On May 26th, 2023, Seibo Japan participated in “Africa Weeks”, an initiative held at Sophia University with the goal of promoting understanding of Africa and deepening cooperation. Seibo organized a lecture open to both high school and college students, and with a fantastic turnout the day was an absolute success!
The lecture, “African Workshop- Knowing Africa Through Coffee”, began first with describing where Malawi is and its culture for guests who may not know a lot about the country or its region.
After this introduction, the increase in infant mortality since 2015 was addressed. In order to combat these rising statistics, the lecture points towards improving access to both education and basic nutrition as key areas for improvement. Combining both of these, Seibo Japan aims to assist in both through funding stable, hot meals at schools in Malawi. In order to raise these funds, the lecture presented coffee as not only one of the top three most commonly grown crops in Malawi but also as a key resource to raise funds. To better support local farmers in Malawi, the lecture showed how Warm Hearts Coffee Club cooperates with and ensures fair trade with its suppliers in the region.
Through Warm Hearts Coffee Club, Seibo Japan is able to do “charity through business”, supporting Malawi through selling coffee from the region to a Japanese audience. Throughout the lecture, it was remarkable to see many students engaging with the material to deepen their understanding of both Malawi and the fundraising work being done in the region.
Participation During the Lecture
To better engage with the guests at the lecture, the audience was given the opportunity to enjoy Malawian coffee and see how the drink was made. This came in the form of a workshop, where guests saw the coffee made on the spot, taught how to actually make it, and then were given an informal quiz to see how much they had learned about Malawi and coffee.
Through this workshop and discussion, the presenters and guests were able to better communicate with each other. One point that stuck out in this discussion was concerning fair trade, and considering how “Fair Trade” is not just a label, but it signifies a relationship focused on delivering a favorable return to the local people who produced the product. Today Malawian coffee is not a well-known product, but as more groups around the globe become interested in the region, fair trade behavior will ensure the funds accumulated from local product being sold will be given back to the community who produced it. What’s more, by having a non-profit-organization participate in this distribution, this ensures that sales will not only benefit the farmers who grew the coffee, but also their surrounding communities.
Overall, by having an active discussion with the participants the lecture was able to evolve into an engaging discussion. With some of the participants being high school students, Seibo Japan hopes lectures like these better educate young Japanese students on a region of the world they might not have learned of otherwise. To that end Seibo aims to increase its connection to schools around the country!
For case studies and past Seibo Japan events with students, please look into this link．
“Being able to drink coffee while listening to the presentation made me feel closer to the topic. In addition, having the discussion with other students allowed me to think more deeply on the subject, and hearing different opinions I had not thought of was interesting.”
Outlook For The Future
Through workshops or events like these, Seibo Japan would like to serve as the medium to educate others on Malawi, showcasing fundraising efforts in the country as examples of how to address issues of poverty and how we might solve them. At this lecture, not only were the guests high school or university students but the presenters themselves were students actively engaged in the topic. The students presenting were graduates of an online course, run by Seibo and its sponsor Mobell (a British company).
As the head of activities held by Seibo, I was very happy to create this workshop with other students who have studied charity and work to educate others. Through the help of my fellow presenters and the students at Sophia University, my hopes for the future were invigorated.
For now, I would greatly appreciate it if any interested in activities like these reach out so we can discuss how to best organize an event and expand our circle of charity. Thank you for your continued support!