What problem are you trying to solve?
We work with the most poor people of the Dagomba tribe in Ghana, Northern Region. It is very expensive and very unhealthy to be poor. And because people are poor they cannot afford a healthy life. It is a dilemma that can’t be solved without consequences for Westerners, without questioning our construct of reality, society and economy. But do we want to? If you are hungry today, you can’t be concerned about tomorrow. This is a perfect construct for business and dependency. It makes Westeners feel good about themselves and it makes good money. I do not say we, Westerners, are cause of the problem, but we are most certainly part of the problem. And it is exactly that we do not want to acknowledge; not on a systemic level, not in economy terms, not in governance and most certainly not on a personal level. Meanwhile our brothers and sisters in Ghana are suffering, poverty is increasing. We are breaking that circle, creating conditions for a better life, In Africa and in Europe.
Describe your solution to this problem
Instead of helping local traditional Africans to make progress, as Leap into Life we are creating life conditions for them to grow in a natural, sustainable way. Our approach comes from a holistic worldview and we work with what is there and with what people are familiar with. Instead of trying to ‘lift’ people in developing countries to our level of development, we are focusing on ‘fit’ with the life conditions there. We work with the principle of emergence, natural growth. We create circumstances for entrepreneurship in alignment with the tradition of sharing. More concrete we work with women in traditional handcraft of Sheabutter and we work with farmers in organic farming. We add value to people’s life and add value to Dagomba tradition by creating economic value with practices they are familiar with. We preserve tradition by creating an model for economy that enables traditional people, to grow food, income and to build a future upon Dagomba tradition.
Why are you going to win the Spindle Award for Best Innovation?
Because what we are doing is sustainable, with high impact and very much needed. Because our story is far beyond imagination, though we are working on a small scale. Because our story real, honest and genuine; we translate hope into opportunities and new practices. Because what we do is relevant at a much larger scale than we are active now.