Localiser Programme

The Localiser Programme


The Localiser programme’s vision is to identify the most pressing social and environmental issues affecting the UK and attract the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to come tackle them. The programme aims to support International Ashoka Fellows bring their idea to the UK, each with system-changing solutions that will add huge value to UK society.

Ashoka support: 

Ashoka works as a network broker and defines the highest potential opportunities for the social entrepreneur. The intended result is to make the transition into the UK easier, quicker and smoother for the Fellow so that greater social and systematic change can happen sooner.

We believe the three critical supports and incentives for success include:

  • An appropriate strategy: We strategically facilitate the sourcing, development and implementation of the project.
  • An excellent local leader: We help with recruitment and connect the Fellow with our partners.
  • Financial sustainability: In addition to sharing funding opportunities, we provide advice on legal registration, communication and financial services through local partners.  

Existing Localised examples:

Ashoka was influential in helping our Fellow Luke Dowdney brought his Brazilian Luta Pela Paz project to the UK in 2007. Fight for Peace helps youngsters in the UK stay out of organized crime through a program that teaches martial arts along with life skills. He is now leading an international network of organizations working to end children’s participation in gangs and other organised violence.

Ashoka has recently been supporting the work of Fellow Mary Gordon, bringing her Canadian project to the UK. A former kindergarten teacher, Mary started Roots of Empathy in Canada to reduce childhood aggression by teaching students emotional literacy and fostering the development of empathy. Her programme, which brings a parent and infant into a classroom setting, has reached more than 325,000 worldwide. Roots of Empathy, with the help of Ashoka, expanded to Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United States, Scotland & England, and currently operates in 2,200 classrooms across these countries.

We have also been working with our Danish Fellow Thorkil Soone who started Specilalisterne. Thorkil changes the way society perceives autism by transforming it from a handicap to a competitive advantage. His Specialist People Foundation employs autistic people, who have a ten times lower fault rate in software testing and other tasks. With fantastic success in Denmark, Thorkil brought his project to the several countries, including UK.


How to join the Localiser?

Ashoka Fellows may be nominated to come to the UK, or may apply themselves if they see a compelling case for setting up their ventures in the UK. Nominations for inclusion in the UK are accepted from across the global Ashoka Fellowship, based on the UK’s demand for innovative solutions addressing social challenges (e.g. education, child welfare, health, environmental issues). Any Fellow interested in participating in the Localiser programme must pass Ashoka’s rigorous selection process, designed to ensure that only the highest-quality and relevant solutions are introduced to the UK for possible adoption and support.


For more information on the Localiser Programme, contact Rob Wilson on robwilson@ashoka.org