Bringing Joy to Everyone With Cashews

  • Kaya Nuts
  • Kenya
  • #Employment
    #Human Rights
    #Education

Bringing Joy to Everyone With Cashews

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Impact Employment 30% Human Rights 50% Education 20%
Human
Kaya Nuts Kenya
Impact Employment Human Rights Education

Ms. Miswale Zingizi was born and raised in Kwale County, Coastal Kenya. Kwale County is famous for being the only region in Kenya that raises cashews. Perhaps this is the reason for Miswale’s fondness for cashew nuts.

“In our village, everyone would gather around to harvest nuts from cashew trees. We would then cook them with cassava. That was our village’s traditional dish.”

Maybe some of you reading have experienced allergies after eating fruits. For some people, it completely turns them off to certain fruits. Miswale has had similar incidents before.

“When I was young, I ate cashew apples from the tree with my friends. But my throat and mouth started to itch like crazy. I won’t forget that day any time soon.”

This is because of a fact that is not well-known about cashew trees. The brown parts attached to the fruits are where the cashew nuts are. The peel and the fruit alike contain corrosive oil that is harmful to the touch. After that day, Miswale says that she always pays attention when eating cashews.

After many years, Miswale returned to her and her husband’s hometown of Kwale County for a family gathering. It was then that the aroma of roasting cashews caught their attention. Craving some good old cashew, Miswale followed the cashew seller to a remote village. The scene there was definitely far from the good memories that Miswale had.

The Kwale County that Miswale knew was already very far from being a wealthy county. Even then, the sight of that village was a shock to her.

“As soon as I entered, I saw women of all ages huddled around and peeling cashews with their bare hands. The houses were made of mud, and barely standing.”

Source: The France 24 Observers  

Miswale knew that many people were suffering from poverty. Once she saw it with her own eyes, however, she was in utter shock. Even a small bite of cashew could make your hands and mouth itch. These people were processing them with their bare hands every day. The women who have worked for a long time had their hands blackened from the process. 

Out of the people that raise and process cashews, 62% of them are in absolute poverty. According to Miswale, the women of the village that she visited have to walk 28km for a mere $1.3 of profit per day. For these women, simple things like gloves and protective clothing were a luxury.

“When I saw what these people were forced into, I knew I had to do something. Not just for that village alone, but for everyone in our hometown that was scraping by. I thought that good, stable income was the first step in that plan.”

The current system of selling cashews to middlemen at a minimal price caused insufficient income to those processing the cashews. Soon, Miswale thought of a project that would purchase the nuts directly at good prices and add value to them. This project named Kaya Nuts means ‘Homemade Nuts’ in Swahili. Thanks to the project, women processors are now earning much more for their work.

Now working as the co-founder of Kaya Nuts with her husband, Miswale says that the smiles that were long lost blooming from the women she purchases cashews from is the biggest reward of the business. Join hands with Miswale on her journey to help households with homemade cashews!

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    2023-12-21

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