2014 Winner: Breakthrough

Primary Area of Impact: Gender Equality
Geographic Areas Served: North America, South Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Europe
Year Founded: 1999
Website: us.breakthrough.tv


Breakthrough harnesses the power of culture, media, and technology to rally individuals, communities, and organizations to stand for human rights. Breakthrough’s campaigns and accompanying videos, games/apps, community theater, workshops, and use of the latest media forms have inspired hundreds of millions to rethink and take action around violence against women, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, immigrant rights, and racial justice. In short, to advance human rights, Breakthrough seeks to transform culture itself.

Social Challenge

Breakthrough sees a world where no one is oppressed or marginalized; individuals and communities are able to participate fully in the processes and policies that impact their lives; diversity, plurality, and human rights of all individuals and communities are respected – and human rights exist in every home, heart, community, and nation.


Bell Bajao!, a cultural media strategy campaign launched in India in 2008, has won several awards. The campaign called for men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. Bell Bajao! reached 135 million Indians and registered real changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors around violence against women, including:

  • 15% more women seeking help in escaping violence
  • 10% increase in community action to stop violence against women
  • Bell Bajao! video vans traveled 25,000 km reaching more than 7.5 million people
  • 1 million + visits to BellBajao.org
  • The public awareness Ring the Bell Campaign took place on March 8, 2013 in Brazil, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sweden and the United States. Celebrities such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Michael Bolton, Son McPherson, Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel urged men to join them in promising to combat all forms of violence against women. Strategies surrounding the campaign yielded:
    • nearly 43 million impressions via Twitter (and trended nationally in the U.S.)
    • nearly 300,000 Facebook impressions
    • coverage in/on Asian Age, BBC, CBS, CNN, The New York Times, Reuters, Sunday Times (South Africa), Yahoo, and numerous other outlets.
    • nearly 10,000 promises spanning 152 countries
  • Breakthrough pioneered gaming for social justice by introducing I Can End Deportation (ICED) in 2008. ICED was the first 3D social justice game on the Internet. ICED is followed by Homeland Guatanamos and America 2049 and:
    • together, these games have engaged more than 235,000 players
    • an independent evaulation of America 2049 documented willingness of 86% of those surveyed to become active around an issue encountered in the game