Social entrepreneur alum elected as a Senior Ashoka Fellow

York University alumnus Farouk Jiwa (MES ’03), an adviser with the humanitarian organization CARE USA, has been elected a Senior Ashoka Fellow, a lifetime honour awarded by Ashoka, a global organization of social entrepreneurs. The Ashoka distinction, to be bestowed on Jan. 14, 2010, recognizes Jiwa’s work integrating market-driven business processes with community-based development approaches to create a secure and sustainable means of improving the livelihoods of rural farmers in the apiculture sector.

The organization is comprised of men and women with system-changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. Senior Ashoka Fellows are advanced Fellows who have created change and are recognized as leaders in their fields.

"I am both deeply humbled and honoured by this recognition in particular because Ashoka is considered to be the pre-eminent global organization in the field of social enterprise," said Jiwa. "It is an important validation of the work I have done so far.

"This honour will give me impetus to continue developing innovative and effective market-driven community development approaches through my work at CARE that will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of poor households," he said.

photo of Farouk JiwaJiwa holds a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and a Graduate Diploma in Business & Environment from the Schulich School of Business.

Right: Farouk Jiwa

While a graduate student at York University, Jiwa co-founded Honey Care Africa, a community-based beekeeping enterprise in East Africa, which has doubled the income of small farmers by training them in commercial beekeeping and buying their honey at a guaranteed price. Today, Honey Care Africa works with more than 12,000 rural households in East Africa to promote sustainable community-based beekeeping. Over 40 per cent of the beekeepers the organization supports are women.

In 2005, Jiwa joined the international humanitarian organization CARE as its director of CARE Enterprise Partners, a social venture fund of CARE Canada that seeks lasting solutions to poverty through market-based approaches designed to unleash entrepreneurship in emerging economies. He also served as the technical adviser for Economic Development in CARE Canada’s Strategic Programs team.

In September 2008, he accepted a position with CARE USA as the senior regional technical adviser for economic development. In this role, Jiwa provides technical assistance and program quality support to a number of economic and value chain development projects being implemented by CARE in Eastern and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. Some of these projects include: the Strengthening Dairy Value Chain Project, which supports 35,000 rural households in Bangladesh to increase their dairy-related income; the Agro Dealer Development Project, which works to improve access to seeds and agricultural inputs for 91,000 farming households in Zambia; and the Enhanced Livelihoods in the Mandera Triangle Project that is helping to create viable livelihood diversification options for pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa.

In 2005, Jiwa was awarded a Bryden Alumni Award by the York University Alumni Association. He was also featured on the cover of  the Summer 2008 issue of YorkU magazine. He has been awarded numerous  prestigious international awards: the Equator Initiative Prize, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, for his contribution to poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation; the International Development Marketplace Innovation Award, from the World Bank and George Soros Open Societies Institute; and the World Business Award, for his contribution to UN Millennium Development Goals. He was also recognized at the 2005 World Economic Forum in Davos as among the World’s Most Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs.

"Farouk brings to our global fellowship a demonstrated ability to come up with solutions for small producers, a deep understanding of the local context, and the proven ability to add value and improve lives thousands of people through honey production," said Bill Carter, founding board member of Ashoka and director of the organization’s Africa Diamond Program. "We look forward to his strategic advice and expert counsel in working with small producers."

Visit the Ashoka Canada Web site to learn more about the organization’s fellowship program.