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What is your piece in the puzzle for good?

What I love about the work of Mocha Club is uncovering the opportunity and potential that exists as a part of the human spirit. I entered this work like many – wanting to change the world – and continue to be struck at how much bigger that concept is than one person. So what is my piece? What am I to lend my hand to, to lower my shoulder, to dig in, to leverage my voice for?

I’m going to champion the boundless opportunity and possibility – the flourishing and quality of life that is already happening in the places crowded with hunger, desperate in need, struck and stuck in poverty. I want to walk into the room, paint a picture that is so unlike what you were expecting from a non profit president, invite you to the party, and drop the mic. Its so much more amazing than you could ever dream. (and its more horrifying than words could articulate). Where my western privilege, my graduate education, my religious affiliation taught me to see need; I discovered solutions. Where you see desperation, we see opportunity. We believe that every human being is endowed with value, dignity, skill, and creativity. No matter their age. No matter their condition. No matter their zip code. No matter their education.

And we have a choice. One life-altering, world changing choice. We can choose to leverage all of who we are for one another. To fight for, to include, to passionately dream and pursue, to express, to honor, to champion opportunity and possibility for ourselves and the world around us. The truth is – that’s what makes for a quality of life we all aspire to. That’s what unleashes human potential and drives human flourishing.

Emily Blackledge, Mocha Club President


Wait, how does this whole thing work?

It’s a crazy comparison, right? That you could make your coffee at home a few times a month and that savings could make a real difference in Africa?

Since it’s sometimes hard to believe a little could mean a lot, we decided to take you through how the whole thing happens in 3 steps.

Step 1: This one is on you. You commit to give up a few mochas a month. Just $18 – maybe 4 or 5 mochas in a 30 day span. That’s only a few mornings each month you make your coffee at home rather than grab it on your way to work. Totally doable.

Step 2: This is the step you don’t see. It’s also the most important one.

Mocha Club works through education. Our local Country Directors identify local lay leaders in positions to spur change. Those leaders go through a 9-month course, co- created by our Country Directors and tailored to an African context, that teaches those in positions of influence to conduct social analyses, prioritize community needs, identify local assets and resources, develop a plan of action, budget and timeline that plan of action, and then enact the solution and measure its impact.

Step 3: This is the celebration you see in updates from us – the orphan care projects, the trauma-healing groups for children of war, the new water wells, the schools. These are the final products that come out of that course and are enacted by those local leaders. By supporting the education of that one local leader, you put kids in school, you restore hope to the victims of war, you provide clean water – the possibilities are endless!

Interested in hearing more now that you know how we make your mochas matter? Learn 3 reasons why your mochas matter here.


New Leadership at Women at Risk : meet Nebiyu!

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Nebiyu, the new Director of Ellilta Women at Risk. Started by Serawit “Cherry” Friedmeyer twenty years ago, Ellilta has helped over a thousand women break free from the sex trade. As Cherry began to contemplate retirement, Ellilta’s board of directors began a succession process that led them to someone who can carry on her legacy, someone with a deep understanding of the program, someone dedicated to ensuring Ellilta remains open to all those desperate to leave behind life on the streets. That someone was Nebiyu.

To help introduce himself, Nebiyu has written a letter to you…

Hey friends, I hope you all had a nice Christmas and New Years celebration!

I am Nebiyu Haile and I am serving as the Director of Ellilta Women at Risk. Though it has just been about two years since I started working here as a Program Manager, I have been in touch with EWAR for more than three years before joining. When I was working as a director of a faith-based organization, we had a project that aimed at helping women in prostitution and we approached EWAR to help us design and implement that project. Such contact helped me to know more about EWAR and the great work it has been doing to help women in prostitution get out of that business and start a new lifestyle. As a result, when I got the opportunity to join EWAR, it did not take me too much time to decide!

