From special beans to major programme

14 November 2019

As part of a strategy to promote women in the coffee sector, Colombia’s biggest brand, Juan Valdez, launched a special ‘Female Coffee Growers’ edition. Now served in 221 stores in the South American country, it is evolving into a gender equality programme.

The special coffee - Mujeres Cafeteras in Spanish - has been very well received. Produced for Juan Valdez by 22 members of the Association of Female Coffee Growers of Colombia's Viotá and Tequendama regions (ASOMUCAVIT), the coffee brand has increased purchase volumes and launched an advertising campaign to promote it. And they are developing a broader gender inclusivity programme around it.

The special coffee is on sale now

That's good news as just a third of Colombian coffee growers are women, farming 26% of the land. These statistics prompted the National Federation of Coffee Growers to look for strategies and alliances to value and recognize the work of women. Ultimately, they hope to change the traditional dynamics within coffee-growing families.

The federation contacted Solidaridad because it has worked with female coffee growers in the country for four years, strengthening their leadership capacities and empowering them politically, economically and in the home.

“The Juan Valdez project is a great opportunity to foster the strengths of female coffee growers"- Joel Brounen, Solidaridad Colombia

Closing the gender gap

“We support the active participation of women in the transformation of agriculture,” says Joel Brounen, general manager of Solidaridad Colombia. “This project is a great opportunity to apply the methods we have developed for closing the gender gap and fostering the strengths of female coffee growers.”

The programme, run by Solidaridad, Bancolombia, the largest private bank in Colombia, and the National Federation of Coffee Growers, aims to boost the organizational, technical and productive skills of female coffee growers and build equality by holding workshops with their families and communities.

Workshop participants

A multi-faceted programme

The programme team works with ASOMUCAVIT to transfer social, economic and environmental skills, including the following: 

Social

  • Boost members’ strengths, highlighting their leadership and communication skills 

  • Support the adoption of 4C sustainability criteria

  • Strengthen the gender equity component in the ASOMUCAVIT association.

Economic

  • Encourage coffee cultivation in optimal areas 

  • Support the adoption of innovative technologies

  • Monitor and improve coffee quality 

Environmental

  • Plant shade trees and wooded areas

  • Implement systems that reduce water consumption 

  • Improved wastewater management

“The programme emphasizes the importance of the participation of the whole coffee grower family so that women can participate as leaders,” explains Claudia Cardona, coffee project manager and gender expert at Solidaridad Colombia. “It has been very well received and we are hoping to expand the programme’s scope and reach.” 

Meet Claudia Cardona of Solidaridad Colombia [in Spanish only]

 

> Read Advocating more women in community leadership roles

 

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