Social Engagement

Words by Sammy Hemmings

This year, The Tahona Society Collective Spirit present their sustainable improvement competition and invite you to submit concepts that improve the drinks industry.

Social engagement, the category which aims to improve communities, may inspire your own initiative. Your idea could take you to Mexico, as one of the 10 finalists to win $50,000. Find out how to enter here.

Social engagement focuses on helping those in need, improving lives in the local community, encouraging local creativity, supporting local producers and maintaining indigenous culture (or that of immigrant communities). 

So, watch the video. Then discover the two stories below that might just inspire you to craft that winning concept.

Café Stepping Stone

In the centre of Cartagena, Colombia, you'll find Café Stepping Stone. Founded by three friends, Vanessa, Tom and Hannah, this not-for-profit project aims to reduce social inequality in the local area.

It does this by offering a safe environment which gives local disadvantaged youth the opportunity to gain skills and employment in the hospitality industry. This includes learning the ropes of bartending, waiting and kitchen skills.

Café Stepping Stone improves the lives of 20 people a year and their families. These paid internships are short term so that a larger number of people can be accommodated. The internship program also focuses on giving basic English lessons alongside practical work experience. Once they complete their training, the staff will stay on at the café for managerial development or be given guidance to move onto further employment.


Sumba Hospitality Foundation is a training school on the remote Indonesian island of Sumba. The school provides hospitality and agriculture education to 40 underprivileged youth. The education programme enriches the lives of local people, hoping to broaden their career prospects.

Whilst also learning languages and skills of the hospitality industry, students learn additional skills in hygiene and health care, waste management and permaculture.

Volunteer mentors come from across the globe, including Dre Masso and Potato Head staff who taught cocktail making skills.

Other lessons incorporate environmental protection and sustainable farming as well. With all their vegetables and herbs grown in their garden, the foundation embraces sustainable functions. The school has been built from local natural materials including bamboo and is powered entirely by solar energy. They even reuse waste water for irrigation.

The foundation wishes to break the cycle of poverty simultaneously protecting the environment and culture.

Get Involved

Join the sustainable improvement journey now by entering your concept. We've got more tips over on our inspiration page where you can find out more about the five categories of the competition.