Those of you who have been enjoying our delicious rooibos tea, purchased directly from the small scale farmer organizations of Heiveld and Wupperthal in South Africa, may also be familiar with the work that the farmers are doing to mitigate the effects of the warming climate on their production.
Equal Exchange has been supporting the farmers’ efforts through our purchases and through our Small Farmer Big Change Campaign. This year, we have committed $20,000 to support Heiveld and Wupperthal implement soil and water conservation, enhance biodiversity, and recapture indigenous strategies of natural resource management used by their ancestors.
We are very excited to learn that the Heiveld Co-operative has recently been recognized for its contribution to environmentally sound economic development and has been selected as one of 12 finalists in the 2008 BBC World Challenge competition. Now in its fourth year, World Challenge 08 is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. The winner will receive $20,000 to invest in their project/business and two runner-ups will each receive $10,000.
The BBC has commissioned a film reflecting the achievements of each of the finalists, and these films are now being broadcast globally at regular intervals on the BBC World Service.
We received a letter today from Noel Oettlé, Rural Program Manager, with the Environmental Monitoring Group, a South African non-profit which is assisting the Heiveld and Wupperthal organizations in their efforts to adapt strategies to address the impact the warming climate is having on their crops. He writes about this exciting opportunity, and asks:
“Please spread the world amongst your colleagues, partners, family and friends. It will mean a lot for the Heiveld to win this competition: not only will the funds be invaluable for expanding their tea court, but they expect it will also boost sales of their tea. With a bumper harvest in its store, this is very important to the Heiveld.
Please take a few minutes and vote for the Heiveld. Each person may vote once (and only once), and everyone’s vote will help the Heiveld to achieve a better future. If you have kids in high school, ask them to share this with their classmates. The film is both educational and inspiring.”
We would also like to invite you to view the short video clip and consider voting for the Heiveld Co-operative. If you haven’t yet sampled this delicious tea, highly valued for its medicinal properties, we encourage you try some now!