7 Award-Winning Organizations Driving Social Change Throughout The World

This year’s winners of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship are making an inspiring impact.

7 Award-Winning Organizations Driving Social Change Throughout The World
[Painting by Paul Corio]

Every year, the Skoll Foundation announces the winners of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, a $1.25 million prize for social entrepreneurs to scale up their impact. This year’s winners aren’t huge social impact organizations from years past–they are all relatively fresh, but established enough to have gained traction (at least one, Global Witness, has been around for two decades). They represent a wide variety of social issues, from health to education to government transparency, and all are worth a glance for their inspiring work.


Girls Not Brides

Girls Not Brides is a worldwide partnership of over 300 organizations in 50 countries, all working to end child marriage within a generation. With 13.5 million girls married off as child brides in 2010, this is a pretty ambitious goal, but one that the organization thinks it can meet through education, economic incentives, laws, grassroots support from men, and local activism. Participating organizations include Human Rights Watch, Pathfinder International, and World Vision.

Global Witness

Natural resources breed corruption. Global Witness scrutinizes the shadiest of the corrupt natural resource deals in the developing world, which often lead to catastrophic environmental consequences and human conflict. The Global Witness website is a goldmine of information about natural-resource-related corruption, for both journalists and the general public.

Fundacion Capital

This organization aims to reach the 2.5 billion people in the world who are “unbanked,” meaning they have little access to financial services. By 2030, the group hopes to reach 100 million families on three continents, helping them handle their money wisely and climb out of poverty.

B Lab

We’ve written about B Lab–a nonprofit that offers certification to companies that meet certain social, environmental, and financial standards–
a number of time (see here, here, and here). B Lab has certified almost 1,000 companies and helped push forward benefit corporation legislation in a number of states. So far, 20 states have passed legislation, with many more set to do the same in the near future.

Medic Mobile

Medic Mobile builds health-related mobile apps for patients, caregivers, and health workers in places that don’t always have cell phone signals. Apps include Kujua Lite, a web-based app for sending and receiving forms so health workers can, for example, log community data, and MuvukuSIm Applications, a platform that allows health workers to load data collection forms on their SIM card.


Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor

Instead of forcing the world’s poor to rely on charity for sanitation services, this organization generates commercially viable ways to bring bring both sanitation and clean water to slum-dwellers. So far, the organization has reached almost 2 million people in six countries.

Slum Dwellers International

SDI is a network of organizations serving slum dwellers in 33 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Founded in part by a group of slum dwellers, the group has helped launch women’s savings and loan groups, secure land rights, and more.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more