Yao “Cha Cha” Foli

Ndor Eco Village

Seeking a world of opportunity

In the West African village where I grew up in Ghana, no one wanted to be a farmer. Raising goats or growing palm trees was all that we knew or could do. Life was hard.

But I was a seeker. I wanted something more; for myself, my family and my community so rich in potential. My life’s journey has brought me far, far away from that village.

At age 31, after years leading environmental NGOs in the Volta Region, I received a full scholarship to a private liberal arts college in upstate New York. Total strangers from across the United States donated over $40,000 towards my degree in international affairs. Their generosity altered my worldview and showed me that anything was possible.

A whole new world of opportunity opened to me. Opportunities that culminated in Ndor Eco Village (Ndor), an organization I founded to promote sustainable agriculture and environmental education in Ghana’s Volta region.

We invite you to join us on our journey. 

Our Mission

Our mission at Ndor is to realize the rich human and agricultural potential of Ghana’s Volta Region. We believe that with the right education, skills, and training, we can improve agricultural livelihoods and protect the natural world we all depend on.  

We also aspire to build bridges between Ghanaians and the people of the United States. Exchanging and learning together in ways that build lifelong friendships and expand opportunity beyond people’s imagination.  

Our Vision

An eco-village that serves as a community for sustainable agriculture and environmental education. It will include a school and training center that brings the latest in sustainable agriculture to local farmers, tailored to local needs.

Trainers will be leaders in their fields from around the world, beginning with the incredible community of educators among the ICBOs and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Curricula will be developed in partnership with Ghanaian agricultural experts to ensure coherence with local culture and agricultural practices.   

Education will extend far beyond adults. The many children nearby who currently receive little to no environmental education are central to our vision. Investing in their knowledge of the natural world is key to delivering on the community’s promise now and in the future.

As an eco-village, Ndor will be a community within a community. People will learn and live together. The guest houses and restaurant we envision will host the many educators, volunteers, and visitors we receive from around the world, generating income to sustain our work. 

Our Projects

We are currently seeking support to realize several key projects in Ndor’s journey.

  • Kitchen with sanitation facilities for guests and workers
  • Well to access clean drinking water and for irrigation
  • Farm tools enabling our sustainable agricultural practices
  • Farm infrastructure to secure and store materials
  • Guest houses to accommodate educators, volunteers and visitors

Bring Back the Birds is an educational bird science and protection project that we aspire to lead. It would involve planting diverse fruits trees to attract and serve as habitat for endangered birds. The program will teach learners of all ages about the unique contributions of birds to our ecosystem and why it is critical to protect and preserve them in a changing world. This project is inspired by Yao’s partnership with ICBOs and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.