When I was a kid, I got the chance to join an assisted child development project which was being implemented in one of the local churches around our area. As I look back, being part of that project played a great role for the person I am today. It’s through this project that I came to know about Jesus Christ which led me to accept Him as my personal savior. And passing through this project also helped to develop an interest towards charitable and social works. Thus, I consider myself very lucky to have the chance to serve at EWAR!

Working with women who have a distorted self-image is very demanding and needs lots of effort. There are also other external factors which make our work difficult, but when I look at the vision of EWAR, the commitment of the staff and teamwork that is part of EWAR’s culture, it helps keep me going. Seeing the hope of the women we are serving be renewed and their lives brighten are some of the things that bring me great joy!!

Will you help welcome him to our community? Introduce yourself, send a quick “hello,” or share some encouragement with Nebiyu here!

Every day, Nebiyu helps women stuck in the sex trade build restored, healthy, and hopeful new lives. Every month, by giving up a few mochas, you too can give these women a chance to receive counseling, life skills, and job training.

Will you do your part and join the Mocha Club community today?



3 Reasons Your Mochas Matter

A word from Mocha Club President, Emily Blackledge:

You’ve heard us say it over and over: you can make a difference simply by giving up the cost of a few mochas a month. But we’ll be the first to tell you – there’s no comparison between what you give and what you get.

While your lack of caffeine is temporary, your impact is not. Why? Because Mocha Club is dedicated to making sure your mochas matter long-term. Here’s how:

1. Collaborative Relationships : “We” is our favorite pronoun.


If you have been engaged with an organization or visited some of their work and you only hear “us,” “them,” “theirs,” or “mine,” it is a telling example of a group divided. Without shared values, a common vision and dreams, the work being done belongs to only part of the group. In the long run, these projects and partnerships tend to end poorly. Mocha Club’s strategy is different. Your mochas help provide education for local leaders in the form of a community development course of study — a course co-created by representatives from multiple African countries that takes these leaders through the process of identifying, prioritizing, and addressing community needs. The local community development class in Mvera that proposed the water project we told you about on World Water Day spent months surveying neighbors, friends, family, local businesses, schools, and more to get to a consensus on the greatest need in their area. Not the greatest need for one part of the village or the greatest need to one segment of society or even the greatest need as assessed by Mocha Club the greatest need for the community as a whole, identified by the community as a wholeA community ceremony was just held to lay the foundation stone for the new water project. Here you see traditional leaders, church leaders, police and the Malawi Defence Force, government officials, and local residents. All turned out to collectively celebrate the beginning of the project. Mvera’s original well was built by missionaries and not owned by the community. This time around, “we” is who owns the project – everyone was involved in naming the need and finding a solution, each household will register to use the water and contribute a monthly fee to pay for upkeep and maintenance, and a local committee will be nominated to oversee the project’s continued success. When Mvera residents are still enjoying clean water decades from now, it’s your mochas that made it so.

2. Meaningful Impact: We know who calls the shots.

And it’s not the group of us sitting in offices here in the United States. One of the reasons Mvera has a water shortage is because it is in a hilly area full of rocks and the water springs dry out during the dry season. The other reason is man made. Mvera is in the Dowa district of Malawi – a district that Leonard, our local Country Director, tells us was “the first district in Malawi created by colonial masters” and means “a place of wild animals.” The well in Mvera was originally dug by missionaries. What was once 36 meters deep and fully functional turned into 7 meters deep and not at all sufficient for the community. Local Malawians didn’t determine its location, they weren’t trained on its upkeep, they weren’t involved at any point of the well’s life cycle. During its research, the community development class in Mvera discovered several potential needs during a social analysis – employment, education, health care. But because they approached the situation from a place of “we,” the community of Mvera determined on its own that the most pressing problem was the water shortage. It makes perfect sense — why would a group of people from a different culture, speaking a different language, be able to determine the best course of action for a community halfway across the world? How would my community know if the next best tool for the Mvera community is a grade school or a water well or a pig farm? Your mochas matter because the people calling the shots are the ones on the ground, the ones that know their communities inside and out.

