In Memoriam: Mavis Nduchwa

Dear WE Empower and Vital Voices Community,

With great sadness, we are writing to inform you about the devastating loss of 2020 WE Empower Awardee Mavis Nduchwa, an extraordinary entrepreneur, community leader, and mother of two, who tragically passed away at the age of 37 on August 13, 2021.

Mavis had an incredible, selfless passion for building sustainable communities in Botswana. She was the proud founder and CEO of Kalahari Honey, an innovative agribusiness that created “living fences” made of beehives to help farmers protect their crops and livelihoods from foraging elephants. This incredible solution mitigates the conflict between human and elephants – saving the elephant population, restoring bee populations, and generating income for 500 rural women and their families who harvest the honey from beehives.

“We believe that communities should tap on the resources around them to solve their everyday lives as well as grow their economies, through our work,” Mavis said this 2020 interview with Forbes. Mavis not only created a business– she laid the groundwork for how future leaders can solve global problems with local solutions. She was an innovator in every sense of the word, and leaves an inspirational legacy behind for future social entrepreneurs everywhere.

Mavis also holds several recognitions and accolades for her work, including being selected as a TED Fellow (2021), Africa’s Business Heroes – Top 50 finalists (2020), Woman Owned Business of the Year 2019 Botswana (Grant Thornton), Most Outstanding African Entrepreneur Award 2018 (Tony Elumelu Foundation), Botswana Innovation Award 2019 (Desert Honey Wine), Lioness Of Africa 2015, BBC Food Chain Judge- 2019, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) 2016, and Top 100 Meaningful Businesses 2020.

Mavis’ legacy will live on through the lives she touched with her community work and award-winning business, her noble spirit, her two young children, and this WE Empower network. We cannot fill the void that is left by her passing, but we will do our best to honor her life’s work by investing in women leaders who share her vision of building sustainable communities. We’re forever changed because we knew Mavis and we will always be inspired by how she changed the world, one bee at a time.

Warmly,

The WE Empower Team