Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
The meaning of Sankofa was one of the main inspirations in starting the Baakoye Foundation. The Foundation was created to honor the memory of Mrs. Mary Peprah. Mrs. Peprah was a dynamic and generous woman who wanted to establish libraries and also health centers in rural parts of Ghana. She worked as a nurse for her entire professional career. Her work allowed her to come into contact with the needs of communities both in Africa and the USA. She recognized the needs of communities and contributed to educating and providing healthcare and comfort to them. The Baakoye Foundation is dedicated to carrying on the vision that she ignited by providing opportunities for communities to help their children learn and become healthy individuals. Baakoye Foundation’s mission is attributed to her vision.
Baakoye (bak-oo-ye) in the Ghanian language Twi means unity and togetherness is good. This meaning recognizes the help each of us has needed from someone other than ourselves to grow and progress through life. Baakoye is best exemplified at the community level by symbolizing the strength and accomplishments which are possible when individuals come together. Bakooye Foundation finds grassroots organizations that exemplify this unity and provides support for their activities. We partner with successful community-based organizations to amplify the impact of their ongoing work. We believe that we can accomplish our goals for the greater good together than individually.
Baakoye is entwined with the concept of Sankofa. An Akan proverb states: “Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a, yenkyi” or “There is nothing wrong with learning from hindsight.” In English Sankofa is typically translated as translates in English to "go back and get it" (san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to look, to seek and take).
The Akan symbol for Sankofa is represented either by the image of the heart or mythological bird with its head bent looking backward with and open mouth. Sankofa represents the Akan idea that our past can help to guide our future and also, if a mistake has been made or something is forgotten, one can return and correct the mistake or right the wrong and learn from experience the experience.
Baakoye Foundation is linked with the Akan symbol proverb in so much as it demonstrates the essence of working together is collective reflection and problem solving. The community-based organizations of the Baakoye Foundation continuously learn and improve through their commitment to collective reflection and problem solving. We value this process as the best indicator of their current and future success.
Baakoye aims to:
1. Empower communities to work together for their own progress
2. Foster local decision making informed by collective analysis and problem solving
3. Champion education and health care for communities
4. Champion grass-roots, community based organizations making local impact
A Bit of Background
THE BAAKOYE FOUNDATION AT A GLANCE
Ghana is classified as a low to middle resource country within west Africa. In recent years, the stable democratic government as allowed for increased improvements in health and education. However, many rural communities have not benefitted from national progress. However, many communities and children do not have access to books and a good quality of education which causes the literate to fluctuate from 85% or greater in Accra to 15% or less in many rural areas. This results in the vulnerability of communities to forced labor in industries such as mining, fishing and even indentured servitude to extended family.
We know that these problems are best addressed when communities take ownership of their progress and the progress of their children. Ghana’s incredibly rich tradition of community level governance through various levels of chiefs, will be essential in identifying and promoting grassroots level progress. Baakoye, also focuses on other countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and is open to nominations of activities within other SSA countries.