Africana's Village of Peace Project is seeking to raise funds to create a self sustainable Pan African eco village to promote west African history and culture through drum, dance and the arts.
Africana's Village of Peace Project - What is the project about?
Africana Village of Peace Project ("AVOPP" or "the Project") is nestled in the scenic river town of Old Akrade and is a boat ride away from the town's shore.
Image: View from our side of the river
The brain child and vision of our late founder Mr. Mawutor Akpobi, the objective of the Project is to create a self sustainable Pan African village, a prototype movement into the future without compromising the beautiful African lifestyle. Our home away from home and a place where we can truly connect to our roots, our eco village works with nature to preserve our history, culture and connection to the land through drum, dance and the arts.
Image: Africana Dance Ensemble at a performance in Accra
Image: Africana Dance Ensemble welcoming a group from New Zealand with traditional drum and dance
In the last few years, we have worked hard to clear the land, planting many crops and trees and are now working towards setting up riverside camping, farming (fruit and veges, quail and animal), cultural drum and dance workshops and retreats and art & craft workshops, among other things. We will eventually look to open up the land to volunteers and people wanting to gain some outdoor leadership experience. Our group is also currently reaching out to local schools within the Old Akrade community to teach cultural drum and dance to their students as a way of preserving our Ghanaian culture.
The village will thus be home and also provide livelihood to many talented artists and tradesmen skilled at various forms of African culture and art like drum making, wood carving, bead making, weaving, painting, patch cloth and shoe making, etc.
Image: Kalabash painting by the riverside
How did AVOPP come about?
AVOPP was Mr. Akpobi's dream, but after he passed in 2012, its execution went into limbo. Thanks to Ms. Rochelle Norwood, a close aide of Mr. Akpobi, the project idea was revived and kick-started once again in December 2016. With her help, Africana Dance Ensemble ("ADE" - read more about us below) acquired two acres of land in Old Akrade.
Our biggest challenge (as is the case with most project implementation) is funding! Capital for developing the land is one, and the bigger and more immediate challenge is cash flow for sustaining our members who are living and working hard with available local resources purchased with the help of small donations from some of the earning members of our group and our well wishers! (A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL!!!)
The land is now being cleared for building additional rooms, toilets and showers, a performance space for conducting dance, drum and art workshops, with future plans for creating innovative outdoor play spaces like a jungle gym, an obstacle adventure course and a tree house.
What have we accomplished so far?
Construction work - Thanks to the ongoing contributions from our group, and the support and donations from friends and visiting tourists, we have now completed construction of:
- one mud hut
- an outdoor kitchen
- a storage shed
- walls for our toilet house
- a metal frame for our water tank with showers to be built underneath it
- various seating and lookout's
Image (l-r): Open kitchen, mud house, showers and toilets
Image: Boys hard at work building a lookout seat by the river
Image: Setting up of the metal frame for the poly tank and showers
Farming front - Overgrown, wild and unkempt aptly describe what the land was when we first got there. Today, the land is being used for growing various fruit and veges like paw-paw, coconut, banana, okro (ladyfingers), pineapple, plantain, cassava, lemongrass, palm and other such tropicals. We aspire to start fish and quail farming on the land asap as a means of providing employment to those living on the land as we work to further develop it.
Image: Our food garden
Daily living - In addition to the mud hut which is sturdy and inhabitable, we have tents, and other camping equipment like cooking utensils, life jackets and a water filter, all of which have been donated to us by foreign tourists. We have also built a boat (in pic above) which is our main transport, as the only access to our land is by river.
We're fortunate to have a very talented bunch of tradesmen - carpenters, plumbers, builders, electricians, landscapers, sailors, cooks and artists among us with it's management being led under the able guidance and leadership of the young and talented duo - Abdul Aziz Mohammed and Kingdom Kyipo (supported by other members of ADE and friends). Further development of the land is in excellent hands as such, but we cannot do this without the support of funds and donations, and so we're appealing to the larger world community to help us realise our dream!
Ways you can help
You may sponsor any one or more of the individual requirements from the list below, depending on what aspect of our Project you are passionate about (eg. - if sustainability is your thing, you could provide sponsorship for the proposed biogas toilets, or the incubator for quail farming if farming is more your thing!).
