According to the National Coffee Association, on a global level, women do 70% of the work on coffee farms but own only 15% of the land and traded beans. Economic (and often cultural) challenges mean that they are unable to access the funding, resources, or health care that they desperately need. Yet studies show that empowering women coffee farmers leads to healthier families, more resilient communities, and higher quality crops.
Coffee Kids recognizes that young women farmers face a unique set of challenges. We work closely with these young farmers to give them the tools they need to be successful entrepreneurs because we know the critical role women play in the future of coffee.
Here we have interviewed a woman who participated our Rural Business Workshops. Maria is a young coffee farmer who was able to actualize the dream of opening a bakery to supplement her coffee income. Read more about her story in her own words below.
My name is Maria del Carmen Villeda Carrillo. I am 24 years old and I live in Honduras.
I come from a very humble home; I did not have the opportunity to study but my parents formed me with good values and manners. At the moment I have my own business and I am a married mother of two children.
How the Coffee Kids helped me launch my business:
Before joining Coffee Kids, I had my idea of starting a bakery as a side business, but it was only “an idea.” When I heard about the Rural Business Workshops, getting involved seemed like a great opportunity to make my dream come true. By joining, I was able to learn life and business skills. As result, I feel that I was formed into an entrepreneur.
The seed funding I received from Coffee Kids helped jump start my business idea of opening a bakery. The money I received was invested in materials and equipment, which I have learned to register in my book keeping. In the future, I would like to use more coffee-derivative products in my shop.
My hopes for the future
I would say that my great successes is that I have been able to financially depend on myself completely. I’m so thankful for this great opportunity that has transformed my life and I encourage all young people to fight for their dreams.
At the end of 2015, we pledged to implement our Rural Business Workshop project in three different regions—Central America, Colombia, and Tanzania—and because of your support, we accomplished our goal. The workshops provide business skills, funding, and ongoing mentoring to empower young people to turn coffee farming into a business that provides a good life. With these tools, not only are young farmers optimizing their farms, they are starting side businesses that provide steady, year-round incomes.
In 2016, 250 young people living in coffee growing communities participated in our workshop with 90 young people from Tanzania alone. Our workshops in Tanzania were particularly significant because it was the first time in Coffee Kids’ history that a project was implemented anywhere in the continent of Africa.
In coordination with the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation (HRNS) regional office in Northern Tanzania and with support from the local Tanzania Coffee Farmer Alliance (TCFA), we began implementation of our Rural Business Workshops in June 2016. As TCFA provided a network to farmers, we formed three youth agricultural clubs serving 90 young people that created the space for the exchange of ideas and technical training.
All three youth clubs engaged in the following entrepreneurship and business skills trainings:
- Introduction to entrepreneurship
- Is farming a business?
- Projected Income Statement (PIS)
- Record keeping
- Business plan writing
- Business evaluation
Upon completion of the sessions above, participants presented their business idea to a wider audience at a business event. During the business event, the selection committee consisting of RPCS and HRNS representatives and two mentors, conducted a business assessment of each proposal. Criteria for evaluation included:
- Key partners
- Key activities
- Projected Income Statement
In the end, seven business plans from each youth group were selected summing up to 21 in total. Stay tuned for updates about how the business plans are going and watch our young farmers develop into viable, profitable, entrepreneurs!
The role of women in agriculture immediately comes to mind as we commemorate International Women’s Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Women and the Rural Economy
Women are shaping the rural economy in developing countries- they contribute as farmers, laborers, and entrepreneurs. Recent studies report that the majority of the world’s farmers are women and they cover a wide variety of roles. However, what is striking is that women face greater difficulties and constraints than their male counterparts with regards to land ownership, access to credit, markets, technology, seeds, water, information and education and other services.
Challenges Faced by Women in Coffee
According to the World Farmer’s Organisation, rural women are especially affected by various forms of poverty:
- Time: taking care of their farm and their family gives them less time for recreation, repose and even time to work.
- Work: women’s work is often less productive due to injustices of the basic accesses cited previously.
- Business certainty: women often have less access than their male counterparts in formal contracts of work, property, and professional training and information.
- Social networks: the quality of social and technical infrastructure makes the access to social networks more difficult for women.
Coffee Kids, Youth, and Gender Inclusivity
Coffee Kids’ Rural Business Workshops aims to close the gender gap by recognizing the barriers specific to young women in coffee growing communities and providing solutions to those barriers. Our Rural Business Workshops not only provide young women with the training, mentorship, and seed funding that young people in coffee growing communities need access to, we plan our workshops to accommodate the specific needs of women to ensure their participation. As result, the participation rates of young men and women are reasonably balanced; in Colombia, for example, 44% of the Workshop participants are women.
As Coffee Kids enters its second year since resuming programming, we will continue to conduct outreach to young rural women and to help bolster the development of women in rural coffee growing communities. Stay tuned for updates!
This post is a reflection by Coffee Kids Manager, Joanna Furgiuele, after her recent origin trip to Colombia.
Hello! It is an absolute pleasure to join the Coffee Kids team and the whole Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung family! Please allow me to introduce myself.
Thanks to the support of private individuals, companies, and the coffee industry, we reached our goal of starting entrepreneurship programs for young people in three coffee-growing communities. Our Rural Business Workshops launched in Tanzania, Trifinio and Colombia.
In this blog post we interview our very own Jan von Enden, the General Manager of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), North America. Jan is focused on creating opportunities for coffee farming communities around the world.
This post is a reflection by Coffee Kids Europe Manager, Malisa Mukanga, after her recent origin trip to Tanzania.
As I reflect on the past year at Coffee Kids, one of my most memorable experiences was a trip to Tanzania to visit our project in Leguruki. I flew into Kilimanjaro International Airport and, though I was not one of the many tourists flying in for a safari, I was secretly hoping that I would manage to get a sneak peek of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, during my visit. Well, this much I can tell you now… I got more than I bargained for.