Today, we are in the middle of a truly historic moment. For the past few centuries, institutions placed importance on efficiency in repetition (assembly line) where you were taught a particular skill or trade, which you could apply for the rest of your career.
But in today's change-driven and increasingly complex, interconnected world, this is no longer enough. This new world requires a different sort of a person – a changemaker. Changemakers are peo¬ple who can see patterns around them, identify the problems in any situation, figure out ways to solve the prob¬lem, organize fluid teams, lead collective action and then continually adapt as situations change.
We are at a turning point where recognizing and seizing a fundamental change like this is crucial. In this radically different world, where value comes from contributing to change and does not come from repetition, every person must be equipped with the sophisticated skills of a changemaker to be able to contribute. For a community or an organization to thrive, they need to ensure that every young person masters the four core abilities required to be a changemaker - cognitive empathy, the ability to build and work in fluid, open, integrated 'team of teams', collaborative leadership, and creative problem solving.
Ashoka was started in 1980 by Mr. Bill Drayton to identify and support social entrepreneurs who have ideas for far-reaching social change. So far, Ashoka has searched for and selected more than 3,500 leading social entrepreneurs across the world and over 90 in Bangladesh, and supported them through the 'Ashoka Fellowship'. Some of the Ashoka Fellows in Bangladesh include Shykh Seraj, Runa Khan, Ananya Raihan, Ejaj Ahmed, Sebastian Groh amongst others, who are working towards solving critical social problems and bringing systems change and/or mindset change in their respective fields and communities.
Drawing on insights that many of these fellows started to be changemakers at an early age – Ashoka is now launching the next phase of their work, 'Everyone A Changemaker' movement in partnership with Brac in Bangladesh. As part of the movement, Ashoka will be identifying Young Changemakers who are working on solving a problem for the good of the community. Ashoka will be recognizing the first set of young changemakers in Bangladesh as 'Sir Fazle Abed Ashoka Young Changemakers' in the memory of Sir Fazle Abed who was instrumental in bringing Ashoka to Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be the fifth country amongst Ashoka's network of 92 countries to launch this movement after countries like USA, Brazil, Indonesia and India.
The essence of building an 'Everyone a Changemaker' culture is to empower everyone, which is impossible without the co-leadership of youth, community leaders, government partners, and innovators. Ashoka believes that by identifying and selecting inspiring teenagers as Sir Fazle Abed Ashoka Young Changemakers, Ashoka will create a new type of role models for Bangladesh's children and youth who have the potential to impact an entire generation who will then aspire to become changemakers.
Ashoka will support this community of changemakers in influencing other stakeholders such as schools, parents, government, media and the larger education system so that every child in Bangladesh can grow up as a changemaker. This is very important not only for the future of these young people and also for Bangladesh as a whole.
These young changemakers are the equivalent of Ashoka Fellows in their generation. Each one of them has 'had a dream, has built a team, and changed his/her world', and have recognized their changemaker superpower. Now they want everyone else to have this amazing power, as they want to continue to work on growing theirs. That's why they are a perfect fit to co-lead the 'Everyone a Changemaker' movement.