Social Entrepreneur from Kenya Wins Prestigious Global Fellowship

April 18, 2011

NAIROBI, KENYA - James Nguo of Nairobi, Kenya has been selected by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public as a member of its global fellowship of leading social entrepreneurs.  At an upcoming gathering scheduled for May 2011, Ashoka will be formally recognizing Nguo for his many years of work innovating in the field of rural development.

James Nguo is being recognized by Ashoka for his entrepreneurial leadership of the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and its network of information centers spread across East Africa.  Through ALIN and these information hubs – called Maarifa Centers – Nguo is providing an integrated solution to improving the quality of life in rural East Africa.  The Maarifa Centers increase access to agro-information by farmers, create employment for rural youth, increase the capacity of extension workers in supporting farmers, host ICT skills trainings for farmers, and serve as a platform for learning and knowledge capture.  The Centers are funded through innovative private partnerships and diverse revenue streams, from offering ICT classes to hosting M-Pesa kiosks.  This makes the financially sustainable Centers a highly replicable solution in remote, resource-poor parts of rural East Africa.  More information on ALIN is available at

Salim Mohamed, Ashoka’s Representative for East Africa, said, “We are very encouraged by James Nguo’s innovative model and we believe that this idea, in James’ hands, is really going to spread throughout East Africa. I think this is particularly encouraging for the rural communities that are currently cut off from the rest of the country.”

James Nguo now joins 43 other Fellows from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda elected since 2001 and more than 2,700 Ashoka Fellows globally.  

About Ashoka

Ashoka is the world's leading network of social entrepreneurs – extraordinary changemakers, who find new solutions to social problems; like Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microfinance sector. Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka supports social entrepreneurs with stipends, professional support, and/or access to its large network of global peers. Ashoka has to date elected and supported more than 2,700 social entrepreneurs in 70 countries. For more information, please visit 

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