Saturday, February 27, 2010

internship opportunity : social media

Are you a change-maker with an internet habit? A do-good tweeter with a penchant for handbags? One Mango Tree is on the hunt - we're looking for a Social Media Intern. You can be based absolutely anywhere (even Timbuktu!) - as long as you have reliable internet and a love for fair trade, organic, and economic empowerment, you're eligible.

Here's what we're looking for:
  • A really good Tweeter - we need some help in growing our following on Twitter. It's an excellent tool to help grow our retail customer base, but we also want to be THE source for interesting and exciting news in fair trade, organic cotton, eco-fashion, and market-based poverty alleviation.
  • A Facebook Group Grower - just like on Twitter, we need some help growing our Facebook group, and coming up with creative and fun ways to use this tool.
  • A blog-o-rific writer - do you like to write? We need someone that can add content to our blog on a regular basis, related to the topics mentioned above (fair trade, organic cotton, etc.)
  • Get others to write about us - there are tons of people out there writing about the above topics - help us get recognized by connecting One Mango Tree with bloggers and journalists to increase our presence online and in print
The point? You'll get to make a difference without leaving the comfort of your computer. Every additional sale means more jobs for women in Northern Uganda, more kids in school, and micro-level changes in the household that add up to big changes in the social fabric here (read: PEACE).

You'll work very closely with moi (OMT Founder and Director, Halle Butvin - based in Uganda) - via email and Skype - first to assess our current social media, and then to make suggestions and move forward. This is a results-oriented internship, so you must be able to plan and deliver results, in the form of large increases in followers (we're talking thousands) on Twitter and FB, and resulting increase in retail sales and web hits.

Sound like something you'd like to do? The One Mango Tree Social Media Intern is an unpaid position, but you will enjoy 50% off retail price on all One Mango Tree products, all the time.

Send me an email ( explaining your interest, plus your CV and some proof - let's see your blog, Twitter stream, writing samples, etc. Show us what you've got - and come be a part of One Mango Tree. Apps reviewed on a rolling basis.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

momenta workshops : project uganda 2010

portrait: lucy & coin purse

One Mango Tree has been fortunate enough to benefit from the skills of many talented photographers in the past couple of years. Nevertheless, I could not believe my luck last year when Momenta Workshops contacted me for their Project Uganda 2009. Momenta runs a series of workshops targeted at educating photographers - giving them an opportunity to hone their skills in the field, while providing multimedia for NGO partners.

I just met with Jamie Rose, Director of Momenta Workshops - she arrived in Uganda last night for Project Uganda 2010. This year Momenta is bringing five photographers to Gulu, and One Mango Tree is once again lucky enough to benefit - one of their photographers will spend a week at our workshop.

The project appropriately kicks off on Monday, March 8, which happens to be International Women's Day. Stay tuned for photos and multimedia from the workshop.

Check out last year's work - by photographer Stephanie Makosky.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

fair trade throwdown

On March 6, my alma mater, The Ohio State University (BA'03, MCRP'05) Society of Business and Engineering will be hosting the first ever

Fair Trade Throwdown

A competition focused on fair trade coffee, packaging, sustainability, marketing, and strategic business practices. Students will have the opportunity to hear from experts in these fields, gain insight on fair trade certification, design and build a packaging prototype, and present a pitch to sell fair trade coffee at Ohio State.


Halle Butvin, One Mango Tree, Uganda
Connie De-Jong, Global Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
Carol Gill, Department of Industrial Design, Ohio State University
Amanda McGuffin-Noll, The Blue Turtle Tea and Spice Co., Westerville, Ohio
Benjamin D. VanBuskirk, International Development Collaborative, Hilliard, Ohio

Saturday, March 6th
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Scott Lab Room E100

Free lunch, snacks, fair trade coffee and tea, and PRIZES!
Open to all paying members, non-members $5


Friday, February 12, 2010

empowered purchasing vs. handouts

I talk a lot about how One Mango Tree jobs are empowering women in Northern Uganda. Sometimes the listener gives me a sort of twisted up grimace - perhaps a little jaded by the word "empowerment."

Here's a little story.

One Mango Tree is lucky enough to have some generous partners. One day I was chatting with one of them about the tailors' needs, and I mentioned the horrible electricity situation in Gulu (we often lose power for days at a stretch). Our tailors, like most people in the developing world, rely on kerosene lanterns to light their homes - spending as much as 30% of their disposable income on fuel for the lanterns.

I'd just returned to Gulu from a camping trip, where my boyfriend showed me a solar light he picked up in Kampala. The Firefly, made by Base Technologies, is a powerful LED lamp with a flexible neck - you can sit it on the table, hang it from the wall, etc. I mentioned this light to our partner, and he suggested raising funds to give each tailor a Firefly for their home.

A few days later, I charged up my Firefly in the sun and took it into the workshop. I didn't even make it in the door when I was stopped by Alanyo Milly, our cook. She was inquisitive, so I did a 2-second demo (read: turned on the lamp). She immediately asked how much it cost (46,500 Ugandan shillings - about $25 - for the model that also charges your mobile phone), and then told me to bring her one from Kampala.

taking a break at the workshop to show how the Firefly works

As I demonstrated the light in the workshop, Prisca started a list for orders. The idea of a partner raising funds to give free lights quickly dissipated. These ladies saw something they wanted to buy, and used their disposable income to make the purchase.

