With the year almost coming to an end, we take a moment to reflect how we have done for 2020. This year was not an easy year for many which is why we believe more than ever in giving back to the community this festive season and making a difference, both big and small.
Here at Zola Collective, we go beyond just being a platform that brings a range of sustainable, vegan, and ethically sourced African products. The core of our existence is to provide community support through the impact we are making by giving back. Every sale we make goes back to help improve the lives of many farmers and small communities in Africa.
As a social enterprise, we are committed to using sustainable harvesting and farming methods, supporting female farmers, preserving biodiversity, and ensuring zero waste. Today, we talk more about our social initiatives and how each product is helping the community one sale at a time.
Women and Community Empowerment
Our Superfoods range are 100%, providing a superior source of antioxidants and essential nutrients. More than packing in the antioxidants, our Superfoods range are sourced in the driest and most remote areas of Zimbabwe.
Due to high population densities, small landholdings, a lack of inputs, and erratic rainfall, farmers are often not able to produce enough to feed their families. Each harvest and sale go back to improving the community, whether as water, sanitation, or education, plus creating a source of livelihood.
Moreover, many of these areas contain a rich diversity of underutilized indigenous plant resources. What is interesting is that wild harvesting, especially the fruit from indigenous trees, is traditionally dominated by women. The collection and processing of marula nuts in some countries, like Zimbabwe, is entirely controlled by local women.
Our moisturizing shea body butter is also sourced in collaboration with two rural women’s co-operatives based in South Sudan and Kenya called Lulu Life. The members from Lulu Life are displaced refugees now living in camps in northern Uganda because of the continued conflict in South Sudan. The women in Lulu Life now have several years’ experience in handling, processing, and manufacturing Nilotica shea butter that enable them to give their families better lives.
Whatever revenue or sales is generated from the products above stays among these women. This has greatly help lift families above poverty line and are empowering more women to be more financially independent, allowing them to give their children better education.
Fairtrade and Zero-Waste Initiative
At Zola, we ensure that no part of the harvested plant goes to waste. Initially when we were harvesting for our Superfoods range, we only used the leaves that created the powder. What we then started to do was to cold press the nuts or seeds of these plants and voila, you get our Natural Oils from our Botanics range. This way, it is a zero-waste initiative that uses all parts of the plant and strengthens our supply chain and employs more people in the process.
Moreover, our dark vegan chocolates are sourced from an organization called Mountains of the Moon, part of the Virunga National Park in the DRC and the Rwenzori National Park in Uganda. Apart from the unique taste and rich bouquet, the cocoa beans from the Mountains of the Moon assists cocoa farmers to establish cooperates and to obtain organic and fair-trade certification. In an area of extreme poverty, the partnership realized a cohesive community and now constitute the lifeline for nearly 700 families.
Our Big 5 Animal Charm Bracelet draw inspiration from the magnificent African game animals which are becoming highly vulnerable due to prolific poaching. While each piece is infused with symbolism, we go beyond this with the impact each sale of the jewelry is generating. We donate 5% of the profits to the Mara Predator Conservation Programme.
The Mara Predator Conservation Programme is a world–class conservation program, providing evidence–based, practical management recommendations, solutions, and ideas with important implications for lion and cheetah conservation both nationally and in the rest of Africa.
Going Beyond and Buying Better
The next time you are purchasing from us, know that you’re not just getting an ethically-sourced, fair trade, sustainable product crafted with love – you’re also helping families and women in Africa better their lives. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
Socially responsible businesses are everywhere. If you want to make an impact with what you spend, there is more than enough opportunity to buy from businesses who prioritize social initiatives, community development, and a healthy planet with each dirham you spend.
The more familiar you get with the social impact, the more you see that positive change is possible and already happening. The community of do-gooders is growing every year, and lucky for us, it is a community that is always open to new members!