020 at 13:00 -16:00 CET. Where? Please register here.  Online Pan-European co-creation community sessions to find solutions & exchange on the COVID-19 situation in Europe, hosted by Ashoka Europe Fellowship team. This is a series of bi-weekly calls bringing together Ashoka’s core community of changemakers: our Fellows, ASNs, partners and other key change leaders. When? April 8th 2020 at 10.00-11.15 CET. Where? Please register here. New Leadership Digital workshop "Everyone leads” offered by Ashoka Europe Fellowship – explore how to build strong self-managed teams to help you address your challenges of today and tomorrow. If you are looking for more collaboration, resilience, and shared leadership in your organization, join this workshop: When? 27-29 April 2020 (deadline for application 10th April). Where? Please register here.

 In addition, the team at Ashoka Nordic has decided to transform our events this spring to online offerings. Invitations and agendas will be sent out in the coming days and weeks.  

  •  The final module of our Changemakers’ Accelerator – bringing together key stakeholders and social entrepreneurs for a day of co-creation on 12th May - will be held entirely online.

  • Inspirationsdagen, an inspirational event bringing together 100 teachers that promote changemaking across Sweden, is postponed to 2nd October 2020. We are developing hands-on content for teachers to support Changemaking in these challenging times and have set up monthly webinars on social entrepreneurship, Changemaking, self-leadership and case studies by young Changemakers. Please contact Nathalie Sajda if you want to be included in the mailing list on this.  

  • The launch of Ashoka Nordic in Finland is postponed until we can gather the growing community of changemakers in Helsinki. We will keep you updated with more information, in the meanwhile please get to know our new Finnish Country Manager here.

This new situation pushes us to reinvent our ways of working and adapt to a new landscape – our intention is to make sure we stay connected and support each other to find space for social innovation all the way through this period. In the meanwhile, please see below a list of useful links to funding opportunities, reading and online offerings that we highly recommend. 

Changemakers Yard – digital toolkit for youth who aim to develop their Changemaker skills. Backyard – e-lifelong-learning resource for educators to enhance their understanding and practical approaches on social entrepreneurship and Changemaking. Books and reports such as: “Embracing Complexity. Towards a Shared Understanding of Funding Systems Change”, which is the first-ever global effort to bring together the voices of those seeking to fund systems change with those who are delivering it on the ground. Please, find more at Ashoka Learning and Action Center. New opportunities, such as the Spanish Ashoka Fellow organization Bridge for Billion’s The Leap - Solutions for Humanity Edition, a one-month, fully sponsored, online incubation program created specifically to support solutions on the coronavirus or “actionagainstcorona”, an initiative launched by Norrsken Foundation, to offer support through funding, access to networks and raising awareness about inspirational work carried out by people who are offering solutions to COVID-19 health emergency. Other news: Ashoka’s Finland Manager in place and new initiatives such as the one started by The Good Lobby where 27 Health Ministers across the European Union are asked to coordinate their health response to COVID-19.

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