Social Innovation

From AI to peace, meet the finalists of the Schwab Foundation 2024 Social Innovation Awards

Social innovators are working all around the world to improve the lives of others, in projects ranging from climate and health to education, Artificial Intelligence and more.

Social innovators are working all around the world to improve the lives of others, in projects ranging from climate and health to education, Artificial Intelligence and more. Image: Tibu Africa/Amine Zariat

Sophia Otoo
Selections, Community, and Impact Specialist, World Economic Forum
Maria Inés Martin
Selections, Community and Impact Lead, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
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Social Innovation

  • Every year, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship identifies the most inspiring social innovators across the world.
  • We are proud to present the 25 finalist organizations for the 2024 Social Innovation Awards.
  • The Schwab Foundation is committed to standing by social innovators showing the world that their transformational change is a reality.

This has been a momentous year for the social innovation movement. Perhaps most notably, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first-ever resolution recognizing the contribution of the social economy towards sustainable development.

Social innovators the world over are building trust through systemic solutions to the many challenges facing the world today. They positively impact our economic systems, societies and the environment.

For 25 years, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has been at the forefront of bringing together the world’s leading social innovators across diverse sectors and geographical boundaries. Each year, through a rigorous selection process, the Schwab Foundation receives a plethora of nominations for the annual Social Innovation Awards, highlighting exceptional Social Innovators bringing about meaningful change in the world.

Drawn from 18 different countries, the finalists of the 2024 Schwab Foundation Social Innovation Awards are working in some of the most challenging and underserved regions. They are collectively impacting, according to aggregated data reported by the organizations, 80 million lives around the world, tackling critical social issues ranging from justice, economic mobility and youth empowerment to healthcare and clean energy. They are showcasing through their systemic approaches that change towards a better future is not only possible — it is already underway.

Below are some of the innovative ways by which the finalists are creating transformative change.

Building a sustainable culture of peace

Fundación Mi Sangre activates ecosystems and develops capacities to empower a new generation to step up as protagonists in building a culture of peace in Colombia. The foundation's systemic approach acts on multiple levels, from the individual transformation of children and young people at risk to a communal and societal shift spearheaded by young people. The end goal is a systemic transformation through educational networks and ecosystem mobilization that encourages collaborations for peacebuilding. Its model harnesses the power of arts and dialogue through public campaigns, events, and training programs to evolve mindsets and behaviors.

social innovations Fundacion Mi Sangre in Colombia
Image: Fundacion Mi Sangre

In India, addressing the diverse needs of over 370 million young people is critical both for the country’s growth and for global sustainable development goals. Recognizing the pressing issue of youth vulnerability, The Dasra Adolescents Collaborative, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, focuses on strengthening public health and welfare systems for adolescents and youth through participatory processes. Their approach revolves around three core principles: involving young people in developing solutions tailored for them, creating streamlined solution guidelines and securing long-term, flexible funding from private philanthropy to support NGOs addressing adolescent needs.

Harnessing the transformative power of AI

In Croatia, AGRIVI is harnessing the power of technology to tackle food insecurity, climate change and food safety and to support small-scale farmers. They've developed an extensive farm management platform widely used by agri-food companies, including Fortune 500 companies, and thousands of farmers in over 100 countries. The platform provides real-time agronomic insights, aids in decision-making, helps with field operations, promotes precision agriculture, analyzes crop production's productivity and profitability and ensures compliance with food safety standards. AGRIVI's strategy involves shifting traditional farming practices towards data-driven decision-making, leveraging technology to empower farmers with best practices and insights for tackling global food challenges.

BarefootLaw in Uganda uses technology to democratize access to justice and to ensure the most marginalized people can access their legal rights. In a remote village where legal advice and support were once distant dream, today, with BarefootLaw, a person with nothing but a smartphone, can access legal counsel with ease. BarefootLaw's has reached over 900,000 marginalized individuals to date.

BarefootLaw Uganda social innovators
Image: Barefoot Law

Putting people and the planet first

In Mexico’s coastal communities, the SmartFish Group is making sustainable seafood a way of life. SmartFish works closely with artisanal fishing cooperatives to optimize their practices and empower communities. Their transparent approach ensures that fishers earn more and retain a substantial percentage of the final sale price, while offering traceable and safe seafood products to the market. SmartFish's approach isn't just about fishing; it's about creating a ripple effect of positive change for the environment and those who depend on it.

Taking a community-centric approach to development

Nyaka in South-west Uganda provides community-based solutions to address the needs of orphans, and surrounds each child with a comprehensive support system, comprised of interrelated programmes developed and led by the community. These include programmes for education, for health and for sexual- and gender-based violence as well as a programme for grandmothers). Nyaka’s effort have progressively transformed care for orphans from the traditional orphanage model to a sustainable community-based mechanism.

social innovation award Nyaka South-west Uganda
Image: Nyaka

Discover and learn more about all the finalists below. The winners of the 2024 Social Innovation Awards will be unveiled during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2024, celebrating their exceptional contributions to a more equitable and sustainable world.

Each of these finalists, with their innovative and impactful work, serve as an inspiring testament to the transformative power of social innovation and the global pursuit of positive change.

Meet the 2024 Schwab Foundation Social Innovation Awards finalists

Social Entrepreneurs

In partnership with the World Economic Forum, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a leading global platform that convenes a pioneering community of changemakers advancing the field of social innovation towards more systemic change.

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