Posts tagged ‘ghana’
We just added some bundles of Divine chocolate to our online store.
It gives you the chance to sample no less than 8 (EIGHT!) different flavors from Divine. The bars of 3.5oz chocolate come in a wicker basket as standard, or you can upgrade to a beautiful baby bolga basket, also from Ghana.
Here’s a bit of background about Divine (courtesy of their website):
The story starts in 1879 when Tetteh Quarshie first brought cocoa to Ghana from Equatorial Guinea. Since then, Ghanaian cocoa has developed a global reputation for its quality and its taste. Today it is one of the country’s main exports. Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world. Most of the cocoa is grown by small-scale family farmers on 4-5 acres of land. Cocoa farming is a precarious business. The trees are vulnerable to various diseases and pests and although chocolate is one of the world’s favorite treats, the cocoa price often dips below the level at which it pays enough for cocoa small-scale farmers to survive.
In the early 1990’s, the cocoa market in Ghana become partially liberalized, allowing for the formation of licensed buying companies to purchase cocoa beans from farmers and sell them to Cocoa Marketing Company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa. A number of farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers in an industry where their voices were not being heard and set up a licensed buying company that would be run by farmers and for their benefit. These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers’ co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo – which means good cocoa growers – has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.
Kuapa Kokoo quickly developed a reputation for being fair and honest. In Ghana, the cocoa scale and control of the scale is tremendously important. A cocoa farmer can easily be robbed by unscrupulous clerks that rigged the scales to cheat farmers out of the full value of their crop. Kuapa Kokoo put power over the scales in the hands of farmers by making sure that each village had its own scale and its own elected clerk or village recorder. Further, through its commitment to Fair Trade and sale of cocoa to the Fair Trade market, Kuapa Kokoo was able to return greater benefits to cocoa farmers. Its membership quickly grew. In 1997, at their annual general meeting, the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo voted to set up a chocolate company of their own in order to return even more benefits to cocoa farmers. And with investment from The Body Shop and Twin Trading, and support from Comic Relief and Christian Aid, Divine Chocolate was born.
Divine Chocolate is today a leading Fair Trade brand in the UK and a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise. The success of Divine means that farmers have a secure source of Fair Trade income that continues to grow year on year. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women’s income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over. The farmers’ ownership stake in Divine Chocolate means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a share in the profits from their ownership shares and in 2007 celebrated the first distribution of dividends from Divine in the UK. To further its mission and further increase benefits for cocoa farmers, Divine Chocolate launched a US company to expand into $13 billion American market. In 2006, Divine Chocolate Inc opened in Washington DC to bring fantastic Fair Trade chocolate to US consumers. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo own one-third of Divine Chocolate in the US.
One of the unexpected delights of working in the world of Fair Trade has been the opportunity to work on customized products with our producer groups. Unexpected, because as a retailer we source our products primarily through importer/wholesalers who have the direct relationship with the producers.
However, in several cases now we’ve been able to work through the importer to request custom products (we talked about this before when we launched the vegan market baskets from Ghana).
Our latest adventure in product design has been in the world of finger puppets, working with our friends at Inca Kids.
Since we are based in Springfield, natural habitat of the Red Cardinal (and home of the Springfield Cardinals!) it seemed obvious to have some Red Cardinals made…..this is how they turned out:
The next major event coming to downtown Springfield is the 30th Annual Saint Patricks Day Parade, so now we’re scratching our heads thinking about what finger puppets we should have made……ideas anyone?!
Things have been crazy in the store for the past few weeks (which is a good thing!) so tonight we took an overdue “time out” to re-invest some Kiva funds. If you’re not familiar with Kiva, it’s a person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
We’ve been supporters of/investors in Kiva for a few years now (it fits closely with our mission for Global Fayre and our support for Fair Trade) and started the Global Fayre Kiva lending team a few months ago, though in truth we’ve not had time to develop it much, aside fomr using a couple of First Friday Art Walks to raise funds to invest.
So, the three loans we made today were:
Luis (Peru) who has a construction business (STILL NEEDS FUNDS). Here’s what Kiva syas about Luis:
Luis is 26 years old and lives in his own home with his common law wife and their two year old child. After finishing high school, he started working in order to meet the needs of his family. He started in the construction business and became very good in this type of work. He currently works as a contractor for clients who are in need of his services. Luis has developed a good reputation. Likewise, he and his wife work together in their partnership. Luis is grateful that he is always able to find work. For this reason, he hopes to have better tools so that he can provide better service. This is his first loan with MFP. Luis promises to be punctual with each of his payments. The money he requested will be used to purchase a few of the tools that he is lacking that will help him to develop in his work.
Five Virgins Group (Ghana) with a clothing sales business (FULLY FUNDED).
Toyin Okunlola (Nigeria) with a food business (STILL LOOKING FOR FUNDS). Kiva says:
Toyin sells frozen foods at retail prices to her customers. She has 2 deep freezers that she uses to store her frozen foods. This is the high season for sales and she hopes to make more profits during this season. She has been in this business for 6 years. The demand for her frozen foods is high. She hopes to own a poultry farm in the future.
Toyin is 44 years old and married with 2 children. She lives in Lagos state, Nigeria. She hopes for a loan of NGN 100,000 to purchase more frozen food to sell. She says thanks to all Kiva lenders.
If you haven’t made a Kiva loan before, PLEASE DO! Our tip would be to think about the region you want to invest in, scan several loans before making a decision, and always consider the field partner as well as the loan applicant to give yourself a sense of their ability to repay.
If you HAVE made a Kiva loan before, then please think about making another one.
