Hen Aid cannot boast the stellar line-up of Live Aid, the 1985 worldwide pop festival that inspired it, or any of the other awareness-raising global events. In fact, the sole performers are chickens. But Hen Aid chickens are not just any old chickens. They are a special breed of hens that lay for free-range egg producer Clarence Court.
Their eggs, which come in shades of turquoise, pink or chocolate brown, are sought after by top restaurants such as the Ivy in central London.
Earlier this month, 500,000 special charity packs of eggs went on sale, with 2p from each box going to Farm-Africa, an international development charity that works to improve the lives of farmers and herders in southern and eastern Africa.
Clarence Court approached Farm-Africa after deciding that any charitable work it did should be aimed at helping fellow farmers in other parts of the world.
"We wanted to help another farming industry, and that chimed with what Farm-Africa does," says Lisa Rowe, director of Clarence Court. "We wanted to put something into Africa and help developing farmers."
Farm-Africa is not a popular choice for corporate largesse or grants from organisations such as the Department for International Development. But Tum Kazunga, corporate partnerships manager at Farm-Africa, says: "We do receive unsolicited donations from firms, which suggests we are a cause that seems to resonate with the corporate sector."
Kazunga is the charity's first dedicated corporate partnerships manager. He believes Farm-Africa could generate more interest from the private sector if it became more widely known. But Farm-Africa's moderate size was one reason why Clarence Court sought a partnership with it. "We are not a huge organisation, and Clarence Court was looking for a small to medium-sized charity that could feel the impact of the donation," says Kazunga.
Apart from the fundraising opportunity, the partnership also offers the charity the chance to raise awareness of the problems faced by African farmers. Each promotional carton of eggs will have the Farm-Africa web address stamped on it, and the Clarence Court website has a special page devoted to Farm-Africa's work. The partnership is forecast to raise at least £10,000. It is a small amount compared with the corporate social responsibility programmes of large companies, but, says Rowe, it's a lot of money in the egg industry.