Empowering women through coffee
Between now and 26th Sep 2019 every dollar donated to this cause will be generously matched by the MACQUARIE GROUP FOUNDATION under the terms of their grant matching policy
Coffee grown by women - it's a thing, and it has a transformative effect on the position of women in coffee growing communities. In 2014 the Kahawatu Foundation persuaded the Governor of Ngozi Province in Burundi to donate an acre of land to a small women's cooperative with 131 members. The group called themselves Rama Dufatanemunda, or RAMA for short, translating as "let's be united" in their local language. Although most of the women belonged to coffee growing households that were already receiving training from Kahawatu Foundation, they weren't earning enough income to care for their children or themselves. The women of RAMA needed land to attain their goal of supporting some of their household and family needs on their own. Working together under the guidance of Kahawatu's lead agronomist in the area, the women cleared the land, fertilised the soil and planted 1000 coffee seedlings. It takes three years for coffee to produce a first crop so in the intervening period Kahawatu helped the women plant high yielding varieties of beans which allowed them to earn some income and set up a savings and loans scheme. In 2018 the women harvested their first coffee crop and sold it as a single lot of "coffee grown by women" to a specialty buyer in Europe - and again in 2019. Some of the money has now been re-invested in new land which generates additional income from the sale of potatoes. But by far the biggest transformation is the way this project has empowered the women of RAMA and given them new pride in their ability to look after their needs and those of their families. Such has been the impact of the project on the members and their immediate community that Kahawatu has since launched four other women's cooperatives in Burundi using the same model. The cost of buying, clearing and planting one acre of land is USD 15,000. Our goal is to launch 5 new projects every year between Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.