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Ghanaian Social Entrepreneur Hayford Siaw Selected to 2015 Ford Fellowship

April 18, 2015; 12:12 am


Street Library Ghana is pleased to announce that its founder and president, Hayford Siaw, has been chosen to participate in the 2015 Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of 92nd Street Y in New York City.

As one of just 25 participants chosen from more than 250 applicants around the world, Mr. Siaw will join a select group of emerging change makers and rising community leaders in this exciting and innovative program. This May, Mr. Siaw and the others will attend participatory nonprofit management, strategic thinking, and leadership classes at the Picker Center for Executive Education at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. The 2015 cohort will also visit with innovators from Yale University as well as model non-profit,, business and government leaders as they focus on how to forge win-win partnerships between nonprofit, business and government entities.

In a brief interview about his selection into the program, Mr. Siaw expressed gratitude to Tigo Ghana, Reach for Change and The Global Fund for Children for their vital, multi-year support. “Their generous financial contributions and capacity building efforts were crucial,”he said. “Not only did they help us leverage and scale our impact to the benefit of numerous communities throughout Ghana, they helped bring our model global recognition.”

Street Library Ghana—which began in 2011 as a single van full of books and other learning resources driven by Mr. Siaw—has grown exponentially, now serving over 10,000 children in 28 Ghanaian communities. The organization also partners with 2 communities in Liberia and 1 in Cameroon, with pending efforts in Mozambique on the horizon.

Additionally, last year SLG commissioned to electronically document local West African oral histories, stories and fables and distribute them in digital formats. This exciting new program was made possible by the European Development Fund—via the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) cultural support program—as well as partnerships with Microsoft Portugal and the Fraunhofer Research Institute.

“As American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has,’”said Mr. Siaw. “I look forward to making new international contacts and expanding my knowledge base. To learn from, study with—and debate—some of the best, most innovative young minds in the field of social impact is tremendously exciting,”he added. “I am blessed by this opportunity and look forward to returning home with new expertise and ideas.”

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About the Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of 92nd Street Y:

Ford Motor Company, a global corporation and world leader in corporate citizenship, and 92nd Street Y, the world’s first global Jewish community and cultural center, are proud to join together for the Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of 92nd Street Y.

In addition to the Fellows’ residency at 92nd Street Y, the program also includes specialized tours of New York City, an evening in the home of a Jewish 92nd Street Y family as a guest for Shabbat dinner—a treasured facet of Jewish cultural heritage—and an overnight trip to Ford Motor Company World Headquarters in Dearborn, MI, to meet key Ford executives and gain insight into the unique intersection of corporate and nonprofit interests and goals.

92nd Street Y’s partnership with Ford represents a growing trend in philanthropy: the collaboration of nonprofits and corporations on humanitarian projects.

The Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of 92nd Street Y evolved out of 92nd Street Y’s 30-year relationship with the Ford Motor Company.

Participants come from a variety of countries, which shift each year. As of 2014, 291 individuals from 73 countries have participated.

About Street Library Ghana:

Street Library Ghana envisions a world in which all African children have equal access to culturally appropriate literacy and educational resources. Our long term goal is to improve childhood literacy rates by building local communities of independent readers and fostering an overarching culture of reading for pleasure. We focus primarily on marginalized, emerging, and struggling readers that are either not served or under-served by traditional in-school programs. We offer three core literacy programs, as well as personal development/mentorship programs

Mobile Van

Since 2011, Street Library Ghana has operated a Mobile Library Van, bringing both books and staff to various communities to engage children in fun and interactive outreach activities. Dedicated staff and community volunteers attend the Mobile Library and engage children in reading-level-appropriate stories, games and educational programs.

Book Chest

Each Book Chest contains a collection of approximately 150 books that span a broad variety of reading levels, non-fiction topics and fiction genres. They are designed to serve as a portable library, suitable for schools, community centers and other local organizations. The mix of carefully selected, high quality books aims to develop literacy skills by nurturing the joy of reading and pursuit of knowledge. Book Chests are packaged in a sturdy water- and air-proof boxes to keep books in good condition for as long as possible.

Reading Hub

SLG launched its first Reading Hub on August 12, 2014 in the Anoff community in Damang, Eastern Region, Ghana. Reading Hub differs from a traditional library building in that it’s purpose is not only to house an extensive book collection, but to provide a more conducive, user-friendly and accessible space for library activities. This unique, architect-designed structure is bright, open and inviting, greatly enhancing children’s access to reading materials and learning opportunities. Comfortable, shaded seating surrounds the perimeter. A bigger rollout of future Reading Hubs is currently in the works, with a switch from concrete and brick construction to a more flexible and cost-effective design .

Media Contact – Ghana

Hayford Siaw



Media Contact – U.S.

John Schaidler