A GOOD CUP
Coffee with a clean conscience.
If you like to take your coffee with milk and a clean conscience, then Kokako has the perfect blend for you – all the way from the mountains of Uganda.
The coffee roaster has joined forces with Auckland obstetrician and gynaecologist Jackie Smalldridge in a special initiative to help fund much-needed medical services for Ugandan women suffering with terrible complications from childbirth, often caused by inadequate care and facilities.
Each year, some 1900 new cases of obstetric fistula are reported in Uganda, and up to 200,000 women live with the condition, which causes chronic incontinence and social isolation within their community. Smalldridge is part of a team of volunteers who travel to Kagando village, at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, to perform life- changing surgery with the support of Medical Aid Abroad.
“The government hospitals are poorly equipped and staffed, and access is difficult because of corruption,” she says. “It’s ultimately a cultural issue, and it would happen much less if these women were empowered and better educated to make choices about care in labour.”
Smalldridge’s medical team works from a charity-funded local hospital in Kagando with little in the way of modern facilities. In the next village – “down a very dusty and bumpy road” – is the Bukonzo Joint coffee collective, which runs 5500 small farms producing highquality, organically grown, handpicked beans; more than 80 per cent of its members are women.
Sensing an opportunity, Smalldridge began looking for a New Zealand-based company to partner with the co- operative as a fundraising project. When she joined forces with Kokako last year, “it was a match made in heaven”.
Bukonzo Joint beans, which have top notes of blackcurrant, allspice and lime, are on sale in selected supermarkets, online (www.kokako. co.nz) and at Kokako Cafe in Grey Lynn. For every 200g retail pack sold, $1 will be donated to Medical Aid Abroad – just look for the crested crane (Uganda’s national bird) flying the colours of the country’s flag on the logo. LUKE JACKSON
Top: Women with their children in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda, fertile land for growing coffee (top right). Above: Auckland obstetrician and gynaecologist Jackie Smalldridge is part of a volunteer medical team performing lifechanging surgery for women in Uganda.
Above: Bukonzo Joint beans, flying the colours of Uganda’s national bird.