- Monetary donations (one-off's or recurrent)
You may donate small (or large, if you prefer) amounts which will go towards our daily living costs and purchasing essential materials and equipment like brick and cement, bathroom fittings, etc. We will update this page constantly to let you know how we are using your donations.
- Material donations
Send us used / second-hand products like camping tents, solar lights, etc. to use at the village (our major requirements are listed below).
- Help spread the word
We understand monetary donations might not be everyone's cup of tea, and we are respectful of it. What's amazing is you can still help us by getting the word out amongst your folks! We appreciate any help on this front.
Here's a list of our major upcoming expenses and requirements, and all prices are in USD. We have highlighted the items we have already received sponsorship and funding for.
|Description||Amount (in USD)||Status|
|6 month living cost
4x people @60GHS (USD 11) per person per week:
|Toilets, Showers & Plumbing|
Poly tank stand and framing
2x Plastic barrel sink tops
Piping (From poly tank to toilets and showers)
Toilet and bathroom fittings
Roof material for toilets
2x Showers (Bath house with concrete floor and rock/glass/mud cubicles)
|Outdoor fire / cook-top
Utensils (made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo / mud / coconut)
Storage for grains and other food essentials
|Tools (shovels, buckets, rakes, nails, hammers, ropes, etc. for clearing overgrown land by hand)
|Outdoor and activities
Outboard motor for boat
Outdoor oven (for making glass beads, baking bread, etc.)
Incubator for quail farming
|Lighting and electric supply
Solar power supply
|Miscellaneous building materials||$200|
|Other things we require (used / second-hand):
|- Camping tents
- Torches and batteries
- Outdoor seating (eg. folding chairs)
- Utensils (we invite eco-friendly products as we're trying to go plastic-free)
- Mosquito nets
- Solar lights
|TOTAL (approx)||USD 7,000 (rounded up)
Our project is already underway, making it necessary for us to start raising funds ASAP, and we would appreciate any support you can give us :) We're a friendly bunch, have open hearts, beautiful smiles and are eager to make a difference, and invite you to be part of this novel initiative.
Who will benefit?
The village is already home to a few living on the land, and with time, we hope the village will provide additional employment to many more locals and volunteer opportunities to people from around the world.
We have become friends and allies with the king of the village and the assemblyman of Senchi, and will be teaching children essential life-skills like swimming (in the river, yes!), rowing, cooking, pitching tents, etc., and of course - traditional African drum and dance - as soon as we can make available all basic amenities :)
What's in it for you?
An amazing forever home in the wilderness of Ghana, Africa. You can come visit and live with us, any time of the year, and be sure of the most wonderful hospitality as you experience traditional drumming and dancing of Africana, infused with our heart and soul, and our devout passion for our culture and art.
If living with the locals is more your thing, you can come volunteer your time here to help us grow our operation, and learn local art, dancing, drumming, farming, and lots more!
Either way, get ready to be amazed as you understand the glue that keeps us all alive.
About ADE - Who we are
We are AFRICANA DANCE ENSEMBLE ("ADE") - a collaboration of drummers and dancers, artists and tradesmen, working closely with each other and the community to preserve the cultural heritage of Ghana in West Africa. The Community Youth Cultural Centre ("CYCC") in Accra is our home, and we travel for cultural performances within the country often, and have had the awesome opportunity to travel international on a couple of occasions too! We have also attracted artists from around the world to our beautiful land to work with us.
28 years together now, we have at least three generations of drummers and dancers performing together at any given time, from four year old's to forty-four year olds! A lot of us work with schools, colleges, universities and local communities in our individual capacities, teaching the younger generations what might otherwise have been long forgotten!
If you haven't already guessed, we LOVE what we do, and invite you to check us out on Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/TheAfricanaDanceEnsemble/
Who knows, you might be inspired to come visit us ;)
How ADE came about
A community-focused sole proprietor organization initiated by the late Mr. Mawutor Akpobi whose vision was to create opportunities for local artists to gain a deeper understanding of their historical background and culture, Mr. Akpobi started Africana as a cultural group to learn about the traditional arts and use these teachings to develop a program that would serve as an initial point of positive change.
It is not fancy houses, fancy things, fancy cars, fancy food, or fancy clothes… We strive for connection, community, unity, family, respect, and universal love. These are all emotions that Africana has carried for generations; and at Africana village of peace, we are helping create a home together that can carry what already exists within to the world.