“I believe that farming is the strongest community building tool out there. I believe that a sustainable food system brings people together, honors rich cultures, and nurtures strong minds and bodies. The ability to access healthy, nutritious food is power. The ability to produce that food is freedom.” –Megan Sonier, Mama Hope Global Advocate Fellow
For many of us in the developed world, we are blissfully unaware of the food chains that supply our restaurants and grocery store. But for many in the developing world, sustainable food sources still remains out of reach. Not only do children lack daily sources of nutritious food, but also too often, these communities are impacted by international trade agreements and other interventions into the food market. Often times developed nations subsidize their own agricultural and farming industry, thereby skewing the market prices and preventing developing nations from entering the market. These types of market interventions lead to unsustainable food systems and have devastating economic and ecological impacts on communities.
The reality is that not only do these communities lack the resources to adequately feed and nourish their children, but also that these communities struggle to gain economic footholds in the agriculture market. Yet it is clear that these communities and people deserve the same sustainable sources of food as developed nations. While there are many charities and non-governmental organizations that donate and work toward sustainable sources of food; donating to these types of organizations doesn’t allow one to see the tangible results of your donation. We find large organizations that are “not-for-profit,” like the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, write a check for x amount, and just like that we’ve done our part for our fellow human beings. Maybe you donated the money to a large organization that supposedly aids education efforts in Africa. Someone’s life just got better. Probably. Well, who knows? You don’t know where your money went for sure. So how can you be sure you are making a difference in someone else’s life and empowering people to be self-supporting and entrepreneurial leaders in their communities? What happens is these large organizations come in and try to exert what they think is necessary to improve problems in a community of which they have not been a part. How can you solve problems without a context? Instead of talking to community members and figuring out where people’s money can be best used to support the community, these large organizations just decide for themselves what’s important, and give us an umbrella statement as far as where our money went. “We aided education efforts in Senegal this Spring.” That sounds good enough, but maybe you didn’t know 60% of your donation went to buying desks for additional children when the school really needed books for the children it was currently educating. The next 20% went to the marketing effort needed to convince you to donate, and the remaining 20% went to the organization’s top-level employees’ paychecks (they have to live too to be fair). Does it make sense for kids to have somewhere to sit in a classroom if they have nothing to read? If you knew this, would you have still donated? Probably not, because did your donation make a real difference? Moreover, many of those that donate and fund charities do so out of pity, without recognizing the way that this cycle of savior vs starving child, perpetuates stereotypes.
This combination of a lack of accountability and the savior complex that drives charities is what led MetaMatcha to partner with Mama Hope. Mama Hope seeks to bring real and sustainable agricultural (as well as social and entrepreneurial) change, skills, and empowerment to communities where it will translate to growth for the community and a template for other communities. MetaMatcha is committed to helping the students at the Akili School and the 39,000 people surrounding the Rita Rose Gardens in Kisumu, Kenya, by helping to provide a sustainable system for growing nutritious food. Other than providing food security, we are also working to help the Kisumu community by creating sustainable agricultural practices and innovations to help them start to specialize in certain trades, and grow micro-economies around these items. This investment into the people and the communities allows the effects of our money to be replicated and sustained throughout the community.
Our own mission at MetaMatcha is to deliver the healthiest functional energy to your lives, because you deserve a life where you are clear-headed, healthy, without excess stress, and exceeding your potential every day. We embarked on this mission by finding the most functional and health boosting ingredients and putting them together for the first palatable and truly natural energy shot (we use actual juices, roots, minerals, leaves, not extract flavorings, caffeine powder and sugar). Just like Mama Hope, we are providing our community with healthy ingredients, providing the energy needed to further create sustainable food systems and a sustainable life. We recognize that we’re not the only people who believe in the value of investing in people. This is why we joined in Mama Hope’s cause and helped sponsor our friend Megan Sonier to go to Kisumu, Kenya to work with community leaders in Kisumu to impart sustainable agricultural practices so that no one in Kisumu goes hungry again and everyone has the opportunity to #ExceedYourPotential.