You may remember back in April we waved goodbye to our Andrew and packed him off to Malawi to visit and help out at an innocent foundation project. Well as the culmination of his trip he has just finished editing a short film about his experience. And here it is. It's well worth watching to the very end if only to witness his unique dancing talents.
Some of you might know that we give 10% of our profits to good causes each year, some of you might not. Either way, we thought it was high time we gave you a quick update on where the majority of that money actually goes.
We set up the innocent foundation in 2004, to help build sustainable futures for the world's poorest people. We're now able to support 18 projects with 15 partners, mainly in countries from which we buy our fruit.
We had some updates from these projects towards the end last year, (which is part of the agreement, so everyone can be sure things are progressing properly), and we've now got them all up on the new website. Andrew D is currently out in Malawi with the Microloan Foundation and his final report will be up there soon.
He's updating us while he's there so keep an eye out for his blogs too.
Hello lovely blog readers.
I have one week to go before I head off to Malawi, so thought I'd update you on my progress so far - less cheesy photo than earnest attempt to let people know our plan.
The main aim of sending someone from innocent out to one of the projects we support is to see first hand how the foundation money is being spent. On top of that, it's a great opportunity for us to see things at ground level and to try and bring some expertise to what the Microloan Foundation (MLF) are trying to do out there. The work they have done so far is amazing and follows a "social business" model which this year will impact almost 8000 families in Malawi.
So how exactly am I going to help?
I currently work as a production person at innocent - making sure we plan to make enough smoothies for when we need them as well as helping to improve our production processes. While I'm in Malawi, my hope is that I can use some of my own knowledge (along with the combined expertise of my excellent colleagues at Fruit Towers) to help out in some way. I'll be looking at everything from improving the way fruit is handled to understanding the costs of production and looking at new opportunities for the project in the local market. To this end, apart from the mozzie lotion, rehydration salts, footballs and first aid kit I'm taking with me, I've also been speaking to our juice experts in Fruit Towers as well as our sales and marketing people to pick their brains for advice.
So what's the plan?
The plan is to fly into Lilongwe and then head down to Blantyre. I'll then go up to the juice factory producing the juice for the local market, which is close to a town called Michembo. This juice-making project forms part of MLF’s MicroVentures programme, an initiative which focuses on training clients in higher value business skills. Once there, it's going to be all about checking out how the juice is made and suggesting improvements - I'm a bit nervous about it but really excited at the same time.
Expect more from me in the next few weeks. I'm guessing it will come in fits and bursts (depending on where internet access is available) but you can follow my updates on the section at the bottom right of this blog, imaginatively titled "andrew in malawi".
That's it for now. Have a super week - 5 days and counting till take off.
This is our Andrew D (star of our Big Knit film). He is looking very excited because he has just been chosen as our second ever innocent foundation scholarship volunteer to visit an innocent foundation project. Just like Helen in India.
Andrew will be going out to Malawi later this year to help out with the Microloan Foundation. Through the Microloan Foundation the innocent foundation is currently supporting a number of fruit and vegetable based projects, and juice making projects. One of these, the Chigwirizano project, has kick-started its juice making business but needs some external business advice and help with a simple but effective business plan. That's where Andrew comes in.
Well done Andrew. Keep smiling.
Back in April last year we ran our first innocent foundation scholarship for someone from innocent to go out and visit a foundation project. The deal is that person has to roll up their sleeves while they are there, help out with what needs doing and then come back and tell us all about it.
Our first scholar was Helen who visited the Irula Tribal Women's Welfare Society project and helped them to put together a new website. You may remember some of her updates live from the ground. She also made a little film (above) while she was there.
Now that we've added a conclusion to our first scholarship we can tell you about our second. It's going to be to the Microloan Foundation in Malawi. We've just decided who's going and will give you an update soon. You can be sure that there'll be lots of reports just like Helen's here on our blog later this year.