Omidyar Network and Changemakers Launch Competition to Unleash Impact through Property Rights

August 18, 2010, WASHINGTON DC and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Omidyar Network and Ashoka’s Changemakers announced today they are launching an online competition to find the world’s top leaders working to increase secure access to property rights. The Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All challenge will recognize solutions that create economic and social opportunity through secure rights to land. 

The global competition is geared towards entries that demonstrate a range of approaches, especially those that work to provide land to the landless; help to formalize and document property rights for individuals or communities who lack established rights; or work on legal education to help people understand and benefit from the laws that protect these assets. Entries will be accepted until November 3, 2010.

“Secure property rights can provide people with life-altering benefits—economic opportunity, enhanced identity, and personal dignity,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network. “Practitioners are leading groundbreaking initiatives in the field; the competition provides on online platform to connect these innovators, encourage dialogue and action, and catalyze a larger movement in property rights.”

Three winners will be selected and each will receive a prize of US $50,000. Top entries will be determined by public voting via the Changemakers website; finalists will move on to be evaluated by an expert panel. Bannick will serve as the presiding judge and is joined by Hernando de Soto, renowned economist and President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy; Tim Hanstad, land policy expert and CEO of the Rural Development Institute; Elinor Ostrom, political scientist and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for analysis of governance and the commons; Dr. Amrita Patel, the Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board of India and founder and chairwoman of the Foundation for Ecological Security; and Matthew Bishop, US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist.

The Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All competition is open to a diversity of changemakers who are increasing access to property rights for individuals or communities, in rural or urban areas, and through for-profit or non-profit innovation. Winners could include technology providers, policy advocates, microfinance lenders, women’s rights advocates, and other entrepreneurs with leading edge ideas.

“The Changemakers open-source model has surfaced some of the most innovative, effective solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges," said Sushmita Ghosh, President Emerita of Ashoka. "We are thrilled to partner with Omidyar Network to support an emergent  global community and accelerate greater impact in the field of property rights.”

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $353 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, consumer Internet, mobile and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, visit

About Ashoka’s Changemakers
Ashoka’s Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other.  Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s three decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.