Okay, you may be thinking, "so what? I do that every day." In Northern Uganda, this little scenario is a really big deal.

On that same trip where I encountered the Firefly, I also read Out of Poverty, by Paul Polak. Within the first few pages of the book, Polak explores the issues that make the above scenario such a big deal: the faulty view that charity and handouts can end poverty. In Northern Uganda, more than twenty years of conflict brought countless donors and NGOs into the region, supplying everything from food handouts to break dance classes. This is a region used to receiving "free stuff." While many handouts were a necessity during the emergency period, the mentality of "something for nothing" has unfortunately persisted - to the detriment of the Acholi people.

One Mango Tree tailors make a great living. They know that if they work hard, they will continue to receive a paycheck each month. As a result, they've begun to change their thinking. Instead of waiting for One Mango Tree to give them light, they saw something they wanted and bought it themselves - not even flinching at what once would have been a prohibitive price tag.

Now that, to me, is empowerment.


attention retailers!

Did you know the One Mango Tree product line is available wholesale? In late 2009, we partnered with Global Girlfriend to scale up our wholesale distribution. A month later, Global Girlfriend acquired World of Good's wholesale business - expanding our reach even further, and adding our unique One Mango Tree products to the beautiful product lines sold by Global Girlfriend and World of Good. You can find us all under a new wholesale brand: Greater Good Wholesale.

Check out the gorgeous Spring 2010 Catalog.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

winter sale

Don't let the cold get you down. Spending too much time indoors? Get online and check out our

Winter Sale!

25-50% off your favorite One Mango Tree items, in the bright African prints you love.

Also, receive a free headband with each purchase (a $6 value, while supplies last).

And, if you're shopping for your sweetie, hurry - order by noon EST on Tuesday, February 9th to ensure Valentine's Day arrival.

And if you need some additional heart-warming, check out our blog to read the latest on Lucy's story - you won't believe the impact your purchases and donations are having on our community!


Monday, February 8, 2010

lucy's favorite magazine

proud mama

When Ohio Magazine's article Fabric of Life came out last March, we snapped a photo of Lucy as she was browsing the magazine in her stall in Gulu. This month, we warmed hearts at Ohio Mag by sending this photo back to the editor with a thanks for all the great press - Ohio readers came out in multitudes to buy One Mango Tree after reading the article. The editor, Richard Osborne, made a note about us in the February issue.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

come on...

This year for Valentine's Day, we're kicking off our "Share the Love" campaign. It started as a fun product made from our scrap fabric and herbs. However, the favorite holiday of lovebirds happens to fall around the same time as the new year's first school term in Uganda. In our workshop, that means that among our ladies, 84 children will be hurried off to nursery, primary or secondary school this month. This send-off is a labor of love, even more so when you learn that almost half of these children are orphans - children of relatives, friends and neighbors who were killed during the war.

One Mango Tree helps our tailors with school fees - providing $15 per term for nursery, $25 for primary and $50 for secondary.

So, to celebrate a much-loved holiday, we're suggesting that you Share the Love - buy a cute little heart sachet for your sweetheart, friend, mom, sister, grandma - and 100% of the price (minus the labor we paid Concy to make the hearts) will help us pay school fees.

And remember, you can Share the Love all year round. There's always room for another heart.


Friday, February 5, 2010

autumn in february?

When Global Girlfriend emailed me this week asking for our fall colors and designs, I quickly glanced at the calendar. It is only February, right? Retailers across the United States are already thinking about their fall collections, and Global Girlfriend is no different. We put together two great collections for Fall 2010 - Coffee Harvest and Indian Impressions. Let us know what you think!

Coffee Harvest

Indian Impressions

In the meantime, stay tuned for the first run of our handmade fabrics, which will be coming out in March, just in time for spring.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

tea break becomes peace break

Violence is something the women of One Mango Tree know too much about - both from the 20+ years of warfare in this region and from domestic violence so often directed at Ugandan women. Participation in the 64-day campaign, Season for Peace and Nonviolence, is a way to affirm belief in the possibility of a peaceful world and to realize the important role each person plays in moving toward that goal.

Above left, a photo of One Mango Tree staff participating in a peace candle lighting to kick off 64 Days.

The Season was born about 12 years ago in the United States, out of the wish of the descendants of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to encourage widespread daily practice of the basic nonviolence principles taught by the two great reformers and peacemakers. The assassination date of Gandhi (January 30) and King (April 4) mark the beginning and closing of the campaign.

During the 9 weeks, tea break at One Mango Tree will also be a 'peace break,' with attention given to a simple-but-powerful practice such as gratitude, self-forgiveness, patience, integrity, service, or creativity. The first week focuses on respecting and loving ourselves, since that's where peace must begin. Visit to download all 64 practices or to sign up to receive them as daily email mini-lessons.


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