Introduction and Mission

The Rocky Dawuni Foundation was established in 2016 as a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “inspire youth leadership and social innovation through the preservation, promotion, and elevation of music, arts, and culture in Ghana and other African communities.” Our vision is to develop—through skills- based training, personal initiative, and collective action—a new generation of leaders who are committed to improving their own communities and beyond.

Founder Dawuni is a Ghanaian-born musician and long-time activist. As a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, Dawuni has worked with dozens of high-profile global organizations including the United Nations Foundation, Carter Center, Kenya Red Cross, Amnesty International, the Leadership Council For Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and the Campaign to Save Darfur, to name just a few.

The Dawuni Foundation is committed to promoting positive social change through arts-driven education and leadership programs for at-risk youth. Using music and the arts of Africa—past, present and future—as a conduit, the Foundation is planning its first full-scale Youth Leadership and Activism Initiative in West Africa focusing on the environment and human rights advocacy, among other issues.

The need for youth engagement and opportunity in Africa has never been greater:

Some 70% of all Africans are under the age of 35. These young people face growing levels of unemployment, violent conflict, poverty, disease, functional illiteracy, and substance abuse despite global advances made in technology, business development, medicine, and more.

Our Objectives

The Dawuni Foundation seeks to build a series of community-led Innovative Cultural Centers (ICCs) in West Africa and beyond. They will function as multi-purpose convergence centers for musical performance, artistic expression, and youth outreach, leadership and training.

ICCs will serve as incubators and ignition spaces for social activism and education. Youth participants will use ICC’s resources as a platform for addressing issues such as human rights, girls’ and women’s empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, climate change, and access to clean water and renewable energy.

Our primary objective is to both energize and provide the necessary skills for African youth to become future change agents and make their voices heard.

To change the world you must be able to perceive it in your own image. And you must believe that your life matters. We posit that cultural appreciation is an integral part of building a strong identity and confidence in change- makers.

Our program seeks to further the promotion and preservation of cultural traditions by fostering young people’s pride in their African heritage and helping them to envision a more promising future.

What's Happening

The Dawuni Foundation has already begun building relationships with local Ghanaian schools to assist in the planning and implementation of the program. Education workshops will include a range of skill-based training including in sound engineering, marketing, audio recording, broadcasting, writing and producing, and technology.

In addition, Dawuni is currently working closely with the mayor of Accra (the capital city of Ghana), to plant 100,000 trees as part of the Foundation’s #IAMPLANET reforestation initiative geared specifically toward youth.

A massive cleanup is now underway at our first ICC, The Sankofa Centre (formerly the Bob Marley Studio Complex), and architectural and engineering plans are in development.
A massive cleanup is now underway at our first ICC, The Sankofa Centre (formerly the Bob Marley Studio Complex), and architectural and engineering plans are in development.

Progress to date

With a lead gift from the Annenberg Foundation in 2017, the Dawuni Foundation purchased its first prospective ICC at what was once the Bob Marley studio/compound in Aburi, just 30 minutes outside of Accra. The studio had sustained a fire in 2010 that damaged its interior and as a result was uninhabited for many years. Despite this, the structure remained intact.

In 2016, Rita Marley approached Dawuni to discuss the property and his plans for its possible future use. The Foundation completed the purchase in 2017 and renamed the space The Sankofa Centre.*

The new center has been envisioned to align with the Marley family history of promoting peace, resilience, and equity for all. We are now in the process of cleaning up the site and planning its reconstruction and future operation.

*The concept of Sankofa comes from the Akan people of West Africa and teaches us that we must understand our roots and our past in order to move forward and ensure our future.

Open Invite!

We invite you to learn more about our work in Ghana and how you can support positive, sustainable change.

Next steps

Our goal in 2019/2020 is to raise $2 million which will enable us to commence with the full renovation of the Sankofa Centre (Phase 1) and its first year of programming (Phase 2).

This includes $1.5 million for the Centre’s infrastructure (architecture and engineering, framing and roofing, electric, plumbing, HVAC, interiors, and landscaping, as well as audio and media technology [e.g., computers, software, a sound system, recording equipment etc.].) Phase
2. ($500,000) will begin concurrently to secure funding for the Centre’s first year of staffing, youth outreach, and programming.

Ultimately, we envision the Sankofa Centre as self- sustaining through the global distribution/ streaming of its musical content, cross-cultural conversations, and educational symposia; through the rental of its space for government and corporate meetings and conferences; and through its consulting services.

Target opening date: 2022

Your support is a direct investment in future generations of West African youth who have few opportunities to develop their talents and
envision their futures, despite their great potential.

Thank you for your consideration! All gifts are tax-deductible. Recognition and naming opportunities are also available.

Contact: The Rocky Dawuni Foundation, 1.310.709.2786, PO Box 1510, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA OR via email at rockydawunifoundation@gmail.com

 

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More about Rocky Dawuni

GRAMMY nominated musician, producer, and activist Rocky Dawuni is one of Africa’s leading international music stars. Dawuni’s melding of music and activism has helped him become a passionate spokesperson for various global causes. Rocky has previously lent his voice to campaigns with Product (RED), ONE, UNICEF, and many others. In 2012, Dawuni was appointed the Tourism and Cultural Ambassador of Ghana and World Ambassador for the Musicians Union of Ghana, and in 2016 UN Goodwill Ambassador for Africa. For more information see: https://www.rockydawuni.com & http://www.youtube.com/rockydawunimusic