So what does Coffee Kids do… exactly? // July 12th, 2011

At Coffee Kids, we’re often asked, but what do you do, exactly? It recently occurred to me that perhaps the best way to get a feel for exactly what we do, is by taking a look at a few of the projects we have going on in coffee-growing communities throughout Latin America.

It’s important to point out that Coffee Kids doesn’t actually carry out these projects. A cooperative or NGO at origin contacts Coffee Kids with a project idea. Once that project is accepted and approved, Coffee Kids funds it. Those funds come from people like you and businesses like your neighborhood coffee shop. (If that’s not the case, you should head over to said coffee shop and ask them why they don’t support Coffee Kids.)

Coffee Kids’ support doesn’t stop there. We continue working with communities through site visits, evaluations and constant communication. We want these projects to become sustainable and do what it takes to support them in that process.

Here is just one of 19 projects that we have going on this year. Be on the lookout for a few more featured projects in the coming weeks to get a better feel for how Coffee Kids is making an impact at origin.

imagePartner: ASER MAIZ
Partner since: 2010
Project Area: Food security and health awareness
Location: Veracruz, Mexico
Participants: 700 individuals from 8 communities

The Advice and Rural Services Center (ASER MAIZ) promotes community development by improving economic, social and political conditions within several communities in Veracruz, Mexico.

Founded in 1996, the organization was created as a response to the crisis that affected rural areas in Mexico after the signing of NAFTA, which reduced government spending in the countryside. ASER MAIZ seeks to train rural families in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food security, development and organizational skills and help them to more effectively demand public services from the government.

In the northern region of Veracruz, rural communities often suffer from easily treatable illnesses due to extremely limited access to health services, nutritious food and to adequate shelter. Even where services are available, such as in rural health clinics, medicines are scarce, and people can barely afford them.

Staple foods, such as corn and beans, have suffered low yields in recent years due to diseased crops. Community members are often vulnerable to the ever-changing climate patterns that can damage and even destroy their food crops.

Other factors, such as low-paying jobs and a high unemployment rate, have considerably weakened the local economy. This keeps families from buying nutritious food, which is often more expensive, making it harder for them to maintain a healthy diet, which leads to illnesses for which the families cannot afford medicine. The end result is a vicious cycle that’s hard for families to break.

This integral health project will promote the use of traditional and preventive medicinal knowledge to reduce the number of curable diseases among the population. In addition, this project will diversify the production and consumption of food by training participants to take advantage of high-yield crops and promoting the recovery of lost local crops. At the same time, it will introduce beekeeping as an alternative source of income and as a dietary supplement.