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On Saturday, 14th June, 2014, Mamle will facilitate a Master Class on Writing for Children. This Master Class is being organized by Mbaasem in partnership with Golden Baobab and is being funded by The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and The Royal Bank Limited.

Mamle Wolo is a writer of Ghanaian and German parentage. She was born and raised in Ghana until the age of 14 when she moved to the United Kingdom. She completed her secondary schooling there, after which she studied at the University of Cambridge, where she obtained her B.A and M.A in Modern Languages and her MPhil in Latin-American Studies. She returned to Ghana in 1992 where she has since been resident and works as an independent Ghanaian consultant working in development and specializing in the fields of Education, Gender and Child Labour.

Mamle took up fiction writing in the late 1990s and has since written numerous short stories, all of which have been published in various anthologies and journals in Africa, the UK and the US. One of these is The End of Skill which was nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009.  Mamle also won the first prize in the 2011 Burt Award for children’s writing for her story, The Kaya Girl, scooping the top prize for an unpublished manuscript.

In July this year, Mamle will be a lead facilitator of the first creative non-fiction writers workshop in Kampala, Uganda, which is being organized by The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE).

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“These are high level meetings and most of the time, there are no representations for the arts or children. It’s an economic meeting where they discuss health, security, etc. But what about issues related to the arts, authors, illustrations, children and what we are feeding their minds with?  So it was an honor to have been part of this extremely important discussion to contribute our perspectives to how we think the future of Africa should be shaped.”

Those were the words of Executive Director of Golden Baobab, Deborah Ahenkorah, who was present at this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja. The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation. It engages political, business, academic and other leaders of society in collaborative efforts to shape global, regional and industry agenda.  Together with other stakeholders, it works to define challenges, solutions and actions, always in the spirit of global citizenship.

During the forum, Miss Ahenkorah was on a panel that discussed Education in Africa and she recalls, “I shared on education and my view was - as much as education focuses on quality, it should not over-run the basics of what information you are providing the children.  As we are building schools and libraries, we should pay extreme attention to what our children are being taught because this influences their thinking pattern.” 

The World Economic Forum was preceded by a three-day Summit of Global Shapers in Africa. Global Shapers Summit is a gathering of 100 young people in Africa who are doing interesting works that are impacting the continent. Participants of the summit interacted with Rwandan President, Paul Kagami and Former President of Brazil, Lula Da Silva. The highlight for Miss Ahenkorah was when Former Brazilian President walked into the room to a rousing applause and according to her, “Mr. Lula went round to shake the hand of every single Global Shaper, looking each of us in the face with a genuine smile. Key take away from the summit's conversation was: you don't need qualifications to bring about change. You only need to listen to the problems of your people and solve the problems. It's not politics; it's problem solving.”    

 

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Golden Baobab's award

On Monday, March 24 this year, Golden Baobab was awarded the Best Children's Publisher of the Year in Africa at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. The award was in recognition of Golden Baobab’s efforts to help improve and develop children's content on the African continent.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the most important international events dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry.  It is a meeting of authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians. It also serves as a platform for finding the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, for generating and gathering new contacts while strengthening professional relationships. This year’s event saw an exhibition of more than 30,000 illustrators, writers, exhibitors and trade operators from all over the world. 

The Bologna Book Fair in Italy

In the words of the Executive Director of Golden Baobab, Deborah Ahenkorah, quote, “We are absolutely honoured and delightfully surprised that Golden Baobab’s nascent publishing efforts have been recognized while we launch our publishing activities this year.”

Photo of award winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) announced that it would be holding a three-day workshop on Results Based Management (RBM) for eight of its grantees, we at Golden Baobab knew we had to seize the opportunity! We put in our application and Nanama Acheampong, the programmes coordinator of the prize was accepted as a participant.

The RBM workshop took place from the 13th-16th of May, 2014 and was held at the beautiful Laico Regency Hotel in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya. 

About RBM

RBM is a strategic management approach which involves, among other things, accurately defining goals and objectives, planning activities to achieve them and effective report writing.

Programmes coordinator’s experience at RBM

Commenting on the RBM experience, Miss Acheampong said, “I was excited about being a part of the RBM training because it did not only give me the opportunity to network with women from different parts of Africa who are playing similar roles as I am, but it also helped to improve my planning, implementing and reporting skills. These will enhance my performance in my current role as coordinator of the prizes.” 

 Snapshot of presentation at the workshopSnapshot of presentation at the workshop 

According to Miss Acheampong, Awino Okech, a facilitator at the workshop, was absolutely brilliant in how she led the workshop, weaving individual work, group activities and presentations into the mix to ensure that they are properly understood and put to use, the new things they were learning.  

