CQI has been collaborating with Jamaican Women in Coffee (JAWiC) - the Jamaican chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) - since April 2020 to design and fund a multi-year project with the goal of supporting Jamaican coffee producers to elevate coffee quality, reinvigorate production, and establish leadership infrastructure for a self-sustaining, thriving Jamaican coffee community. The project, named Higher Ground, is focused on supporting and growing sustainable farming and business practices through skills training, capacity building, and leadership education, and was designed using key findings and insights from the first baseline study of women in the Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffee regions, the comprehensive Field Survey Initiative conducted by JAWiC in 2020.  Since 2020, CQI has been working closely with JAWiC to garner funding sources for the program and to implement key pieces of the project.

In 2020 Falcon Coffees announced a program of ongoing support to CQI’s Global Fund, donating a portion of the sale of each bag of green specialty coffee sold. The purchases their customers make translate directly into donations to CQI that result in tangible impact for producers. Through the donations of Falcon Coffees, CQI and JAWiC were able to implement the first Higher Ground Project activities.  

This effort has begun with an introductory training in coffee processing. Supported by the findings of JAWiC’s Field Survey Initiative, this training topic was chosen because these women had no formal training in coffee processing and want to reverse the decline in production and quality of their coffee. To date, eight women have been trained in post-harvest processing.  

By securing additional funding, CQI and JAWiC hope to provide additional processing and sensory evaluation training and capacity building to the Jamaican coffee community, as well as conduct a much-needed diagnostic of the coffee sector and forge key market linkages.

“Jamaican Women in Coffee, a chapter of International Women in Coffee Alliance, empowers a sustainable future where women have equal access to resources and the benefits of their labor,” said JAWiC President and Co-founder, Andrea Johnson. “Having access to training is a valuable tool for our membership, and a step in the direction of parity for women in Jamaica’s coffee industry.”

CQI and JAWiC are still seeking public- and/or private-sector donations for the Higher Ground Project. To support Higher Ground, or if you have any questions about the project, please email the Coffee Quality Institute at donate@coffeeinstitute.org.

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