In Colombia there are currently 157,000 women coffee growers, who represent 30% of the people dedicated to the crop. Although women make a great contribution to coffee production, there is little recognition for their work at plantations, nor for all the care work they are responsible for.
Since 2019, Solidaridad together with the National Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and Fundación Bancolombia has worked with the most recognized Colombian coffee brand, Juan Valdez, to design, develop, and sell the product line “Mujeres Cafeteras” that goes directly from the caring hands of women to the shelves of supermarkets and coffee shops.
The initial product appeared as a limited edition in 2019, but thanks to its success, it turned into a permanent product line of the world-renowned brand Juan Valdez. It is the first end-to-end coffee product in a major retail chain that operates more than 140 coffee shops in 13 countries, including Ecuador, Chile, the United States and Spain. Juan Valdez products are also available in supermarkets and retail chains in more than 30 countries around the globe.
To achieve gender equity and empower women within the supply chain of Juan Valdez´s “Mujeres Cafeteras” edition, families and new generations of coffee communities need to go through cultural transformation. Based on a decade-long experience working with women, Solidaridad developed a methodology to promote power balance within the family, making more visible the contribution of women to the care economy, and giving them the opportunity to lead the coffee business in which they already played a significant role.
Three steps to a more balanced coffee growing community
Solidaridad started its support by assessing gender equity among women coffee grower families from the Association of Coffee Growers of Viotá and Tequendama, (ASOMUCAVIT). By using the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology, families could recognize gender imbalances and gaps, and explore ways in which these could be addressed.
Then, by providing training to field officer teams, Solidaridad transferred an inclusive technical assistance approach for extensionists to adopt gender equity practices, and be able to work more actively for women.
And finally, by running a training process with coffee-growing families, family members recognized the importance of teamwork and realized their different contributions at home and in in the coffee production process. As a result of these interventions project partners managed to increase the social and economic empowerment of women. The women of Viotá and Tequendama are now long-term providers of Procafecol (the holder of Juan Valdez brand name) for the “Mujeres Cafeteras” product line. Procafecol, led by a female CEO and sustainability manager, has successfully introduced its product line throughout its distribution network, thereby supporting Colombian producers to conquer global retail chains and coffee shops with women-made products.
QUICK FACTS OF THE PROJECT
- Juan Valdez
- Bancolombia Foundation
- National Federation of Colombian Coffee Growers
- 22 women coffee growers from ASOMUCAVIT and their families
- 150 people from the community who will be indirect beneficiaries of the project
- Component developed by Solidaridad:
- Gender equity
Related studies and tools developed by Solidaridad
- Gender analysis for the coffee and cocoa sectors
- Guide for inclusive technical assistance (in Spanish)
- Famipuntos App, to improve the distribution of family care (in Spanish)
- Las Rosas- Huila: Building Capacities in Coffee Farming to Achieve Family Prosperity
- Partners: RGC Coffee and Cadefihuila
- Timeframe: October 2015 to date
- Coverage: 288 coffee families – Coffee Women Program
- Facing the environment with ‘COHerencia‘: Mobile school for women and young people
- Partner: Bayer
- Coverage: 500 women coffee growers from seven municipalities of Risaralda
- Project components: gender equity, climate change, digital skills
For more information
Claudia Cardona Senior Gender Specialist