BETTER STILL – you have the chance to make those last minute Holiday gifts with Kiva. Go to http://www.kiva.org and purchase gift certificates for your loved ones to make their own Kiva loans.
One new discovery for us this summer has been shea butter. We’d had several products before that used shea, but we had not had pure shea butter before.
We stock 4 lines of shea butter – unscented, vanilla, rosemary and lavender. The scent is derived from essential oils; except for this it is 100% Natural Unrefined Shea Butter. Packaged in calabash gourd with raffia tie close. Purely natural! No chemicals. No preservatives. No color additives. You can buy these 4 shea butters in our online store.
We get the shea butter (the collection is called Slippery Slope Shea Butter) from our friends at Global Mamas; the producer is Ele Agbe Company Limited.
In 1996, Ms. Comfort Akorfa Adjahoe founded Ele Agbe Company Limited with the hopes of providing both quality handmade goods and a decent, supportive employment opportunity for many Ghanaians. While the company also trades jewelry, beads, and home décor items, it also produces the 100% shea body butter and shea soaps that form the core of Global Mamas Trunk Scrub and Slippery Slope product lines.
Through its partnership with Global Mamas, Comfort’s business is able to broaden its access to international markets, increase production, and further its positive effect on the lives of over 50 Ghanaians between operations in Teshie-Nungua and shea butter production Northern Ghana. Producers of Trunk Scrub and Slippery Slope receive a living wage, thorough training, medical coverage, equal treatment in the workplace, and meals during the workday. Comfort also provides training programs for under-educated youth in Accra.
Ele Agbe means ‘God is alive’ in the language of the Ewe people of Ghana’s Volta Region.
You can read more “wiki’ information about shea butter here.
We started Global Fayre early in 2007, and opened our store in Springfield, Missouri in the December of that year.
There have been many many rewarding aspects of having the store (and now the online store too) but one element that becomes increasingly important to us (and to our customers) is the closeness between the end purchaser and the producer. We may be many thousands of miles apart physically, but through the close contact we have, either directly with the producers or via our importers, our customers get a real understanding of the producers and their world.
Better still, our customers get to ask for custom products – a real revelation in these days of mass production where the producer and end consumer have never met, have no interaction and live in different worlds (in all senses).
One great example of this closeness is the recent delivery we took of market baskets from Ghana. Of course we get market baskets all the time, as do thousands of retailers (fair trade or not) throughout the USA. We know that our market baskets are a little different – we source through the same importer everytime (Basket of Africa), we know that Cael uses the same weavers all the time, and we see the direct impact of this in the wonderful quality of the baskets that they make. So, when we had some customers asking for a vegan version of a market basket (vegan meaning no leather handle or straps) we were confident we could oblige. What surprised us was how quickly it could happen. The first sample arrived in the spring, and our delivery today included a dozen of the same type.
Isn’t that awesome?!
We haven’t added them all to our site yet, but you can see the images on our facebook page.
We’ve made several references to the Fair Trade Federation Conference we went to in Portland, OR earlier this year.
One of the members that we met for the first time was John, from Jamtown. John makes a great contribution to the work of the Fair Trade movement in the USA; drums have been always been a key way for people to connect, and we used that to great effect during World Fair Trade Day when many groups held drumming events to celebrate the day.
Here’s what John says about Jamtown:
JAMTOWN is a musical place that’s not on any map. It’s a place you visit when you play live rhythm with your friends; a subtle reminder of the common bond shared by all people. And it’s as accessible today as it was thousands of years ago.
This is my tenth year in business after leaving the corporate world! Basically, I am an adventure traveller choosing to work directly with producer groups, and these are usually extended families. The goal is to sustain long-term trading relationships to create economic stability. With your help, we provide critical support to these low-income families through fair wages in the local context and other valuable assistance. Most that I have met convey a love for their work and a gentle approach to life. It is a big reasons I do what I do. I gain critical perspective on my own culture by visiting theirs.
As a Fair trade Federation Member, we support artisans with fair wages and more!
We took our first delivery from Jamtown this week; we’re really excited about stocking their products and will ramp up the selection later in the year.
Here’s a selection of what we’ve got so far:
Turtle Frame Drum, made in Indonesia. Looks cute, sounds better than cute!
Kente Cloth Talking Drum, from Ghana. We’ve had these before, but not of this quality. Squeeze the strings to get a tonal talking range.
Ocarina Necklaces from Peru – animal and traditional.
Just awesome! Molded clay painted by hand. Play almost a full scale using 6 holes. Includes a fingering chart.
The clothing and other items we get from Global Mamas is usually beautiful, and their range is a hit with our customers, but our latest delivery from them this week was just trash.
Here’s the story behind this really cool range:
“One of the biggest problems in Ghana is trash and pollution. If there were a main product that wholly symbolizes this issue, it would be drink sachets. Drink sachets are the most popular item to buy on the street and highway, and due to this fact, they also account for the majority of litter on the ground. This plastic material is chosen because it is easily accessible and hygienic, but it is far from being bio-degradable, and therefore, takes quite a toll when it is not disposed of properly. However, Trashy Bags has decided to take advantage of this durable material by using these discarded sachets to create purses, wallets, briefcases, etc. Items such as these have a much longer and useful life span than their sachet counterparts with which they are made of.
The main goals of Trashy Bags are not just fulfilling its popular purpose of “cleaning up Ghana,” but also to inform the public about the issue with drink sachets. Every customer, contributor, employee, and business partner of Trashy Bags is educated about this problem in Ghana, what the organization is doing to counteract it, and how a single purchase can greatly contribute to these objectives.”