Friday, January 31, 2014

Alaffia’s Response to the State of the Union

Today, women make up about half our workforce.  But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.  It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.  This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.” - President Barack Obama

This week the President said, in his State of the Union address, if you put in a hard day’s work, you deserve fair compensation. He also stated that raising the wage for workers is good for the economy and for America. At Alaffia we believe this applies not only to the United States, but across the globe. Everyone deserves equal pay for equal work and the opportunity to provide for their family. We are working to make this happen by paying fair prices for raw materials, fair wages to employees, and through our empowerment projects. If we come together to make this a reality, not just in the United States, but globally, everyone will have the ability to lead an empowered life.
Please share these images to help raise awareness of the benefits of fair trade and a fair wage.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Red Palm Oil - A Cause and a Recipe

Orangutan in the wild - courtesy
of wikicommons
With the recent surge in popularity of palm oil in both natural food and personal care products, there has been a major concern of the effects on orangutans habitats from the growing and harvesting practices of the oil. In many countries forests are cut down to make way for palm oil plantations.  In places like South-East Asia these forests are the only natural habitat for orangutans.  Over the past few years the number of orangutan deaths has increased to nearly 5,000 yearly, and with only 60,000 estimated orangutans left in the world, the species is facing a very real threat of going extinct.

At Alaffia, we use red palm oil and other oils in several of our products.  However, our natural West African palm oil is grown and harvested by small-scale farmers in the Maritime region of Togo. Oil palms are native to West Africa, and have been grown as part of multi-cropped sustainable small farms for centuries. Furthermore, it is important to point out that orangutans do not exist at all in Africa.

If you have purchased some Alaffia Red Palm Oil recently, and are looking for some recipes to use it in, look no further. Below is a recipe that was recently featured in Whole Foods' online magazine Dark Rye.

Black-Eyed Peas in Red Palm Oil
Serves 10
·         1 cup red palm oil
·         2 large red onions, thinly sliced
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
·         1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (omit seeds if you want less heat)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
·         1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
·         1 pound tilapia or other whitefish
·         3 large carrots, cut in ¼-inch slices
·         4 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 6 cups cooked beans
·         1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
·         2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
·         2 cups green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
·         Rice, for serving

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet (the larger the diameter the better). Add onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeños, and cook until onions are caramelized (add ½ teaspoon salt to develop flavor). Add tomato sauce and remaining ½ teaspoon salt (if desired) and cook until tomatoes are reduced. (Note: Adding a little salt at every step develops the flavor.) Add fish and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until fish is cooked through. Add carrots, cover and cook until crisp-tender. Add black-eyed peas, bell pepper, tomatoes and green beans to the pan, stir gently and thoroughly; cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked to desired consistency. Serve over rice.

For more recipes check out the latest issue of Dark Rye, and while your there please watch an amazing video taken by a team that went to Togo to see firsthand the amazing work Alaffia is doing.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Whole Foods' Dark Rye and Alaffia: Fostering a Body of People

Alaffia had the honor of working with Whole Foods Market on a video and story for their online magazine Dark Rye. Whole Foods sent a team to Togo last month with Alaffia's founders to document the Alaffia fair trade cooperatives at work. The compelling video can be viewed below and the article can be seen here.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 - Looking Forward

Dear Friends of Alaffia,

It is my wish this letter finds you and your entire family in good health. I am writing to you today to share my outlook for 2014 so we may together continue to strengthen Alaffia with the end result of empowering our communities.  But first, I would like to present my gratitude to you for all that you have done during 2013 in supporting Alaffia; the extra effort and guidance that each of you has granted Alaffia during 2013 has made it possible for us to conduct our largest community projects to date.  I would like to equally thank you again for all that you contributed towards making our 10-year Empowerment Tour a true success.

Looking towards 2014, I believe with great confidence that it will be a good year for Alaffia. By March, our entire line will have a completely new package refresh, in which we have incorporated your feedback and suggestions.  Our new packaging will ensure Alaffia is noticeable across all the brands, and will make it easier to identify which items are best for personal skin and hair needs. 

On our Togo side, it is with great joy in my heart that I inform you the Alaffia cooperative in Sokodé will be moving to a new location in May.  Our current cooperative location will be transformed into a Maternal Health Training Clinic, fully staffed by Alaffia.  This will lead to an additional 20% expenditure of Alaffia community projects towards the existing Maternal Health Program, with the goal of saving 2,000 women from unnecessary maternal death.  To me this will be Alaffia’s greatest impact in our communities.

Finally, because of the belief and conviction that many of you have, I believe 2014 will be a very meaningful year to Alaffia, and I wish you and your family a very happy new year.

Humbly Yours,

Olowo-n’djo Tchala