Years ago, before SPK and before getting involved in technology and business, CEO Chris McHale worked for an NGO that managed international development projects in Africa and Asia. She worked on projects that supported small business development and provided microlending for farmers in West Africa. She had grown up overseas in Asia and Africa, and it was her desire to somehow contribute to people and areas that had less economic advantage.
While Chris had some successes working with an NGO, she discovered that certain factors were holding her back from making the impact she desired. She left the international development field to explore other ways to effect change.
After SPK became successful, Chris and her colleagues set up a program to contribute 5% of the company’s profits to international development programs. This time, though, Chris knew what she was looking for and what would work best. SPK looked for grassroots projects that were designed, sponsored and managed by local, in-country NGOs. Ethiopia holds an important place in Chris’s heart, so efforts were concentrated there. This is where she found Adu Worku, who believes both nature and culture have conspired against women in Ethiopia. Adu is the Founder and CEO of Zoz Amba Foundation, a sustainable community development in rural Ethiopia, with special emphasis on issues impacting women and girls.
Since 2015, SPK and Zoz Amba have been working together on projects that serve girls and women in rural Ethiopia. The program works to help keep girls in school and continuously learning. It also funds community appropriate technology, such as diesel engine mills that can grind teff grain into flour, saving the women countless hours of hard manual labor.