From Aid to Trade
Eva Muthuuri the former Family Health, Gender and Institutional Systems Strengthening consultant remembers sitting at her office on 021 Plums Lane Parklands in Nairobi for the 10th year running. The Sustainable Development Goals had just been announced at the UN General Assembly by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. She called a staff meeting to figure out the future. “The future is in expanding our vision for family health to reflect sustainable sustainability and we have to be champions of aid to trade “read the meeting minutes. The vision to go into agribusiness to improve family health was born.
At Suite G4 Red Brick Apartments is El-Firezo Creations, her husband of 21 years, designer and undying creative Jotham Muthuuri, too is beginning to feel wiped out after 21 years of closed door stiff management meetings and hierarchies, cut throat competition, tight deadlines and endless paper work to help NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, Private Foundations and Governments to strengthen their institutions through creative design and communication. Together they lit a bon fire to signify a break from decades of full time consultancy to revise their approach to sustainable sustainability.
Children of Coffee Origin
Offices repainted in coffee colors and African landscape murals to reaffirm our Kenyan roots and truth that we were children of coffee. We grew up tending coffee plantations in Meru; harvesting and delivering berries to the nearest factory, the proceeds paid our schools fees and afforded us and our neighbors living along the coffee belt around Mt. Kenya a decent livelihood. It was time to go back to our roots. Coffee was calling us by our names. We knew we wanted to truly make the Coffee Value Chain fair and gainful for all again. No one else was coming to do this for the coffee growing families. We had the experience, the skills and the zeal to deliver that change. Our job was cut out for us.
A Visit to the Patriarch
The next step was to visit our only living father (The Patriarch Mzee) Patrick Mburugu in the village town of Nkubu at the foot of Mt. Kenya, a four hour drive from Nairobi. Our father served as an inspector among other ranks at The Coffee Board of Kenya until his retirement at the age of 65. We shared our vision with him and he was more than pleased to start the coaching and mentorship. He still serves as the chairman of various coffee co-operatives in the coffee belt. He immediately, in his wisdom advised us to apply for a dealer’s license and then visit him with it in our fold.
Our products: Eva’s Coffee
He waved us goodbye with a list of his former colleagues’ phone numbers. It took us a whole 3 months to get through the hoops to the make it to the Kenya Gazette Vol.CXVIII – No.84 of 29th July 2016 under the Crop Act No.16 of 2013 – Application for licenses in the Coffee Industry list on page 2960-2961.
Our products: Eva’s Coffee
E-Logistics Ltd became a licensed coffee dealer a month later. Elf Firezo Creations did what he does best, action to strengthen the company through creative design and brand development. AFH designed High-impact development objectives for joint delivery including efforts to:
- Improve the health of coffee farming families; Increased access to health care services including free medical camps
- Increase women participation in the coffee value chain, especially widows and young women.
- Increase the yield of coffee by training of co-operatives, farmers and certification of farms and environmental care.
- Attract competitive prices to reduce poverty and increase incomes.
- Partner with coffee co-operatives, embassies and business institutions to access potential markets.