Following the call from Fairtrade for the G20 Group to support cocoa farmers in developing countries from the worst effects of the COVID-19 crisis, chocolate brand MIA, has committed £500 of its 1 for Change impact fund to help communities in Madagascar combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Although Africa has so far avoided the devastation that COVID-19 has reaped on other parts of the world, the continent faces the risk of serious economic impact and cocoa growing communities will require extra finances for help with handwashing stations, local production of face masks and free meals for vulnerable families.
MIA (Made in Africa) describes itself as a ‘challenger brand’ with a range of chocolates made bean-to-bar in Madagascar to create more value for local communities.
The brand is responding to urgent warnings like the one issued by Phil Boyle, British Ambassador to Madagascar, 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.”
MIA Co-founder Sarah Lescrauwaet said: “Africa is the poorest continent in the world and most countries do not have even a fraction of the health and social security means that we have in Europe. 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.”
She said Money for Madagascar and its partners in Madagascar are taking the 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.”