At the young age of twelve she began work in a university research laboratory, studying local wild mushrooms and their potential as a domesticated food source.
Govero and her colleagues in the university discovered that for communities lacking a consistent supply of food, mushrooms offer superior nutrition and have the potential to dramatically contribute to food security. Govero became fascinated with the accessible and nutritious mushroom, and she became an expert at making them thrive with the simple materials readily available even to homeless orphan girls.
Now twenty-three years old, she is cultivating native mushrooms in mulch composed of discarded organic materials, such as fallen leaves and the husks from coffee beans and is on a mission to teach other orphaned girls to find the mushrooms in their local environments and cultivate them for food and income. Govero has already trained a dozen other orphaned girls how to grow mushrooms from coffee pulp. Her plan is to reach out and network throughout Africa to create jobs and alleviate hunger with what is locally available.
What does coffee have in common with girls at risk in Africa?
A determined young woman named Chido Govero, the author of “The Future of Hope.”
Chido never knew her father and witnessed her mother die from AIDS. Her uncle and cousin abused her—which she says is all too often “the price girls have to pay to have a shelter at a family’s plot of land.”
Coffee pulp played a key role in Chido’s independence. At the age of 12 she learned how to farm mushrooms using leaves, dead tree branches, water hyacinth, corncobs, and coffee pulp. Under the ZERI program “Orphan Teaches Orphans,” she is on a mission, convinced that the sure way girls can escape abuse is when they know how to provide for their own food security. And she is teaching them how.
In July 2009 Equator Coffees, a San Rafael-based, woman-owned company known both for social responsibility and artisan coffees, launched Chido’s Blend™ to raise funds to support Govero’s work.
"Chido is an inspiration to all women entrepreneurs who work for social change," said Helen Russell, co-founder and CEO of Equator Coffees. Russell met recently with Govero, who traveled to the U.S. to visit with leaders in the specialty coffee industry. "Chido’s Blend™ will raise funds critical to the success of her efforts, and inspire coffee lovers to look deeper into the power of their morning cup. This takes cause coffee to an entirely new level."
100% of the profits from the sales of Chido’s Blend™ goes toward Govero’s work in coffee growing communities. Her program also receives vital support from the ZERI Foundation, which specializes in international sustainable development.
Chido’s Blend is designed to highlight the supple spice, wood, floral and fruit notes that weave their way through African coffees. It features the best new-crop coffee from Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Kenya.