Connecting Coffee & A Good Cause – A Case Study with Pete’s Coffee & Vision Africa at the iHub

I’ve always been passionate about seeing technology and creativity being used for great cause, especially so if the cause is one that helps society. The iHub where I work from most days is not only Nairobi’s leading open space, but also home to Nairobi’s best barista at Pete’s Coffee.

I’ve known Pete Owiti since the *iHub_ began and we’ve developed a special friendship with him, his wife Christine and their baristas over the years, particularly Rose who runs Pete’s on the day-to-day. So fascinated and enchanted by the coffee at Pete’s have I been that he and I co-created a secret and special menu that’s only available on request – and visible on the *iHub_’s Foursquare page. He’d allow me to pose an idea for a drink (sometimes a radical mix of ingredients) and from that we’ve had many hits (For Pete’s Shake – his signature espresso and vanilla milkshake) and a few misses (Red Bull, Strawberry and Lemonade seems an acquired taste for most.) Yet, we’ve always had fun and I’m happy that he’s open to ideas from the iHub community (+8,000 strong now) at large.

clip_image001After achieving some success with our various experiments I suggested to Pete the idea of having a premium product at Pete’s Coffee that in the same vein as the (RED) brand, donated a part of the proceeds to charity. He was more than open to the idea and that’s when I got to work finding a partner who could complement this and work well for a micro-campaign. At the time I’d met Kirsty McLullich from Vision Africa a few times and interacted with the work she was doing with their Seed of Hope program and how she was able to get a whole number of “tweeps” (Twitter personalities) to join the Standard Chartered Marathon and their various initiatives to raise funds and awareness for the charity. I approached her and put together a working document on Kahawa for Good.

Upon an initial meeting and Pete’s wisdom, he settled on branded water for Pete’s Coffee and went the extra mile of placing the Vision Africa logo on each bottle. An initial look at the first such bottle is below alongside a signature espresso from Pete’s Coffee.

With no marketing and no publicity for the pilot and with Ksh. 10 from each bottle of water going to Vision Africa, Pete tallied up the numbers recently and we had a look at what has been a successful proof of concept and campaign. I called up Kirsty and asked her to come over to the iHub over Pizza Friday (that’s right, Pizza sponsored by Ushahidi for one and all iHub members present) and we gave her the big surprise of a cheque of Ksh. 30,000 (approx. $375). Over 3,000 bottles of water sold over the past 6 months was amazing and the start of something I hope will be truly special. This idea is by no means unique or original, but executed in an elegant way to bring a smile on the faces of Purity and Freddie both at their Seed of Hope program (below) and in Vision Africa’s programs to come.


Myself, Pete Owiti (Pete’s Coffee), Kirsty McLullich (Vision Africa), Purity and Freddie from their Seed of Hope Program

So the next time you’re at the iHub, make sure to grab a bottle of water before you leave, your contribution goes a long way.

  • Sphiwe T. Top Dawg

    Great work guys, all the best with the sale of the water, I hope more people support the cause.

  • Mwirigi

    Good Stuff!!