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HADEF Project Tribal Coinage
November 05, 2008

NGO HADEF Tribal Coin Sales Build Communities

About a year ago I stumbled onto a wonderful website, JFV Coins, which specialized in Unusual World Coins. The site is run by Jorge Fernandez Vidal, whose love of Unusual Coins shined through in our ensuing email correspondence.

What drew me to the JFV Coin site was Vidal's involvement with the NGO HADEF, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Hunger Aid and Development Foundation (HADEF) located in the Upper West Region of Ghana. To help fund HADEF, Vidal began a coin issuing program centered on producing coins for the various Tribes in this region of Ghana, with all profits from coin sales going to HADEF.

The main goals of HADEF involve efforts to keep the Tribes in the region healthy and self sufficient. Specific objectives include building family farming groups, or trade cooperatives and educating and equiping these groups to farm their land with increased productivity and environmental conservation techniques.

They tend to use animal traction as a practical method and build income through solid crop choices for the region, such as soya bean and groundnut farming and sheabutter processing. The approach is basic and sound and HADEF is making progess, with the help of Vidal's coin program.

Three coins are struck for each Tribe, using the same dies and different metal planchets. Designs generally feature a local leader or Chief and local tools, ornaments or wildlife. Workmanship is excellent and the coins are struck to high qualtiy standards. Most of the mintages are relatively small, but of course Vidal hopes that demand will grow over time. I purchased several coins and have been happy to be a part of the HADEF Program while building my Unusual World Coin collection.

Currently coins have been designed and issuedfor several Upper West Region Tribes including:

* The Eduola Tribe in Nyetigu
* The Ewaala Tribe in GA
* The Naajeri Tribe in Polee
* The Mwalba Tribe in Domangli
* The Emoula Tribe in Kulmasa
* The Manyaala Tribe in Naaha

While some question the legitimacy of privately issued coins, I have always found it fascinating to see coins struck for any part of the world. So many commemorative coins have been struck for places all around the globe, most with a profit motive only for the country of issue. Many produce coins which host themes that are not even remotely related to their issuing country. With this in mind I find it refreshingly responsible for a numismatist such as Vidal to step up and create a coin program to honor and fund Tribal advancement in Africa.

On the JFV Coins website Vidal expressed it wonderfully as follows:

"If the South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands issue their own commemorative coins just to make a profit (which are included in the World Coins catalogue of Krause); or the native American tribes such as the Poarch Creeks and the Shawnees issue their own coins as a way to express their sovereignty and identity; what prevents Sovereign African tribes from issuing their own coins?

Yet it is not just about coins. There is something else. It is a tribute to a history marked by difficulties and challenges. In JFV Coins, we believe that this is a genuine effort to help those who are in need through something that we truly love: coins.

That is why all the profits from these projects will be donated to the NGO HADEF, to be used for future developments in each of these tribes."

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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