Tagged 'violence'

With ‘Coffee vs. Gangs,’ Kenco helps young Hondurans find opportunity

Honduras is one of the world’s largest coffee growers, but it’s also a very poor country, with almost two-thirds of the population below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. Feeling stuck in an environment that offers little opportunity to get ahead, many young people fall into a life of gangs and crime through intimidation or the promise of status and riches.

Enter Kenco’s recently launched Coffee vs. Gangs program, developed in partnership with JWT London. The coffee brand is sponsoring a yearlong education program for 20 at-risk youth, who will live on a coffee farm and learn the skills required to work in the industry. The effort is detailed on a microsite, coffeevsgangs.com. The program is part of a €200 million “Coffee Made Happy” effort from parent company Mondelēz to make coffee growing around the globe more sustainable by 2020; the company is looking to work with a million small-scale farmers to push a variety of improvements in agricultural and labor practices.

Kenco’s effort illustrates the concept of “shared value,” with the company supporting a good cause while also helping itself by ensuring at least a small supply of well-trained youth. Meanwhile the program helps assure conscientious consumers that, among all the coffee brands claiming sustainability, Kenco is one that’s deserving of their support.

Mexican insurer GNP backs controversial viral video urging politicians to stop crime, corruption

Mexicans are pessimistic about their future. Crime, violence and corruption have become pervasive, and the upcoming presidential elections have only deepened anxiety (the Los Angeles Times reports, “Many Mexicans are utterly disillusioned with the candidates and dismayed at the choices before them”). Last month, a compelling video that quickly went viral asked the candidates, “Are you striving only for the [presidential] chair, or will you change the future of our country?” Interestingly, while the four-minute film features no branding, the insurance company GNP is spearheading the group behind it, Nuestro México del Futuro (Our Future Mexico).

Acclaimed director Mario Muñoz made the dystopian film, which takes viewers through a day in urban Mexico as child actors dressed like adults commit armed robbery and kidnappings, protest and riot, attempt to flee to the U.S., and even take cover from a drive-by shooting. Finally, a girl speaks directly into the camera, saying “If this is the future I can look forward to, I don’t want anything to do with it” and calls on the presidential contenders to stop making empty promises. The video concludes with the text, “We’re millions of Mexicans who want a better future” and directs viewers to the group’s site.

The video struck a chord, racking up millions of views in a few days, and became a hot topic on media outlets and among political leaders; it was banned from television and pulled from YouTube. GNP, one of the country’s biggest insurers, has been subtle about its connection to the initiative, with no overt mention of it on the company’s website, but some of the Nuestro México del Futuro videos (this, for example) are branded.

While the video could be said to foster anxiety, the website is more positive, telling visitors, “You can change the future of Mexico.” People can submit their visions for the future using various digital tools and could also weigh in via a truck that traveled the country. The initiative is an innovative way to help Mexicans feel less helpless and more assured that at least one of the country’s institutions is seeking solutions.