When Mr. Shadrack Frimpong was awarded a President’s Engagement Prize from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015, the 23-year old thought he was putting his life on hold. Armed with a three-year, $150,000 grant, he, instead, found his life’s purpose.
Mr. Frimpong returned to his native village, Tarkwa Breman, a remote cocoa-growing community in western Ghana. There, his vision to open a school and medical clinic with the farmers as active participants in the financing and operation has been a notable success. In just 4 years, the venture he started, Cocoa360, has developed a 10-acre communal farm that supports a tuition-free school attended by 150 girls, and a clinic that has served over 4,000 people from eight communities. Forty employees — including teachers, nurses, a midwife, a physician, community liaisons, financial managers, communications staff and other support staff — from all over the country and from the United States have moved to the village.
The global development community has also taken notice. Mr. Frimpong, an MPH student in the Advanced Professional Program at the Yale School of Public Health, is a winner of the 2019 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards given to six individuals, age 30 and under, who serve as advocates, activists and role models in transforming communities and bringing about positive change in the world.
“The Muhammad Ali Award is a very humbling and significant endorsement of the work our team does,” he said. “What we are doing has potential to bring something unique to global health and development. The community is in a remote forest location, so it is not an easy choice for the staff to come here to work. But our team sees the work we do as a clarion call.”Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on September 13