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Skoll Foundation Announces 2015 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At the 12th Annual Skoll World Forum (http://skollworldforum.org/) this week, the Skoll Foundation today announced the four recipients of the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders who are disrupting the status quo, driving large-scale change, and are poised to make an even greater impact on the world.

"Social entrepreneurs dare to change the world," said Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation. "Within every social entrepreneur is an unwavering belief that big, seemingly intractable problems offer unsurpassed opportunities. By instigating seismic change in our society where it is desperately needed—in the education of girls and the protection of resources like our air, oceans, and public lands—these four entrepreneurs are giving us good reason to believe in a radically better future."

The Skoll Award recognizes social entrepreneurs whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world's most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale. By investing in organizations when an innovation is ripe for accelerated and scaled adoption, the Skoll Awards help unleash the full global potential and reach of social entrepreneurs.

Each Awardee receives a $1.25 million, three-year core support investment to scale their work and increase their impact. They also gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems.
"Our 2015 Skoll Award recipients are rare individuals who don't just see that something is amiss in the world," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "They are stepping forward to stand for an end to inequality, violence and injustice, and for an end to overexploitation and poisoning of the Earth's resources. They're navigating new territory—fashioning new channels and new expectations of leaders from the private and public sectors alike."

This year's four Awardees are social entrepreneurs developing new solutions to help preserve the world's most precious resources by building sustainable coastal communities; expanding transparency to fight pollution; investing in the promise of girls; and securing a better future for the rural poor.

Watch these remarkable social entrepreneurs accept their awards at the Skoll World Forum's Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 5:30-7:00 PM (GMT + 1), LIVE at http://skollworldforum.org/live/.

* Alasdair Harris *

Blue Ventures

Building sustainable coastal communities

Ten years ago, in a coastal village in Madagascar, Alasdair Harris tested an elegantly simple model that put Blue Ventures on the map. He encouraged residents to take charge of their local fishery by cordoning off a small section of their octopus-fishing area for a designated period of time. When the area was re-opened, the community saw huge increases in their catch and incomes. Building on this success, local communities created Madagascar's first local committee to manage and conserve marine resources. Since that auspicious start, Blue Ventures has helped replicate this model along thousands of miles of coastline along the Indian Ocean. Beyond managing fisheries, Blue Ventures has integrated family planning and health services into its livelihoods and conservation work, showing the world that protecting the ocean can and should go hand-in-hand with improving lives. Learn more at www.skollfoundation.org/entrepreneur/al-harris.

* Ma Jun *

Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs

Lifting the veil on pollution

Rapid economic progress in China has come at a steep cost—severe degradation of the environment. In the past, communities had no way to track or report industrial pollution. Ma Jun addressed this gap by creating tools for people to access information about the land, air, and water around them using existing government data. The result has been increased public participation in environmental governance, resulting in nearly 2,000 factories taking action to clean up their operations. The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) also promotes sustainable global supply chains by getting large corporations and multinationals like Apple, Hewlett Packard, H &M, and Gap to monitor the environmental performance of their suppliers. This innovative, encompassing approach to transparency allows people in China to play a central role in improving the health of their communities, helps people around the world make environmentally responsible consumer decisions, and helps consumers and brands make greener purchasing decisions. Learn more at www.skollfoundation.org/entrepreneur/ma-jun.

* Safeena Husain *

Educate Girls

Investing in the promise of girls

In recent years, India has enacted policies and invested in girls' education, resulting in dramatic gains in access to education. However, in many areas, community expectations and accountability for educating girls remain low—a majority of girls do not complete their primary education. Safeena Husain founded Educate Girls to ensure that girls in India's most marginalized rural communities are able to achieve their full potential. Educate Girls partners with public schools, trains local champions for girls' education, and mobilizes communities to create their own action plans to make education more accessible and accountable to girls. Since 2007, Educate Girls has grown from a 50-school pilot project into a large-scale effort reaching 1 million children in 7,500 schools. With plans to achieve even greater scale over the next few years, Educate Girls is preparing a generation of young women to enter the formal economy and help lift their families out of poverty. Learn more at www.skollfoundation.org/entrepreneur/safeena-husain.

* Jagdeesh Rao Puppala *

Foundation for Ecological Security

Securing common land ensures a better future for the rural poor
In India, many poor rural communities rely on publicly-owned lands for their food and livelihood. Yet these lands have been managed poorly, leading to degradation and exploitation. Jagdeesh Rao Puppala has long promoted the idea that the well-being of rural communities depends on the balance of social and ecological systems. The Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) helps villagers secure community rights to publicly-owned land and support regulations to manage it in a more sustainable and productive way. The result of this collaborative work has been higher quality of soil, water, and biodiversity, leading to improved agricultural productivity and economic security for the rural poor. To date, FES has secured community rights to nearly 4 million acres of land in India, providing communities a solid foundation on which to build local democracies, sustainable livelihoods and better futures. Learn more at www.skollfoundation.org/entrepreneur/jagdeesh-rao.

About the Skoll Foundation

Jeff Skoll created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, our mission is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world's most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society's change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, we empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.

About the Skoll Awards

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations are disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo and have demonstrated impact on solving some of the world's most pressing problems. The Skoll Award recognizes organizations that have the potential to scale their success and also to drive large-scale, systems change. Join the conversation on Twitter with @SkollFoundation and @SkollWorldForum and by using the hashtag #socentwatch.

CONTACT: Suzana Grego, Director of Communications Skoll Foundation, sgrego@skollfoundation.org +1 977-428-0472Source:Skoll Foundation