Deborah Ahenkorah is a Ghanaian educator and activist, co-founder and CEO of Golden Baobab, a social enterprise that aims to promote African literature for children, awarding the annual Golden Baobab Prize. She studied at Bryn Mawr College, and has been named by the Echoing Green Fellowship as “one of the most innovative contributions to change in today’s world. In 2013, Ahenkorah was part of the New Voices Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. She attended Bryn Mawr College, where she served as Co-Chair of the “Bryn Mawr’s African Students” organization. She was also the founder of Project Educate in Africa, and a resident consultant and participant in the Global Fund for Children and the European Union Parliament. Ahenkorah was part of the Starting Bloc Fellowship, and was also involved in the Goldman Sachs Women’s Summit. Deborah was named a 2019 Global Pluralism Awardee.
Deborah began an organization that collected donated books and shipped them to different African countries. One day, as she was packing boxes, she came across a book with pictures of a little African girl. That was when she realized that of the thousands of books her organization had shipped to numerous African countries, this was the first one that reflected the realities of the people who would be receiving it.
A social entrepreneur and children’s book publisher, Deborah created Golden Baobab in 2008 to empower African writers and illustrators to tell African children’s stories. Through Golden Baobab’s books, children are exposed to characters from different countries, cultures, languages, religions and ethnicity. This leads children to develop positive views of difference and the critical thinking required to challenge stereotypes and prejudices.
This literary non-profit organization offers the world’s only prize inspiring and celebrating African writers and illustrators, the Golden Baobab Prize. Now in its 11th year, the Prize has inspired submissions of over 2,000 new and original African children’s stories and illustrations and offered monetary support as well as publishing opportunities. The organization also offers training for African writers and illustrators and works to connect publishers worldwide with African children’s stories.
To help share these authors’ stories with more readers, Deborah created African Bureau Stories – a children’s publishing house and social enterprise that publishes stories from different cultures and ethnicity across Africa. The stories reflect the wide range of African experiences.