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We recently decided to get an outside opinion of how Esse appeals to potential customers and consulted with some clever marketing people. They asked about our social responsibility policy. It was suggested that it might be a good idea, from a marketing perspective, to identify a worthy cause that we could support and talk about to our followers.

ESSE: Talk about it?

AGENCY: Yes, this is how companies show that they have heart and are more than just profit generating machines.

ESSE: We understand but social responsibility is a philosophy, not a marketing tool. We do this all the time.

But it was also pointed out that our customers might want to know this information as a way to make personal choices that are meaningful beyond personal gain alone (by that we mean more than just great skin J).

So we would like to tell you about how our latest project has had an influence on the lives of good people.  We have to start with a disclaimer: we are not the heroes in this story. There are people who give unselfishly of their time and efforts, and without them our financial support would be wasted.

For many rural communities in Namibia (and the world at large), Covid is the least of their problems. As you might guess, support for their real needs has been side-lined by the distractions of the pandemic. For the children of Orupembe Conservancy in Namibia and their parents, an education means the chance at a better future for themselves and their communities. The education is state funded, but each learner is responsible for their own uniform and school supplies. With the area facing severe drought conditions for the last 2 years, most livestock have died and with the death of tourism, there is little money for anything beyond survival.

Esse has close ties with this community. They provide us with some precious starting materials, wild harvested from the desert – this is a separate project and one we would love to see it continue to thrive, so preserving the communities and their traditions is within our best interests (we told you we were not the heroes in this story). Education in communities generally drives urbanisation, which decreases pressure on desert ecosystems due to the fact that communities are less reliant on grazing animals for an income. Although it is not our goal to discourage the traditional way of living, it is also a fact that increased population pressure means that these traditional ways of life place too much pressure on ecosystems if they are exclusively relied upon for survival. We would like to see the desert and its people live in balance.

Even with our support of uniforms and supplies, the children (and parents) of Orupembe Conservancy make great sacrifices to receive an education. Some have to walk more that 20 km to get to school, too far to make the trip twice daily. For this reason, they sleep over in their classrooms with nothing but a blanket on the classroom floor.

Thank you to the organisers of this project for sharing the pictures that follow. Special thanks to Karen Knott and her team for their unwavering support for the people and projects they oversee.