World’s First Young Champions of Maternal Health Named by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force

June 17, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va., June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ashoka, the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs, and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, announced today the 16 winners of their Young Champions competition – the first-ever international fellowship to focus on supporting a new generation of global leaders dedicated to improving maternal health.

Each Young Champion, selected through an Ashoka’s Changemakers.com online competition and a rigorous interview process, will spend nine months abroad working with and being mentored by an Ashoka Fellow with expertise in maternal health.

“Achieving maternal health for women worldwide is within our reach, and for this success to be lasting we must find and support the next generation of dedicated innovators and leaders,” said Dr. Ana Langer, President of EngenderHealth and Senior Advisor to the Maternal Health Task Force. “This is a milestone moment for the maternal health field, and we look forward to seeing this cadre of enthusiastic young professionals continue to grow.”

The Young Champions hail from 13 countries, including India, Ethiopia, and Nigeria – countries with high maternal mortality. Each Champion has been paired with a leading social entrepreneur. One Young Champion, Yeabsira Mehari of Ethiopia, will work side-by-side with Ashoka India Fellow Glory Alexander, whose Action, Service and Hope for AIDS (ASHA) Foundation offers comprehensive services for women living with HIV, including maternal health care. In India, Ms. Mehari will learn how holistic, community-based health care can improve maternal health – lessons she can bring back to Ethiopia as she launches a center to serve women with fistula.

“The passion and new ideas represented by the Young Champions matched with the insights and innovative work of Ashoka’s leading social entrepreneurs represent a powerful new force to transform the field of maternal health globally,” said Bill Drayton, Chairman and CEO of Ashoka. “I look forward to the deep and lasting impact these young leaders will create and the future generations of Changemakers they will inspire in their paths to end the cycle of maternal death and disability around the world.”

Read more about the 16 Young Champions and their Ashoka Fellow pairings at http://ashoka.org/youngchampions#meet.

About Ashoka and Ashoka’s Changemakers.com

Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world’s working community of more than 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed, and collaborate. As Ashoka expands its capacity to integrate and connect social and business entrepreneurs around the world, it builds an entrepreneurial infrastructure comprised of a series of global initiatives that support the fast-growing needs of the citizen sector. Ashoka’s vision is to create change today, for an Everyone A Changemaker(TM) society to become the reality of tomorrow. For more information, visit www.ashoka.org.

Ashoka’s Changemakers is an online community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers.com is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and scaling ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s three decade history and vision for an Everyone a Changemaker(TM) world by creating a place where the best ideas in social innovation can be shared, refined, and funded. www.changemakers.com .

About EngenderHealth and the Maternal Health Task Force

EngenderHealth is a leading international reproductive health organization working to improve the quality of health care in the world’s poorest communities. EngenderHealth empowers people to make informed choices about contraception, trains health providers to make motherhood safer, promotes gender equity, enhances the quality of HIV and AIDS services, and advocates for positive policy change. The nonprofit organization works in partnership with governments, institutions, communities, and health care professionals in 25 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.engenderhealth.org.

The Maternal Health Task Force brings together existing maternal health initiatives and engages new organizations to facilitate global coordination of maternal health programs. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Maternal Health Task Force convenes stakeholders and creates an inclusive setting to engage in dialogue, build consensus, foster innovation, and share information. For more information, visit www.maternalhealthtaskforce.org .

    For more information please contact:

    Tyler Spalding, Ashoka
    703-600-8240, tspalding@ashoka.org

    Tim Thomas, Maternal Health Task Force/EngenderHealth
    646-436-6555, tthomas@engenderhealth.org


Source: newswire

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