Teamed for transformation – Doug Manuel launches charity for African development

After twenty years running leadership and team building programs for Fortune 500 companies and leading business schools around the world, Doug Manuel says it’s time to give back. 16 November 2019 marks the official launch of Lighting Up Lives, the charitable organization the entrepreneur has created to focus on a team-work approach to rural village development in Africa.

Doug Manuel with children whose studies in Abéné, Senegal are supported by Lighting Up Lives.

It was on a trip to Africa to learn to play djembe that Doug discovered the Senegalese village Abéné. As he learned about health and financial challenges in the village, he found his opportunity to give back by founding a charity to support village development in Africa. But it was during Doug’s pan-Africa travels making documentaries for the BBC that he was struck by how much of rural Africa faces similar challenges. Abéné is now the site of the pilot project for Lighting Up Lives (LUL).


Villagers partner with LUL by sharing their skills, time, and financial contributions on initiatives designed to bring solar power to the community’s medical centre, provide scholarships for primary school students, purchase an ambulance and bring running water to the medical centre’s maternity ward.


In order to build bridges of understanding and generate support, Doug organizes cultural exchange visits to Abéné that link Swiss business leaders and schoolteachers with people in the village. The idea of creating experiences where people are able to recognize each other’s skills is at the heart of Doug’s approach to leadership training which is built on having people learn about listening, collaboration, and leadership by drumming together.


Doug Manuel confers with Bakary Diem, associate director of the Alumna Djabba School in Abéné, Senegal.

Lara Epiney Takache, director of Leman Language Services (LLS), is pleased with the role her new company is playing in support of the launch of this charitable organization.


“We’ve worked with Doug to update the LUL website so that people can see what his organization is poised to do,” Lara notes. “Our writers and editors have had direct experience of humanitarian work and can communicate the vision and passion that social entrepreneurs like Doug invest in what they are doing.”


With LUL formally organized as a charity, fundraising for development work and project oversite will be facilitated. But LUL is not simply about donating money Doug says: “It’s about building bridges between the West and Africa.”


LLS is committed to partnering with him in sharing that message.


Photos: Courtesy of Lighting Up Lives

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