This month at AdventureWomen, we’re highlighting one of our core values – empowering women, this time through charitable giving and philanthropy. As we expand our horizons and continue to grow as a company, this mission will continue to be part of that vision and we hope will deepen our relationships with both our guests and the women they support, all over the world.
Breast Cancer Research Fund
In October, we honored all women whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer as well as the legacy of our founder, Susan Eckert. We wanted to underscore how seriously we support the cause of ending this disease with a philanthropic donation of 5% of our profits from October to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Our check has been mailed off and we will continue our support of this important initiative.
Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FOTZC)
On our AdventureWomen trips, one of our goals is to introduce our guests to local philanthropic projects that support local women in the communities we visit and introduce them to the women that are involved in these projects. In Tanzania, for example, we introduce our women travelers to Focus On Tanzanian Communities (FOTZC).
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, the goal of FOTZC is to collaborate with Tanzanian communities to overcome economic and social challenges through a working partnership that directs resources toward sustainable projects which meet local community priorities. Special focus is given to proposals that support education and women’s empowerment.
On our 2017 Tanzania adventure, our 8 women guests were invited to meet with the leaders of FOTZC and learn about one of their projects, COCOBA (Community Conservation Banking). COCOBA is a microfinancing initiative designed to teach Maasai women how to open small, environmentally-friendly businesses. The initial training program helps women learn how to create a COCOBA saving and lending group and run it, ensuring the sustainability of the group over time. One third of the women then receive beadwork training, one third learn bee-keeping, and the last group learns leather tanning.
Beading training helps the women design a set of styles for their beadwork that are the most marketable. They learn what styles tourists like to purchase, what colors are best, and how to make their jewelry the highest quality possible. They also learn the best pricing structure for their pieces, and that it is not always advantageous to set the prices as high as they can without considering the possible volume of purchase at lower prices.
The women learning bee-keeping are provided with hives and protective wear. They are taught how to start and maintain a hive, as well as how to harvest and package honey and honeycomb. They also learn to make additional beeswax products so they can sell their products to other local people.
Livestock is the major source of wealth for the Maasai, so leather tanning is a natural business for these women to learn. The women learn techniques for tanning leather and how to produce finished products with it, some with beadwork, for sale in both the local and tourist markets.
We’re so thrilled that many of the women who went on our 2017 Tanzania trip made a donation to FOTZC. Thank you!