North & South - - In This Issue -

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...

Above: Bukonzo Joint beans, fly­ing the colours of Uganda’s na­tional bird.

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