Fighting Poverty One Drum at a Time

Africa Heartwood Project has helped hundreds of cultural artisans and vendors in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea, and Senegal to become self-sufficient in their chosen trade. This is not a charitable hand-out that encourages dependence, but rather it is a hand-up that preserves dignity and encourages self-reliance. As artisans and venders are supported in making and marketing their crafts entire villages also benefit. This is our home-grown, income-producing social enterprise that enables the non-profit to operate with no overhead and all-volunteer leadership, thereby allowing 100% of public donations to go directly to project implementation.

The roots of Africa Heartwood Project originate in the cultural and market value of African djembe drums. As these very special and unique drums are made and marketed with help from Africa Heartwood Project sustainable livelihoods are generated for cultural artisans. From helping one group of drum carvers sell 10 djembe drums in 2001, to facilitating the production and export of thousands of drums, the intent of our social enterprise is the same: use renewable resources, local knowledge, appropriate technology and global partnerships to improve the quality of life for those who are willing to work for it. Because the sale of every djembe counts, it is possible for anyone to make a difference right now.

Watch this video to learn the story about how we’re Fighting Poverty One Drum at a Time, courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune.

Buy a Drum Today and Make a Difference!

As part of a for-profit social enterprise, the drums are also used as a platform for raising funds to plan and implement other humanitarian and development projects in West Africa. When a drum is sold online, donations are accepted to support deaf students, Liberian orphans, and clean water projects. Drum sales also cover any overhead or administrative costs associated with operating Africa Heartwood Project, with a portion of proceeds going to project implementation as well.

There are additional benefits to this project that we didn’t originally foresee. For example, our drums are an important part of keeping traditional African drum and dance cultures alive, and sharing their joy with the the world. By enabling the ongoing production and international trade of traditional African instruments, the music, drum and dance cultures from which these instruments come are revitalized and enhanced. By connecting the old traditions to the modern market, the old traditions are kept alive and relevant. And, those who buy and play the instruments are connecting to people and traditions from a beautiful culture they might have otherwise missed. The rhythms and music from West Africa inspire a sense of community, gratitude, and self-expression in all those who encounter them. Africa Heartwood Project brings these traditions into your home for you and your family to enjoy, while at the same time making an important difference.

We encourage you to support the ongoing success of this project by purchasing an Authentic African Djembe drum or instrument from one of our fine retail partners so that you can experience the tradition, culture and beauty that only West Africa can provide. Donations are also required to provide the administrative infrastructure required to operate the social enterprise when profits are low. Your generosity and intent makes a difference in the world. Begin now.

Quick Facts:

  • Project Started – 2001
  • Location – West Africa
  • Beneficiaries – Small scale drum producers, their families, and their local vendor networks
  • Donations Go Towards – Tips are hand-carried to drum builders in Africa for distribution