UK chocolate brand MIA supports Madagascar communities with funds for face masks
UK chocolate brand MIA, short for Made In Africa, has moved to support communities in Madagascar hit by the coronavirus pandemic through committing £500 of its 1 for Change charitable fund to enable local production of face masks and free meals.
As the ethically-minded confectionery business noted, according to a recent BBC report, Africa has until now avoided the worst effects that Covid-19 has impacted on the world, but the continent faces the risk of serious economic impact.
For their part, fair trade CEOs have already called on the G20 Group to support cocoa farmers in developing countries from the worst effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
MIA, a challenger brand with a range of chocolates made bean-to-bar in Madagascar to create more value for local communities, wants to help fight the coronavirus at this relatively early stage when interventions can have the biggest impact. The brand is responding to urgent warnings like the one issued by the British Ambassador to Madagascar, Phil Boyle, who warned in early April that, “The island has minimal health infrastructure, with 10 doctors for every 100,000 people. If developed countries don’t step up, the humanitarian consequences could be considerable.”
Speaking to Confectionery Production on the initiative, MIA’s co-founder, Brett Beach, said: “Supporting initiatives to combat Covid-19 in Africa is really important for a few reasons. On the one hand, most African countries are at the beginning of their battle with the coronavirus and early action has proven to be crucial. It is also incumbent upon us to help one another in this time of need, and the need in Africa is critical because communities are more vulnerable and have less support when they fall ill. Most people have to purchase staple foods daily at open air markets where human contact is a necessity and, unlike Europe, they cannot rely on strong healthcare systems to treat the coronavirus. Aside from the good it does in and of itself, supporting the fight against Covid-19 in Africa also helps shed light on the situation and encourages others to join the cause so that, together, we can make a positive difference.”
Fellow co-founder Sarah Lescrauwaet explained the project to combat Covid-19, noting that with Africa being the poorest continent in the world, most of its countries do not have even a fraction of the health and social security means that are available in Europe.
She said: “In Africa, people have to do their shopping at outdoor markets and many live day-to-day, so stocking up on essential food items is impossible. Needless to say, Amazon home deliveries are not an option. Worse yet, many vulnerable families find themselves sacrificing daily meals because they cannot earn their daily wages.
“It’s great that Money for Madagascar and its partners in Madagascar are taking initiative. We’re proud to support their work. Women who are unemployed due to Covid-19 now have jobs making masks, and these same masks will protect first line responders. Additionally, handwashing stations will be set up outside markets to reduce the likelihood of infection where human contact is unavoidable for purchase of staple foods.”
Money for Madagascar also supports vulnerable families that now have face a dual challenge; their children no longer receive a complimentary school lunch and parents now only have half a day to earn a living due to partial Covid-19 lockdown in Madagascar.
Sarah: “We know that the Covid-19 problem is bigger than any single effort but we believe that working together we can make a real difference to people in need, and this is exactly why we created the 1 for Change impact fund when we launched MIA. If bigger brands with significantly more revenue also step up to do their part then we can make a big impact in producer countries.”