Three Avocados

Posted by editor 27/03/2014 0 Comment 3584 views

Three Avocados

By Danielle Aumord: “It had been a long day. We were all tired and eager to get back to the comfort of our hotel in Jinja (Uganda). And then it happened,” explains 33-year-old Joe Koenig, as he outlines how the not-for-profit organisation, ‘Three Avocados’, that he started, came into being. They sell coffee with 100% of the net proceeds going towards clean water projects in Uganda and educational projects in Nicaragua, Central America.

Let’s back-track to look at the facts: Currently almost one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. As a result of drinking dirty water, many children die from diarrhoea and dehydration. In Uganda, it’s the job of young girls and women to collect water for their families, which often means walking four miles or more, to carry back water that isn’t even clean.

In January, 2010, Koenig had an opportunity to visit Uganda, and this is where the story of ‘Three Avocados’ started – in the materially poor and remote village of Bulopa. Koenig says that this trip opened up his eyes to what he describes as ‘things that I thought only existed in a National Geographic special.’ He describes it as ‘a world where people actually live in mud huts, a world where children are literally starving; where the nearest water source is a mile away. And you’ll get sick if you drink it; A world where orphans are raised by the village. A world rampaged by AIDS, malaria, and thousands of other things I couldn’t even imagine.’

Fast forward to 2014 and ‘Three Avocados’ have set up 16 clean water projects in various Ugandan villages. A defining moment for Koenig was actually when he came face to face with someone approximately the same age as him, laying out underneath a tree in complete exhaustion. “I understood that I was no different than he (despite being born in different parts of the world).It was the moment when I realised that I wanted to do something to try and help the less fortunate of the world. With that in mind, I started ‘Three Avocados’. It’s my goal to create something bigger than myself…something that can have a lasting impact on the poor, the homeless, the addicted, the less fortunate.”

Inspiration for the namesake came when Koeing with his companions were been invited by members of the local community to a church service in Bulopa. Despite being four hours late on arrival, they were enthusiastically greeted by the entire village. Within the service, a basket for offerings was passed around and a poor widow gave three avocados. “That widow had given all she had to ensure someone else could eat (and I thought to myself) what a beautiful gift,” he adds thoughtfully. “It was that simple gift that inspired us. We left Uganda brainstorming ways that we could help. Our goal is to do everything we can to ensure the poor throughout the world are cared for and never forgotten.”

The team here hope to expand their clean water projects into other developing countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Guatemala. They also aspire to open a chain of coffee shops across the US and Europe. “I want Three Avocados to become a household name allowing us to generate millions of dollars to fund clean water, education, and more every year. Clean water gives a village hope. (It means that) young girls are able to attend school instead of spending hours collecting water. Children and young people will no longer be too sick or weak to attend school. A better education leads to an opportunity to earn a better living. Clean water is the first step to education, to the economy, and to ending poverty. Clean water is hope.”

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