You may have noticed key terms such as “impact investing” or “social entrepreneurship” pervading the news and social media this summer: Huffington Post, Facebook, you name it. But why? Why is there a popular trend circulating around these ideas?
To start, social enterprises are businesses that tackle social problems, improve communities, or protect the environment by applying the supply and demand of the open market. They attempt to provide systemic solutions to achieve a sustainable, social objective while also creating a successful business. And in many ways, this approach is proving much more effective than traditional charity efforts or in-kind donation campaigns.
One study of impoverished women in Uganda conducted by Chris Blattman, a political science professor at Columbia University, demonstrated how increasing purchasing power through economic development, not donations, can have an immediate and lasting positive impact on a household’s quality of life. He states that increased cashflow, not handouts, is a better solution to the poverty problem, and his findings are not solitary. Many other studies agree that the beauty of this solution is that it puts the purchasing power into the hands of the people who need it most and can use it best, to spend the cash however they see fit to improve their own livelihoods. One pair of donated shoes may last a year, but assisting a household’s entry into a sustainable market can produce enough money to buy shoes for many years to come.
From the very beginning, Kaibae has put people first. These people were not an afterthought or a mere marketing tool; they sit at the very core of our project and our goals. Our mission has always been to improve livelihoods, health, and the environment by connecting people, our planet, and products that are good for you. Therefore, we source our Baobab fruit in cooperation with local harvesters - most of them women - from communities in Northern Ghana, where many of our partners are living in extreme poverty. Some spend less than $2 a day on their basic needs, and many have few opportunities for economic development. By annually harvesting Baobab, we have created a new source of revenue that can be used to improve access to necessities, education, and healthcare for those who need it most. Our team also helps these communities improve the efficiency of other crops through our knowledge and experience with sustainable agricultural development, food production system design, permaculture, and natural resource management.
At Kaibae, we want your purchase and support to do as much good in the world as it can, so we focus on the person or people being helped by carefully listening to their needs and wants. No matter their economic situation, people are people, and they are not helpless or dependent. With the tools and technologies we have available to us today, doesn’t it make more sense to empower a community to fish rather than continuously give them free fish dinners?