Mavis Nduchwa built the honey wine and honey aggregation business, Kalahari Honey in Botswana using the ingenious Beehive 'fencing' to keep wild elephants out of farms as the baseline. Through it, Mavis developed a business that also employed and trained women beekeepers to tend the fences and collect the honey.
She sought to help close the gender gap, contribute to food security and conservation by using bees to uplift livelihoods for women in rural areas, as well as teach conservation and smart agriculture. Employment gave these women the economic independence to improve the quality of their lives, and through their own lives, also their villages and children.
Her use of the simple, sustainable, fence solution mitigated the conflict between human and elephants, added significantly to bee population restoration, generates income for 500 rural women and their families who harvest the honey from beehives and revived communities.
"THIS INCREDIBLE SOLUTION NOT ONLY CREATED A BUSINESS, BUT LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR HOW FUTURE LEADERS CAN SOLVE GLOBAL PROBLEMS WITH LOCAL SOLUTIONS. SHE WAS AN INNOVATOR IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD, AND LEAVES AN INSPIRATIONAL LEGACY BEHIND FOR FUTURE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS EVERYWHERE."(WE Empower)
I will always be indebted to people like Mavis and others like her, who I have initially met through global women's campaigner (among other things), Amanda Ellis. Before I came into this sphere, I believed that empowering women was getting the good ones promoted in their jobs. That is of course a somewhat narrow western white privilege vantage point.
Most women in our world are empowered by simply being seen. By being given the chance of a job and independence. Jobs that get them, their families and communities out of poverty, enslavement and forced marriages.
More of us need to lift our eyes more often above our laptops, work stations and boardrooms, beyond our zoom calls, to the very real plight of many #nonfirstworld women. I can honestly say that I didn't give a second thought to the empowerment of women until I did that. And once you see it, you can't unsee it. I promise you will be way better person for looking.