Mandela Coffee founders hope to solve global problems, one cup at a time

The next time you buy a cup of coffee, you could have the chance to support clean water projects in developing countries.

Mandela Coffee, named after the human rights activist Nelson Mandela, was founded by Cesar Murillo and Lance Zaal in May 2017.

Ten percent of Mandela’s profits are donated to Water Charity, a nonprofit that helps improve access to clean drinking water around the world. Water Charity claims to have benefitted more than four million people.

The idea came to Murillo when he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, between 2014 and 2016. Murillo worked in a town named Mahajoarivo, where he spearheaded construction of a well to supply villagers with sanitary water.

Before the well was built, villagers had faced severe water shortages, especially during the dry season.

“After a long day of working in the fields I would go and fill my water jug, and often the tap would be empty, it wouldn’t be running,” Murillo said. “I was fortunate enough to have a caring host family who gave me some water, but that’s not an option for 700 million people.”

While Mahajoarivo residents may now have a reliable water source, millions of people around the world don’t.

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, nearly 800 million people worldwide lack clean drinking water, and the number continues to grow.