3. Creative Solutions: We build with what we have.

An accurate understanding of reality is important, but leading with the worst qualities doesn’t really inspire anyone’s participation. We already know that without everyone’s engagement, without “we,” development isn’t sustainable. When strategy is focused on what is working – assets to build on, tools that already exist – you can do things you had no idea could be done. For example, in researching the options for a water solution in Mvera, the local class discovered that they already had much of what they needed – river sand, rocks, quarry stones, manpower, and expertise. They consulted professional builders in the community, engineers, the local electricity supplier, a pipe company, and the local government. Once this project is complete, they’ve already dreamed of building on it and expanding access to more and more people. Building with what you have attracts others (and their talents and resources) to join the dream. Asset-based development makes your mochas matter long into the future.


Community Update:

I am glad to report that the Mvera water project is progressing well. After the laying of the Foundation Stone, people in the community began the work and it has been very successful. Right now the community is mobilizing locally available resources for the construction of the tank (water reservoir). Here are photos showing the laying of the foundation stone and the actual work beginning.  – Leonard Chipangano, Malawi Country Director

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We are hiring a new position for our team : Member Care Coordinator. This person will be the first point of contact with the organization and is responsible for creating a warm welcome to new members & friends of Mocha Club! Read more responsibilities & expectations below.

Applications are due Friday, April 28th with an immediate start date.

Apply by email with your resume to info(at)



NEW Spring 2015 Mochaterns are here!

It may not feel like Spring in Nashville but our 2015 Spring interns are here and we are so excited to have them this season! Meet Sarah, Taylor, & Annie…

Name: Sarah Roberts 
Nickname:  I have never had one.
Hometown:  Weatherford, TX
University/Year/ Major: Belmont University/ Junior/ Public Relations
Favorite place: I love coffee shops, so probably any coffee shop.
Walk up song: Anything by Switchfoot.
Guilty Pleasure:  Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill. Love those T.V. shows.
How do you take your mocha [coffee]?  Any coffee as long as there is cream and sugar to add.
Nashville Bucket List:  Visit every local coffee shop and go to a show at the Ryman.
Why are you excited about interning with the Mocha Club?  I’m excited to see what it takes to run an organization like Mocha Club and to be a small part of an organization that is making an impact. Plus they are partnered with some awesome artists (Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz and Parachute are my favorite people.)

  Name: Taylor Embry

  Nickname: Tay

  Hometown: Murfreesboro, TN

  University/Year/ Major: Belmont University/         Freshman/ Publishing

  Favorite place: My favorite place is in my bed with   coffee on the bedside table, in comfies, reading the day away with a good book.

  Walk up song: Laura Palmer by Bastille.

  Guilty Pleasure: I definitely jam out to T Swift’s new   CD when driving to the office in the mornings.


How do you take your mocha [coffee]? So, Bongo/Fido has this speciality drink in the summer called Grey Skies and it is AMAZING. Coconut milk, bergamot syrup, espresso, and chocolate shavings sprinkled on top. Coffee heaven.

Nashville Bucket List: Hmm. I would have to say going to The Pharmacy is definitely in the top, next to standing through the night outside Bridgestone to get free CMA tickets.

Why are you excited about interning with the Mocha Club? I am beyond excited to work for Mocha Club because I love what the organization in its entirety stands for. Everyone in the office is sweet and I can tell there is a bond here with all the staff. Its an incredible experience and I’m excited to see what all happens in the span of three to four months!


Name: Annie Pickle

Nickname: Pickle

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee

University/Year/ Major: Belmont/Sophomore/Music Business and Video Production

Favorite place: Salzburg, Austria

Walk up song: Uptown Funk

Guilty Pleasure: Laying on the incredibly soft carpet I have in my dorm room whilst blasting the Beach Boys on my record player.

How do you take your mocha [coffee]? I will drink practically any coffee you put in front of me, but my favorite is probably iced coffee with creamer.

