Enhancing the quality of life of people of developing nations.

Community: Cultural Diversity & Social Programing

Background Statement

Sub-Saharan Africa is divided into a great number of ethnic and tribal cultures. Africa is home to innumerable tribes, ethnic and social groups, some representing very large populations consisting of millions of people; others are smaller groups of a few thousand. Some countries have over 20 different ethnic groups, and also are greatly diverse in beliefs, traditions, habits, and customs.

The following map shows the great diversity of ethnic groups that exist in sub-Saharan Africa:


Sub-Saharan Africa is :

  • Less than 1/10 of the world's population (over 700 million)
  • 1/7 of the inhabited world's land area
  • 1/3 of the world's languages (about 2000)!
  • Only 50 languages spoken by more than 1 million people

Cultural diversity is a central part of the African collective identity. The lost of cultural identity was badly aggravated by the colonization of the continent and nowadays the lack of opportunities to generate income has lead to a continued loss of population, disappearance of local customs and community cohesiveness.

Many older youth are not able to stay in their villages and are lured away to other countries because of their skills as cultivators or in the hope of finding better opportunities. Population migrations are further deteriorating the social and family structures, damaging cultural identities.

There is a need for a coordinated approach including a complete understanding of the anthropology, ethnicity and social strata in order to provide the remaining family members with a means of income and therefore reduce the probability of migration.

The Foundation is fully aware of the progressive disappearance of the social links and understands not only the complexity but also how fundamental it is to maintain this perspective in furthering any development

"As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit." Seneca


IMG 058r6Our vision is to demonstrate how to implement long-lasting projects with in-depth comprehension and carry out missions driven by the respect for the richness of cultural diversity.

We strive for our actions to be beneficial for the community as a whole and not only value and encourage but also preserve cultural diversity. We act towards communities and understand how important cohesion, traditions, and values are for the maintenance of a social identity and an harmonized development.

Quick Outlook


Cultural Preservation


One of the main reasons for the failure of development across the African continent, despite the investment of billions of dollars by Western governments and NGOs, has been the inattention to local human realities in the implementation of projects. Development interventions are never simply technical or economic, but always have crucial social and cultural associations. Any project will encounter dense networks of human relations, relations that might also be fraught and filled with enmity or jealousy. The failure to understand such networks and the authority structures that lie behind them can easily lead to a project’s ruin, and worse, the serious loss of credibility of the sponsoring organization..

Humans adapt to their environment in complex ways, building up sophisticated knowledge about the ecosystem, organizing productive and economic life to maximize access to resources, and building social systems that render social life livable and harmonious. These systems can impede the introduction of new ideas and new technology or, when properly understood, they can facilitate development and produce striking success.


One case in point is that of the Kabiyé in northern Togo. There, the farming and social systems are centuries old and deeply integrated into the fabric of everyday life. Developmental interventions must work within, rather than against, such systems and their constraints – coming to terms with the organization of household labor, understanding the gender division of labor, appreciating local conceptions of work, debt, as well as property and ownership, and acknowledging the intimate relationship between crop cycles and ceremony.


The Kabiyé farming system is non-mechanized and hand-driven but nevertheless inordinately complex. Because the environment is harsh, with thin topsoil and unpredictable rainfall, and because of their mountain habitat, Kabiyé have evolved a sophisticated system of terraced farming. They rotate and intermix their crops in organically-composted fields, and manage risk by dividing their plots between root crops (yams and manioc), which do well when the rain is plentiful, and cereals (sorghum, millet, and corn), which need less rain. They have a flexible system of work groups which enables them to tailor labor task to need. And, a fascinating feature of the farming system – which development must try to respect – is its egalitarianism: Since each household has access to and cultivates all crops, no individual or class of individuals can monopolize production. This characteristic makes the introduction of cash crops to support the community and provide economic empowerment attractive and improves the chance of success, as the cooperative-style of farming is already established


Western medical clinics dot the landscape, but are expensive and sometimes at odds with local medical practice and belief. Student volunteers from Duke University, with the guidance and additional support of the Noar Foundation, have been working for three years to design a health insurance system that will enable all villagers to visit the clinics when in need and guarantee access to basic medical care. In addition, efforts have been successful in evolving a system of collaboration between local healers/herbalists, spiritual healers, and the clinics. A health intervention that understands and works alongside local culture stands a far greater chance of success, and will insure that all individuals, from providers to patients are integrated into the health care environment. This insures rising health conditions and further impacts on the economic prosperity and productivity of the community.

Goals & Action-Based Behavioral Objectives



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