Exemplary and outstanding commitment for the African continent: In a festive event, the Menschen für Menschen Foundation honors an individual or a project for exemplary and outstanding commitment to the African continent with the Karlheinz Böhm Prize every two years.
The appreciation is intended to commemorate the vision and life’s work of the founder Karlheinz Böhm and at the same time look back at past and future development cooperation, which has so far helped over five and a half million people in Ethiopia to find decent living conditions.
In 2020 the foundation is planning to award the prize for the third time.
2016: Horst Köhler
The first award winner in 2016 was the retired Federal President Dr. Horst Köhler, who was honored for his many years of active work in Africa. As President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Horst Köhler’s campaign “Partnership with Africa” worked, among other things, to raise public awareness on Africa’s strategic importance. To this day, the Africa connoisseur has been involved in honorary posts, especially for the local economic development.
2018: Operndorf Afrika
In 2018, the second Karlheinz Böhm Prize went to the “Operndorf Afrika” (Opera Village Africa), an international art project that has been created in Burkina Faso / West Africa since 2009. It continues the idea of the German artist Christoph Schlingensief (1960-2010), who provided three pillars of the opera village: education, health and culture. The African opera village is said to develop into a platform that triggers a post-colonial discourse, which can create new and differentiated images of Africa. His widow Aino Laberenz, who accepted the award, has continued the project initiated by Schlingensief since 2010 as managing director.
At the request of the foundation, the Munich sculptor Karel Fron chose the motif of an acacia umbrella for the bronze sculpture, which is almost 25 cm high and 20 cm wide. In the shadow of such a tree, Karlheinz Böhm had held many meetings with representatives of the local communities in the Erer Valley, to talk to them about their hardships and needs. The Erer Valley was the first project area of Menschen für Menschen.
The Menschen für Menschen Foundation is a non-political, non-religious and non-governmental international charity organization founded by the late renowned actor and philanthropist Mr. Karlheinz Böhm and has been implementing sustainable development cooperation in Ethiopia for almost 40 years. In currently eleven project regions, around 640 permanent and almost exclusively Ethiopian employees are implementing the integrated rural development projects together with the population.
The NGO interlinks around 380 measures based on components like sustainable land management, WaSH, education, health and human development, and enables particularly the poorest and most vulnerable people in rural Ethiopia to improve their living conditions on their own. Menschen für Menschen has been carrying the donation seal of the German Central Institute for Social Affairs (DZI) since 1993.