Nashville Bucket List: See as many concerts as possible (I have still yet to see one at the Bridgestone or go to the Bluebird Café, so those are two musts), visit Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, go inside the Parthenon, and tour the Tennessee State Capitol building.

Why are you excited about interning with the Mocha Club? I’m extremely excited to intern at the Mocha Club because I have a passion for Africa and the people there. I have been to South Africa twice and will always cherish my time there and the relationships I was able to make. I love the work the Mocha Club is doing because giving up the cost of a couple mochas a month is something anyone can do. People who have wanted to make a difference but didn’t think they could because they do not have thousands of dollars or time to take a trip halfway across the world, now can. I can’t wait to see what this semester has in store!

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Inspire others to join YOUR club!


Looking to share your impact in Africa with those around you?  Our dear friends, Hayley Morgan and Shannan Martin share how they got involved in Mocha Club and how they have rallied their friends and family to join their hearts in serving Africa!


How to use your voice:

1. Watch the video.

2. Invite other to join Mocha Club with you using your unique invitation URL on your Mocha Club account. (Forgot how to log in? Email!)

Download the sharable Mocha Club banners at

AFRICA TRIPS, Featured, HQ, Uncategorized

Internship Opportunity : Travel to Uganda!

Ever dreamed of living in Africa for a time and working on the ground directly with the partners and projects you support?  We have an incredible opportunity for you!

As part of the African Leadership family, our partners at Know Think Act are offering an amazing internship experience in Uganda.  Interns will have the opportunity to work with Mocha Club partners on the ground in Africa for six months!


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“We are looking for a Uganda Program Coordinator to live and work in Kaihura, Uganda for approximately six months. This individual will be responsible for coordinating our ongoing work with Bringing Hope to the Family, a Partner of Know Think Act. Their duties will be threefold: working with volunteer teams on the ground, telling the story of Know Think Act through social media, and training our Partner’s staff in working with our organization. The Uganda Program Coordinator will be trained at our Nashville offices before they depart for Uganda, as well as trained by KTA staff on the ground once in Uganda. They will be required to fundraise for the position and will be paid a monthly stipend out of this amount. The assignment will last approximately six months with the option of extending upon approval from Know Think Act and Bringing Hope to the Family.”





Fall 2014 Internship applications : DEADLINE EXTENDED!

GREAT NEWS! The deadline for the Fall 2014 internship applications has been extended! The new deadline is Monday, July 7th!

We have done a little remodeling to our internship program and are excited for what this next internship season will look like!  We are now offering four different department focuses including: 

  • Marketing
    • We highly value the way we look and feel in the print + video world. Work with our team on design projects from brainstorming to implementation. Interns will design smaller projects on their own, and work with our freelance designers on larger projects (both web & print). Applicants with a working knowledge of Photoshop and/or adobe illustrator for the mac are preferred. 
  • Communications
    • You know what they say – communication is key. We’re all about expressing a message well and sharing the stories of the organization with as many people as possible through as many avenues as possible! This applicant needs to enjoy researching + brainstorming, and really love to think outside of the box. Proven writing and journalism skills and an online presence are a must.
  • Artist Community
    • We are honored to work with multiple partners in the local and national scene – from writers to speakers to musicians. This internship would involve the entire event process – from brainstorming through to implementation of an event with one of our community partners. Work alongside our Community Relations team, to equip and prepare our partners to use their platform & represent our organization well. This applicant should have experience in event management. Must be an organized self-initiator and a confident communicator, with the ability to multi-task.
  • Program Management
    • Our Africa Programs team works with our staff and partners across the continent of Africa to implement strategy and programs that fulfill the mission of our organization. This team environment works with community leaders in Africa implementing their community’s vision whether that means a water well or a primary school. This applicant should have a strong passion about the continent of Africa, be an organized self- initiator, and have an ability to multi-task through various projects. Any education in development or international relations is preferred.

If you haven’t yet, fill out the application and send it to if you would like to spend the Fall with us.