Equal Access International was founded in 2000 to empower underserved communities across the developing world with life-changing information and education. In designing Equal Access’ approach to social change, Ronni Goldfarb, founder and CEO, drew on two seemingly contrasting professional experiences: 15 years as a media professional and executive producer designing and implementing mass media communications programs for Fortune 500 corporations and United Nations Agencies; and her earlier work in non-formal education with disadvantaged youth through the practice of humanistic education.
Working in the world of strategic multi-media communications, Ronni gained an appreciation for the broad power of media to launch new ideas, shape beliefs and catalyze change at scale. At the other end of the spectrum, working in groups with at-risk youth, she experienced the importance of listening and dialogue for building self-esteem and inspiring young people to improve their lives.
Ronni blended these experiences to develop Equal Access’ unique approach to social change by combining the power of innovative media programming with the interpersonal impact of direct community mobilization through discussion groups and leadership trainings.
In 2001, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and UNDP, Equal Access developed a regional project to address HIV/AIDS prevention and women’s and girls’ empowerment in four Asian countries. The first pilot launched in Nepal in 2003, reaching 200 rural communities and 5,000 people. Since then, Equal Access has grown exponentially primarily in least developed countries. Today, Equal Access has created large scale programs in Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia, India and Laos with a broadcast reach to 40 million, and is in the process of launching national scale programs in Chad and Niger.
The history of Equal Access founding is not complete without acknowledging Michael Bosse, who joined Equal Access as Director of Programs in 2000 and has worked closely with Ronni from that day forward with exceptional dedication to build the organization and increase its impact. A special acknowledgement also belongs to technology entrepreneurs Leslie Danziger and Joel Goldblatt who helped to develop and support the vision of Equal Access early on and to Benjamin Brown, senior development advisor, whose expertise shaped our basic methodology.
The vision and mission of Equal Access continues to expand and create itself anew because of the dedication, commitment and generosity of every team member, supporter and beneficiary.