EcoGuinea was inspired by my deep respect for the Guinean people and the belief that sustainable, grassroots solutions can help to address the obvious needs of people living in extreme poverty.
I came to this beautiful country because of the music, and fell in love with it because of the people. During several trips to Guinea (beginning in 2000), I built strong ties with an extended community of Guineans from all walks of life and spent time listening to their vision and hopes for a healthier future for their families and for their nation. I became particularly close with the celebrated family of master kora players M’Bady Kouyate and Ba Cissoko, who are inspiring advocates for social change and civic improvement. I also became close with Lamzo Toure, who would later become EcoGuinea's partner and director of our NGO.
For many years, I personally funded copious small projects. For example, I sent a young mother to medical school, have kept numerous children in school, paid for critical medical care for many friends suffering from malaria and all manner of diseases, covered the cost of safe births, rebuilding mud huts after monsoons, and so on.
From the start, I studied practical ways to help communities in Guinea beyond bandaid solutions. It was obvious to me that a few basic, inexpensive projects could dramatically improve the quality of life—especially as concerned waterborne diseases, malnutrition, the general health of children, and the empowerment of women.
I joined with several colleagues in the U.S. and Australia, who shared my vision, and we spent many years preparing the groundwork for EcoGuinea, researching sustainable design, green technology, local food production methods, and integrated solutions for poor regions —especially those suited to Guinea’s extreme climate. We compiled an online database of solutions and developed a network of associates committed to using sustainable methods to address the basic needs of a country with bare-bones infrastructure. Our core-group of world-class professionals in architecture, permaculture and eco-development are ready to work hands-on with our Guinean team to implement our projects as soon as funding is available.
Meanwhile, our team on the ground in Guinea has been active, under the directorship of Lamzo Toure—establishing official contacts, setting up an office, building a network of volunteers, and embarking on much-needed civic projects.