It’s no secret that the coffee industry in Latin America is male-dominated. Women coffee growers often struggle to create a steady income, overcome gender equality issues, and reinforce their right to make their own business choices.
In the face of such complex problems, many people just shrug their shoulders and feel there’s nothing that can be done.
That’s not how we feel. At Indiegrow, we know that change is possible.
That’s why we joined forces with Mercy Corps and Caficauca. As partners, we have one main goal: to improve the income and the lives of small-scale women coffee growers in the region of Cauca, Colombia.
Caficultora 2.0 Project Team: Katerine Orozco (Mercy Corps - Monitoring & Evaluation Officer), Adriana Cruz (Mercy Corps - Coffee Quality Coordinator), Laura Florez (Indiegrow - Community Engagement Coordinator), Alejandro Vizcaino (Indiegrow - Company Manager). 50 Amigas coffee members: Maria Cristina Potosi, Jessica Montero, Ligia Jimenez, Melida Montero, Argenis Rosas.
What goal are we working towards?
Along with our partners at Mercy Corps and Caficauca, we created a new program: Caficultora 2.0. We go beyond just getting specialty Colombian coffee into the hands of coffee lovers in other countries. We support 50 women coffee growers in Cauca so they can be autonomous and have economic empowerment. This way, they can sell their organic roasted coffee to consumers, increase their income, and can receive training in marketing, as well as improve their technical skills with coffee growing and human rights.
Caficultora 2.0 helps small-scale women coffee growers in Cauca, Colombia, improve their quality of life.
When these women receive a dependable income that meets the needs of their families, they are empowered to take greater control over their lives and their businesses. That control not only benefits them, but also creates positive change for their families and their communities.
Who forms part of this team?
There are four main partners:
- 50 women coffee growers in Cauca.
- Caficauca, a coffee cooperative that has 54 years of experience.
- Indiegrow, a team specializing in marketing and logistics.
- Mercy Corps, a global team of humanitarians committed to creating global change through local impact.
The project has financial backing of the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund For Sustaining Peace in Colombia and supported by UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).
What role does each partner play?
It all starts with the women coffee growers in Cauca who produce the coffee. Their farms are small, which is typical in Colombia. They have worked hard to produce specialty coffee that has USDA Organic and Fairtrade certifications.
After they process the coffee, they take it to Caficauca, a coffee cooperative that has been operating since 1961 and provides technical assistance and agricultural extension services. The coffee is registered in the name of each coffee grower, which ensures traceability. The coffee is examined for quality, and then it is hulled, roasted, and packaged. Then it’s time to sell it.
Meanwhile, at Indiegrow we’ve been busy creating the brand, design, and establishing connections with international coffee lovers. We make sure the freshly roasted coffee gets delivered to customers in an efficient and effective way. We also share with the coffee growers our knowledge and skills so they can actively participate in how their coffee is marketed.
Mercy Corps provides training in gender equality and human rights as well as monitoring and traceability to ensure that the resources are used to benefit the coffee growing communities we support.
We joined forces with these three partners to create economic, social and environmental impacts that not only benefit the community now, but long into the future.
We welcome you to be part of this movement to continuously collaborate and create together #movingforward #together
Written by: Karen Attman - Latin American Coffee Academy