Omidyar Network & Ashoka’s Changemakers Announce Semi-Finalists in Property Rights Challenge

Washington DC and Redwood City, CA, December 8, 2010—Omidyar Network and Ashoka’s Changemakers today announced the semi-finalists in the competition: Property Rights: Identity, Dignity & Opportunity for All. 19 semi-finalists from 9 countries have been selected for their efforts to improve the lives of the poor and transform communities through secure rights to land.

The Property Rights competition drew a total of 211 of entries from 47 different countries. The 19 semi-finalists demonstrate innovative approaches that help to provide land to the landless, 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.

“The Property Rights competition has brought forth groundbreaking ideas from all over the world—all which have the potential to create economic and social impact through secure property rights,” said Diana Wells, President of Ashoka. “Ashoka’s Changemakers is honored to work with Omidyar Network to advance the work of these entrepreneurs.”

From today until January 12, 2011, the Changemakers online community will vote for their preferred semi-finalists. The finalists will then be evaluated by a distinguished panel of judges, including Dr. Hernando de Soto, economist and President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy; Tim Hanstad, CEO of the Rural Development Institute; Prof. Elinor Ostrom, political scientist and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics; 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. Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network, will serve as the presiding judge of the competition. Ashoka’s Chief Entrepreneur, Valeria Budinich, will serve as the judging panel facilitator.

The three winners of the Property Rights competition will be announced on February 23, 2011. Each winner will receive a cash prize of USD $50,000 to further their impact.

“Omidyar Network believes that secure rights to land are fundamental to improving lives, strengthening communities, and accelerating large-scale social impact in emerging markets,” said Matt Bannick. “The competition has surfaced a group of talented, forward-thinking practitioners in the sector. We encourage others to vote, exchange ideas, and join a growing community of leaders working to create change through 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 $371 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, consumer Internet, mobile technology and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please 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.