If you have ever found your heart tugged by the idea of child soldiers, AIDS patients, or starving children in Africa then I beg you: SUPPORT ENTERPRISE ON THE CONTINENT. Because a lack of meaningful economic opportunity is at the root of all of those problems. And lucky for you, doing your part to solve the problem can be as easy as sitting back with a tasty box of cookies.
I teach a politics course where we do a section on consumption as political action. The scale with which benevolent outcomes are being intentionally linked to your market behavior is a relatively new phenomena. When considering your purchases, you can now also consider how your purchase may affect fair wages paid to workers, the environment and a host of other social causes. Some folks find it problematic because they worry that consumption will become a substitute for more rigorous forms of political action and voice. That perhaps you will be content to buy your fair trade coffee rather than march on Washington for improved worker's rights. However, it has also brought some form of political engagement to a wider variety of people who otherwise would not have been actively involved.
Which is all a pretty weighty introduction to the reason why I'm hosting my first official give-away contest on this blog. Customarily I try to avoid too much entanglement with marketing folks who approach me to stump for their products. But I am glad to support products that are coherent with the mission of this blog and my own personal disposition. So I was delighted when the good folks at Khaya Cookies approached me. A company with a heart, helping enterprise in Africa and tasty cookies? Heck yes. Read on to learn more about this company and find out how you can enter to win three boxes of their tasty goodies.
Khaya Cookies was the Food Network's 2007 "Edible Entrepreneur of the Year" and has received attention from CNN to NBC to Rachel Ray. Why all the fuss? They sell a tasty baked good made from wholesome inputs, and in the process create jobs for previously unskilled and unemployed South Africans, who receive extensive training to become bakers.
They describe themselves in a way that is likely to appeal to any socially invested foodie: "Our home is deep in the winelands of South Africa. That’s where we source the best of everything that goes into our cookies. From the farmers who grow the organic fruits we swirl into our cookie batter to the artisan bakers who meticulously blend each small batch, our purpose is to make irresistibly great cookies while supporting and creating sustainable opportunities for the local community."
I have been traveling back and forth to West Africa since 2000, and have lived in Ghana for a total of more than 3 years, and my heart is deeply invested in any venture to help built entrepreneurship on the continent. So many people are willing to be moved by mass "aid" campaigns that depict Africans as needy recipients of monetary help unable to help themselves. I love any effort that helps people help themselves by providing long term sustainable skills and employment.
I'm giving away three boxes of Khaya Cookies. To enter all you have to do is add a comment to this post. I'll let you pick your topic: 1. Someplace in Africa you'd like to visit and why OR 2. Your favorite cookie and why. If you'd prefer to do your own post on your blog about Africa or cookies (with a link back to the contest) that will also qualify as an entry, and help spread the good word about the folks at Khaya Cookies. Whether in a comment or a blog post, just leave me some way to get ahold of you (email address or twitter ID) so I can notify you if you win. Entry closes at 5 PM CST on May 14th. I'll randomly select the winner on May 14th from all entries.
UPDATE: This contest is open only to US Residents.
If you aren't the lucky winner, you can still get your Khaya Cookies fix: order online or find them at a store near you (including Peet's Coffee).
Good luck all, and enjoy!