Rural Business Workshops
Building on its strong legacy of community-based development, Coffee Kids is focusing on youth entrepreneurship in its first year of renewed activities. Coffee Kids is partnering with coffee communities in Colombia, the Trifinio Region of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador border region) and Tanzania to launch our new programs, which build on collaborative relationships already established by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung North America. We are leveraging these relationships and responding to an expressed need by the young farmers in these communities to help them overcome the various barriers to success that they face. By training and mentoring young coffee farmers, Coffee Kids is fostering the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in these communities. By investing financially in these communities Coffee Kids and our supporters are contributing to building coffee communities where young women and men can create economically viable options for staying involved in coffee.
The coffee sector faces many threats to its viability. Young farmers are especially sensitive to the challenges in the sector. Climate change, land pressures, and fluctuating coffee markets are among the barriers to young farmers’ success, and coffee farms remains in the hands of an aging population. Many young people in coffee communities choose to leave agriculture, and their families, to seek opportunities in the city or in another country. Given the choice, many would prefer to stay close to coffee, and to their communities, if they could find financially attractive ways to do so. Coffee Kids is working in collaboration with these young men and women to foster their entrepreneurial spirit in overcoming some of thebarriers that make many young coffee farmers leave the sector.
Coffee Kids is partnering with young farmers to create youth-focused entrepreneurship hubs. These groups will provide the space where young men and women can learn how to use their creativity and ideas to to develop productive enterprises in coffee and other industries that provide services to their communities. They are sharing their ideas, experiences, and frustrations and working together to solve their problems. Coffee Kids is providing training and mentoring in developing these hubs, but the ideas and creativity come from the participants. Coffee Kids provides seed capital as a tool to help participants turn their ideas into action. The groups are deciding collectively what type of fund will be best suited to their communities. A number of guidelines have been established to ensure that the investment will ultimately benefit the young coffee farmers’ enterprises and will ultimately become self-sustaining. Recognizing the importance of including young women in our groups, we have developed community-specific methodologies to facilitate their participation.
In some communities, we are implementing a mentoring program linking young coffee farmers and successful local and international coffee entrepreneurs. Through mentoring and the sharing of experiences, we aim to level the playing field between coffee producers and the rest of the supply chain and expose young farmers to the breadth of opportunities that exist within the sector. This exchange will increase the understanding between different players in the supply chain and a shared commitment to protecting the future of coffee.