Shaking Hands Under the Marula Tree–The Limene Women’s Cooperative and Farm to Girl’s 20% Donation Trip

Dr. Kim Warren-Rhodes spent 3 weeks in 2015 on a Farm to Girl 20% Promise Donation trip in northern Namibia.

Kim’s story: “In April, I had the privilege of meeting the women in one of the women’s cooperatives that helps produce the marula nuts and oil Farm to Girl uses for our Fountain of Youth and Namibian Miracle lotions and to start a new scholarship fund to help young women attend university.

During the trip, I talked with many women colleagues throughout Namibia, including Salmi Maria and Lauvinia Shikongo, both long-time social workers in Namibia, as well as Dr. Gillian Maggs-Kölling, a plant botanist and head of the Gobabeb Research Station of Namibia, about Farm to Girl’s mission to support women and girls’ health and education and to identify actions to empower women in Namibia and around the world. I also sought advice from young women where our marula oil is grown and where poverty among rural families is still rife.

We all related stories about how going to college was not an easy thing for any of us. But, as I learned, the obstacles are even higher for young girls in rural villages in Africa. Even though many of the women in the marula cooperatives save every cent of their earnings to support their children, there is often not enough money to ensure that eligible young women in the area are able to attend university.

The ladies of the Limene Nelumbu Marula Cooperative welcoming Dr. Kim Warren-Rhodes to their office. Farm to Girl supports the coop through fairly traded purchases and a return of profits thru the 20% Promise program. Photo Credit: Kevin Rhodes

These barriers were on my mind when I met Salmi, and her 82-year old mother, in the tiny farming village about 20 km outside of Ondangwa in northern Namibia. This rural region has one of the highest poverty rates in Namibia, and as we saw on our drive north, many people live in one-room tin huts and subsist as small-scale farmers, ranchers and goatherders.

Salmi is a former social worker who has been working against great odds over the past 20 years in Namibia to empower and lift women by harnessing their traditional customs and hand-made products like marula and Kalahari melon seed oils.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Salmi told me the marula ladies wanted to meet me at their ‘office’. Here’s the welcome I received, which brought tears to my eyes and was one of the most inspirational ‘office’ meetings ever!

Click Link to Welcome Ceremony Video

Farm to Girl’s 20% Promise Donation Trip and meeting with our friends at the marula oil cooperative in northern rural Namibia. Photo Credit: Kevin Rhodes

After the welcome ceremony and introductions, Salmi and I met with the Women’s Elder Council, who voted to start a Farm to Girl scholarship to help young women attend university. They are now soliciting formal applications to award the scholarship to its first recipients.

Kim joining the Elder women’s Council of the Limene Nelumbu Marula Cooperative. Photo Credit: K. Rhodes.We hope you are as excited as us about the new scholarship fund and Farm to

Girl’s Fresh + Fair + Free mission. Just know that every time YOU purchase a lotion, lip balm or Farm to Girl product, you are helping women to achieve their dreams!

THANK YOU for a making a positive difference and empowering women around the world by supporting Farm to Girl and the women’s marula cooperatives in Africa!


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