pierrette benin

Growing Women’s Empowerment Through the Moringa Tree  

Olivia Hayden Sub-Saharan Africa, Supplier Partnerships, Whole Foods Market Stores 0 Comments

Meet Pierrette, a mother of five, a moringa farmer, and entrepreneur from Benin, West Africa. After tragedy hit her family, she formed a moringa farming cooperative. She was able to pull herself and 133 women members out of poverty by growing, processing, and selling moringa tree leaves.

Growing Women’s Empowerment Through the Moringa Tree from Kuli Kuli Foods on Vimeo.

Moringa grows abundantly in West Africa, and offers nutrition, livelihoods and environmental restoration to the local communities. Its high levels of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A have led many international development organizations to advocate the plant as a “natural nutrition for the tropics.” Kuli Kuli is a mission-driven business that utilizes moringa as a tool for nutritional security. By importing a portion of the moringa to the US for our products, Kuli Kuli has created an international market for moringa and a sustainable livelihood for women and farming communities around the world.

This Earth Month, Kuli Kuli is celebrating Moringa Miracle Makers like Pierrette who harness the moringa tree to make change in their communities. Pierrette’s story affirms the moringa tree’s potential, particularly when used as a business tool to empower women. Kuli Kuli works with farmers like Pierrette to improve the quality of their moringa and strengthen the capacity of their farms to become future Kuli Kuli suppliers. This additional capacity building is critical. As tenacious and hardworking as entrepreneurs like Pierrette can be, in order to grow and be successful, experienced partners and access to capital is key.

In an effort to support even more women entrepreneurs, Kuli Kuli has partnered with Whole Planet Foundation to donate 15% of its sales at Whole Foods Markets in April to provide microloans to entrepreneurs living in poverty. Whole Planet Foundation works with microfinance institutions in the developing world to help entrepreneurs with little to no access to capital. Most of the entrepreneurs who receive microloans are women, who traditionally have fewer resources and less access to financial services.

Women like Ayele (left), from Togo, show us that even a microloan can make a difference in generating income and growing a business. From a $110 business loan from WPF partner Assilassimé, Ayele was able to buy two 100 kg bags of maize that have allowed her to make up to $42 a day and slowly pay back her loan every two weeks.

ayele in togo

Ayele (left) stands with grains she purchased with a microloan from WPF microfinance partner Assilassimé in Togo. Photo: WPF’s Brian Doe

Ayele and Pierrette are leaders in their community and examples of how small businesses can make a difference. Supporting women to have access to quality and decent work and improve their livelihoods is vital for reducing poverty, eliminating gender inequality and fulfilling women’s rights. Companies like Kuli Kuli, in partnership with Whole Planet Foundation, can offer impactful support to women entrepreneurs who need it most.

About Kuli Kuli:

Founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer, Kuli Kuli is on a mission to use nutrient-rich plants like moringa to improve nutrition and livelihoods worldwide. Moringa’s high levels of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A have led many international development organizations to advocate the plant as a “natural nutrition for the tropics.” Kuli Kuli is a mission-driven business that utilizes moringa as a tool for nutritional security. It has four product lines including it’s Moringa Superfood Bars, Pure Organic Moringa Powder, Moringa Green Energy Shots. By importing a portion of the moringa to the US for our products, we’ve created an international market for moringa and a sustainable livelihood for farming communities around the world. With a rise in demand for moringa, an increase in production and consequential consumption is occurring in the villages where moringa is grown. Kuli Kuli is incentivizing communities that struggle with malnutrition to invest in a nutrient-dense plant that will nourish their community, both nutritionally and economically.

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