‘A Commitment to Making the World a Better Place’
Ahmadou Balde, MBA ˊ18 Works to Improve Education, Healthcare and Training Services in Guinea
(Above: Ahmadou Balde with students at a school that is part of NAD Partnership, where he is COO.)
“Business is a social endeavor with economic, political, environmental and social consequences; your actions matter,” Ahmadou Balde, MBA ˊ18 says of what he learned through the Bentley MBA. “But your values also matter. Changemakers are driven by their beliefs, not their knowledge.” Balde is the chief operating officer of NAD Partnership, which promotes regional development by coordinating and enhancing education, healthcare and community engagement in Guinea, one of the poorest countries in the world.
NAD is a partnership of three organizations whose mission is to improve economic and social mobility in Guinea, with an initial focus on the city and region of Labé. The organizations are: the for-profit NAD Complex, which includes a medical center, school and training center and was founded by Ahmadou’s father, Mohamed Yaya Balde; ANAD, a non-governmental organization that aims to provide financial assistance, health services and community development opportunities to low-income people; and NAD Partners, a U.S.-based non-profit focused on fundraising, promotion and partnerships with volunteers and corporate sponsors.
Almost one-quarter of primary age children in Guinea don’t attend school. Access to healthcare is another prominent issue. Although essential healthcare infrastructure is distributed around the country, professional staffing and modern medical equipment are scarce in areas such as Labé, outside of the capital. “That imbalance has resulted in non-registered medical centers and clinics that aren’t regulated and an increased risk of potentially risky and dangerous services and medicines,” Balde says.
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A commitment to serve others is something Balde and his two brothers and sister learned early from their parents. “Both of my parents sacrificed a lot for us. Anywhere I went, my mother supported me. My dad, too, worked constantly to provide for us so that we could focus on our studies. They were both committed to our education.”
Both Ahmadou and his father are driven by the belief that access to quality affordable education and healthcare in underserved areas is essential for community and economic development. In 2018, the NAC Complex launched its primary school program with 82 students. This past year, the student body grew to 191 students.
“To ensure that NAD Partnership would be a successful, scalable and sustainable social endeavor, the partnership has taken on the challenge of facing the obstacles in Labé with a unique private sector/NGO approach to community development,” Balde says. “We had to ask not only how to provide quality affordable services but also how to design a model that can allow us to provide services to those who can’t pay.”
These days, Balde travels between the United States and Guinea to fulfill his duties. He remains grounded to his service mindset and his Bentley experience.
“To give one’s life meaning, one must have the ability to imagine and fight for a life beyond one’s own existence,” Balde says. “My Bentley cohorts and I came into the program with singular stories, but at Bentley we realized that our destiny was shared. Regardless of our differences or origin, we shared a common world, a common campus and a common commitment to making the world a better place.”