The annual awards provide unrestricted funding to social entrepreneurs and organizations that are driving large-scale social change and are poised to have an even greater impact on some of the world's most pressing problems. The four awardees will each receive $1.25 million in core support to scale their work and increase their impact and will participate in a global community of a hundred visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving some of the biggest global challenges.
Announced ahead of the fourteenth annual Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, this year's awardees are Kola Masha, managing director of Babban Gona (Lagos, Nigeria), a social enterprise serving networks of smallholder farmers with a model specifically designed to engage Nigerian youth; Elizabeth Hausler, founder and CEO of Build Change (Denver, Colorado), which enlists and teaches homeowners, local builders, engineers, and government officials how to construct and retrofit disaster-resistant houses and schools in developing nations that are vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons; Rajesh Panjabi, co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health (Boston, Massachusetts), which works to mobilize healthcare workers to make field visits to remote communities in Liberia; and Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that leverages data collection and collaboration to prevent and address human trafficking, support victims, and raise awareness through campaigns that target specific industries.
"Social entrepreneurs share several important characteristics: concern for the vulnerable, optimism about our future, an ability to think and do, and most importantly, an unfailing belief in solutions," said Jeff Skoll, founder and chair of the Skoll Foundation. "These four remarkable people give us great hope that a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future is within reach."
"This year's awardees are social entrepreneurs who deeply understand that human dignity depends on the security that comes from knowing fundamental needs are met: health, food, shelter, and safety," said Skoll Foundation president and CEO Sally Osberg. "Only when those needs are fulfilled can all people achieve their full potential."