Mamas. You are a pretty big deal.
You fight for us. You play with us, care for us, teach us and plot in our interests. You sacrifice for us. You provide for us.
Bézi’s ingredients are harvested by mamas in rural villages of Zambia and Zimbabwe. These widowed women make a way for themselves, their children and grandchildren through grit, work and relationship with one another.
You might have heard me talk about Bézi’s impact sourcing philosophy. The core is this: use ingredients whose very purchase has a social impact because of who harvests them, where and how.
Years in humanitarian and development work taught me that mamas making money play a unique role in economically poor communities. When mamas make and control money, their children have better nutrition. Girls grow taller. The whole family is healthier. Boys and girls make it through more years of school.
Over time, the better health and education of children and the increased stature and negotiating power of women lead to other benefits for the community.
It starts with money in the hands of mamas.
Gathered under a sprawling mongongo tree in Zambia, I asked several harvesters, “What are your hopes for your children?”
“That they will be able to go to school,” the first woman replied. “That they will have clothing and shoes so they don’t feel shy with the other children at school,” said another.
After talking for a while, I asked them: “Do you think of yourselves as strong women?”
They all began to laugh. “There is nothing else to do but be strong.”
Mamas. I salute you.
(For more on women and economic development, see the World Bank's World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, 2012)