By Jenny Malina, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
American’s stereotypes of Africa typically consider enthusiastic drumming, colorful art, exotic face paint, sub-par infrastructure, and impoverished cities that survive on foreign aid. However, few realize how diverse the African continent is and how committed individual nations are to helping fellow African countries. Jafuta Foundation is a great example of this. The social enterprise supports individuals who help African communities develop and invests in the well-being of all Africans.
One of Jafuta’s competitive advantages of the Relate Bracelets initiatives is appealing to consumers’ affective side by allowing them to target certain causes with their purchases. To do so, they designed several lines of bracelets each committed to unique causes. I purchased a bracelet from the “Energy for Rural Areas” line because I was baffled by the gap between socio-economic classes during my time in port. Cape Town reminded me of developed beach towns like Malibu or South Beach, while rural areas barely had access to electricity. The overarching objective of this line of bracelets is thus to have simple and sustainable biogas systems installed in as many rural homes as possible. In turn, families will be healthier, women will be more productive, and trees will grow a greener Africa.
In addition, Jafuta Foundation sells bracelets to benefit Africans through investment, donations, and accountability. They created the trademark, “R” to signify all Relate Bracelets they sell as authentic. The proceeds are invested in townships, causes against Malaria, and business operation in addition to energy. In townships, they target struggling families and AIDS-orphaned grandchildren as beneficiaries. Donations for Malaria span more than 90 organizations across the continent and have prevented 1000’s of epidemics. Support for business has helped establish several disadvantaged organizations grow their potential and created transparency, accountability, and operating efficiency for local artisans. In turn, Jafuta Foundation has also created economic opportunities across the continent.