Awino Okech,facilitator at the workshop

In all, Miss Acheampong left the workshop knowing the importance of ensuring that goals/desired results are accurately defined and realistic and how to properly and effectively capture impact made during report writing.

 

 

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Golden Baobab is happy to introduce Daisy Chang, our Communications Fellow!  Daisy is a graduate of Wellesley, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. So far, Daisy has written and designed beautiful proposals, assisted with research work and is currently working on building a GeeBee mascot prototype which is coming along nicely, as can be seen in the photo above. We had a little chat with Daisy to find out a little more about her.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Daisy (though the lady I buy oranges from knows me as Akua, meaning Wednesday born) and I am Korean-American, from New York, graduated from Wellesley, and figuring out life. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to walk. Some places I really enjoy walking are across the Harvard Bridge from Cambridge to Boston, along the long dusty road from the Pastor's house to the river bank in New Longoro (Brong Ahafo), and up the mountain trail to the train tracks near my home in NY. I also like to bike, journal, and eat delicious things. 

In Accra, I find that I can't walk as much as I'd like, definitely not bike (because I fear for my life), and a lot of my favorite delicious things are not found here. I took Debbie's suggestion to use my 2-3 commuting-in-traffic time and have been going through audiobooks. I am currently making my way through LOTR; I just finished the Hobbit and am deep into the Fellowship of the Ring.

This is your second time in Ghana, what have been your impressions so far? How long are you in Ghana for?

I landed January 5 and will leave May 1, totaling four months overall. By this point, that initial honeymoon phase of traveling to a new country has definitely worn off. My view of Ghana has normalized a lot, in the same way people who idealize a country (like the United States or France) realize over time that every place has its own conveniences and struggles. However, I will say that I enjoy the friendliness and trust here; yesterday on my morning commute, a woman handed me and a stranger each a baby to hold while she held her third child. Sometimes though, that friendliness goes a little far...like the group of children who walk me home from the bus stop every evening. After walking me yesterday and in the midst of saying goodbye, one child picked an orange out of our tree and the next thing I know, there are like 30 crazy children stripping the poor tree of all its unripe fruits. They are a very threateninggang of 7 year olds.

How much of Ghana have you been able to see and what activities have you managed to do?

The furthest north I've been is to Brong-Ahafo. I've also been to the Bui Dam, Suame Magazine in Kumasi, and Elmina Slave Castle near Cape Coast. However, I am most proud of getting around in Accra and learning to navigate the trotro system. 

How did you decide to join the Golden Baobab team?

As a student, I had heard the name Golden Baobab because of its association with the Echoing Green Fellowship. When a friend offered to introduce me to a number of different organizations and listed Golden Baobab as one, I put it at the top of my list. I really believe that Golden Baobab is going to be big and push the frontier of children's literature, so it was an honor to be connected.

What is your role during your time at Golden Baobab and what about it excites you most?

My role as a fellow has been somewhere in the junction of communications and business development. I've been exploring the idea of corporate sponsorships as a means of distributing books locally and talking with key people in these corporations and writing proposals. I also have had the opportunity to support Nanama in finding the applicant base for the new Illustrators' Prizes, as well a number of other exciting tasks. For example, later this week, I get to go hunting for materials to prototype a Golden Baobab mascot.

What has been your experience at Golden Baobab so far? What are some of the opportunities you have received to learn new things?

My experience has been that the Golden Baobab staff is excellent and good at what they do, and a personal challenge for myself is to always learn from people and adapt habits I would like to have. For example, I admire Nanama's serious focus as well as her confidence and eloquence in voicing her thoughts; as for Debbie, I respect her vision casting and the speed at which she generates ideas. Her brain is like a high speed train and well.

Aside from those things that I am trying to learn from them, I've also learned how to use new software which was (is) a pleasant challenge.

Who was your favourite storybook character growing up? 

I had many. Thinking back to kindergarten, when I would sit on the story-time reading mat at the back of the classroom, the characters I can clearly recall are: Strega Nona for her pasta making prowess and ability to transport me to Italy through the words and pictures, the Rainbow Fish for his beautiful glimmering scales, Tikki Tikki Tembo for the rhymes and the challenge of reciting as many lines from memory as fast as possible, and--though I read this later in life--Punchinello from You are Special, for teaching me about God.

As I grew a bit older, I made new friends who (in their books) were also my age--I really liked Salamanca from Walk Two Moons and wanted to be Ella from Ella Enchanted, but I also lived through Ender, Harry, the Narnia children, the Animorphs, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and so so so many more...I'll stop here so I can get back to work.

What are your plans for the future?

Stay in Ghana until It's time to leave.

 

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