Working with Local
Experts to Promote Sustainable Development in Guinea
Enhancing Food Security
and Economic Independence in Rural Niger
Giving Women Economic
Tools to Fight HIV/AIDS in Northern Botswana
Spicing Up Commercial
Agriculture in Southwestern Uganda
The World Quality Council, a non-profit coordinating body that links 52 national quality organizations from around the globe to enhance international cooperation on product quality initiatives, has awarded ADF grantee Mukono Vanilla, a cooperative society of 7,000 Ugandan vanilla farmers, its International Star Award in the Gold Category. The award recognizes Mukono for producing the top quality of cured vanilla beans worldwide. ADF’s grant to Mukono has provided the cooperative with resources to train its members in vanilla agronomy and credit management, helping it expand its supply base, enhance the export quality of its product, double average production per farmer, and increase farmers’ annual income by 128 percent.
The Kgetsi Ya Tsie Women’s Community Trust (KYT) is an ADF grantee working to provide women in rural communities across Botswana’s Tswapong Hills with local income opportunities through the harvesting and processing of local natural products – from oils and soaps, to natural herbs and jams. Laboratory tests conducted at the University of Botswana have confirmed that its marula oil is of the highest quality, arguably the highest in the world. The marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is a prominent feature of Africa’s mixed forest ecology from South Africa to Ethiopia, and African communities have used its sweet, edible fruit – which is rich in Vitamin C – as a food supplement for centuries. In recent years, a number of community development projects in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa have begun harvesting and pressing oil from the marula nut, which has an extremely low natural acidity relative to most other pressed oils. KYT is producing and marketing marula oil and soap to natural products distributors in southern Africa and, through Phytotrade Africa, to cosmetic manufacturers and natural cooking oil producers in Europe and North America. KYT purchases its marula nuts from its women members, who receive about 75 percent of the sales revenue from most of the trust’s product lines. All of KYT’s oil is hand-pressed at its Lerala facility. For more information on how KYT is helping rural women in Botswana find sustainable ways to harvest, process, and sell local resources, go to www.kgetsiyatsie.org.
 In Setswana, Kgetsi Ya Tsie means "a bag of locusts." The trust's name, which extols the value of community-wide effort, comes from the popular Setswana saying, "It takes many hands to hold a bag of locusts" (i.e., it takes many hands to tackle life's many challenges).
Above: Atamelang Disang (center) displays KYT's natural products on a bed of marula nut flakes while Masego Maupi (L) and Doreen Phamelo (R) hoist quality awards that KYT has won in regional competitions and trade fairs for its marula oil. Photo by Bryan Callahan