Marco, could you briefly tell us about the founding of TeeFee and your mission?

Marco: “The idea for TeeFee emerged during my parental leave in 2011. I faced the challenge of not finding any sugar-free, let alone calorie-free drink alternatives to sugar or fructose-sweetened beverages on the shelves, which frustrated me. At the same time, I met my co-founder Jill, who introduced me to Stevia leaves, an ancient natural sweetener. That was the moment TeeFee was born, with the mission to offer truly delicious, sugar-free organic drinks for children, thus transforming their drinking habits in a healthy way… and making it easier for parents to convince them to drink.”

Julia, what drives your passion for sustainability and social responsibility?

Julia: “We are parents ourselves. And we deal with children, with problems of children and parents. Why are there so many sick children; why do we have an obesity problem, why…? Clearly, health, nutrition is our focus. However, we’re talking about the future of our society and the future of our own children and then you’re immediately in the realm of sustainability. We want to help ensure that a holistic, healthy, conscious lifestyle can be lived responsibly. We’re committed to this every day, hoping to make contact at the point of sale, directly on the shelf, to raise awareness – always looking beyond our immediate horizon.”

“Every sip of TeeFee supports not just healthier kids here, but also the future for children thousands of kilometers away. A good cycle!”

Marc Rühl, CEO and Co-Founder TeeFee
How did the partnership with WellBoring come about?

Marco: “As often happens in life, our collaboration came about by chance. Through a mutual acquaintance, we were made aware of WellBoring’s work in providing lasting access to clean water for schools and communities in Africa. It was the perfect match for our desire to contribute meaningfully beyond our borders – namely, healthier children while taking on social responsibility.”

Is there a key initiative you’ve undertaken together with WellBoring?

Julia: “One of the joint projects, the Kuth Awendo initiative, is particularly close to our hearts. Beyond drilling wells, we are aiming to support agricultural projects like Stevia cultivation, which reflects our principles of sustainable sourcing. It would be a holistic approach to community development, with safe water as the central starting point.”

How did you come to the idea of making a difference with water wells in Africa?

Marco: “In 2016, a supplier made us aware of the origin of one key ‘ingredient’ – Hibiscus. It came from East Africa, from a region where people have no access to clean drinking water. We said to ourselves, ‘Hey, we have to give back from the proceeds we make with our products, so that the people who supply us with these great raw materials have drinking water, get education; so that it’s justly distributed.’ That led to our first ‘water commitment.’ We then changed suppliers and could no longer support the region reliably. So began the search for a decent partner, which ended in 2022 with WellBoring. We may no longer be directly where our Hibiscus was grown, but the safe water directly reaches the people, especially children, living under similar conditions and makes us so happy. And, as mentioned, maybe we would cultivate Stevia or Hibiscus. That would further close the circle.”

How do you see the future with this partnership?

Julia: “Every bottle of TeeFee sold contributes to improving people’s living conditions, immediately due to the associated donation. This shows our customers that their consumption can have direct positive impacts. Similarly, we reward our followers for sharing the initiative’s content with a donation for safe water. On a broader scale, however, we want to inspire more companies to take action. I recently presented our joint CSR efforts with WellBoring at a B-Corp conference. It’s about showing that corporate success can and should go hand in hand with a positive impact on the world.”

The collaboration with WellBoring, an organization we trust for its impact and nearness, just felt right. We want to give back and create a meaningful cycle that truly benefits all involved.”

Julia Lorenzen, Head of Communication TeeFee

Marco: “We aim to continuously expand our partnership with WellBoring to support more communities with safe water. Water is the starting point for so much development. Anyone who has witnessed this on-site, like me, recognizes it. For me as an entrepreneur, it is a vision but also a motivation/desire for shared success, where business and social impact go united.”

Marco, Julia, thank you for this insightful interview and your enthusiastic support.

Learn more about TeeFee on their website or on the certified B-Corp TeeFee’s social media channels. Follow them on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

Transform lives
From left to right: Jasper Malome of CIVS Kenya, Marco Rühl, and Ian Govendir, who has supported Jasper’s projects and facilitated connections during WellBoring Week 2022 in Kenya with the WellBoring Germany Team. Pictured here at the Ahero Resource Center, a benchmark project by CIVS for educational excellence.
The Kuth Awendo project, a cooperative effort between TeeFee, CIVS Kenya, and WellBoring Germany, is set to bring significant benefits to the community. It aims to provide clean drinking water for over 500 primary school students and more than 1,500 community members. Constructing a well on a 5-hectare plot not only improves drinking water access but also enhances agricultural use, bolstering food security.
In Kuth Awendo, where the dry season prevails 80% of the time, families face high water costs, with a 20-litre container priced at Kshs 20. This project promises to slash prices to Kshs 5 per container for safe well water. Households requiring over 100 litres daily for basic needs will benefit immensely. Expected to reduce water costs dramatically, this initiative also promises improvements in health and economic opportunities, illustrating a successful model of collaboration for sustainable development.
The Kuth Awendo project incorporates a solar-powered pump for efficient groundwater extraction, completed by WellBoring Groundwater. The project includes the installation of a 20,000-liter tank for gravity-powered water distribution to various points and for drip irrigation. Hydrogeological surveys, borehole drilling, water well building, and the construction of a water kiosk were part of the scope. Additionally, 450 community members will receive training to maintain and manage the water supply.
A commitment to growth: Pictured are community members and Ian Govendir during a hands-on moment at a model farm. Marco, from behind the camera, captures more than images; he captures the spirit of progress. The joint project is part of a mission extending beyond water access. Marco’s future vision includes sourcing part of TeeFee’s Stevia needs from this very project.