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On the first International Coffee Day in 2015, The Coffee Quality Institute’s newly established initiative, the Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE), launched its first research report, The Way Forward: Accelerating Gender Equity in the Coffee Value Chain in front of hundreds of coffee professionals and enthusiasts at the Milan EXPO. Since then, ‘gender equity’ has become a key concept in the coffee community. PGE’s work helps to ensure that this greater awareness translates into action and real impact for coffee farming women, their families and communities.
A key aspect of this work is PGE’s trainings with male and female farmers of all ages to build critical thinking skills that enable them to better confront key challenges, such as climate change, food insecurity and volatile coffee prices. Farm and household planning tools help farmers think outside the box, create visions for themselves and their businesses, and form stronger relationships and prompt decision-making processes which can better ensure family and farm success in trying times. PGE’s recent trainings in Guatemala, Colombia, Nicaragua and Ethiopia engaged more than 500 farmers either directly or through training of trainers.
In Ethiopia, PGE’s work is part of CQI’s broader project under the USAID Feed the Future Ethiopia value chain activity to improve smallholder productivity and profitability. Ethiopian women play a significant role in coffee production, so PGE’s activities in two communities in Jimma are focused on elevating the visibility of the role of women, improving family decision making, and encouraging sharing of resources and assets. Recent workshops brought together 35 farmers in each community to explore key barriers to women’s participation and identify new practices to improve household and farm outcomes. Starting in 2020, through a newly developed framework, coffee buyers will be able to leverage contracts, premiums and incentives to reward farmer organizations for these critical efforts.
This year, PGE’s research has focused on generational dynamics in the coffee sector, a parallel issue to gender inequity. PGE’s methodology for the Generations Research Initiative combines standard research methods with innovative participatory activities to share the voices of men, women, and youth in coffee growing communities. A series of focus groups and workshops in Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala and Colombia found four major challenges:
- Youth perception regarding their parents’ willingness to teach them about coffee farming.
- Adult perception regarding the seriousness of youth to be engaged with coffee farming.
- Adult women and youth’s lack of access to credit/financial services, land, and income.
- Decision-making power resting solely with adult male heads of households.
In the coming months, PGE will be finalizing the research to share with the broader industry, along with recommendations for collaborative action and engagement. Find out more here.
PGE has also hosted several engagement opportunities to ensure that its work continues to align with coffee sector needs: a co-design lab with 15 roasters and 15 farmer organizations to discuss a framework for supply chain connection to support gender equity; continued work with a core group of companies in its #GenderMetrics Hub; and a survey with Roast Magazine to better understand what companies are doing in their supply chains regarding gender equity. Results of these opportunities will be available soon. Request more information and details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, PGE recently relaunched its Equal Origins initiative to encourage industry support for our new learning portal and criteria for farmer organizations. Find out how you can get involved and support this work by contacting email@example.com.
The work that Partnership in Gender Equity has completed has been valuable to understanding the complex challenges facing coffee communities. In order to continue to focus on the future of gender and youth in coffee, PGE will be an independent not-for-profit starting January 1, 2020. However, CQI and PGE will continue to collaborate closely to promote quality coffee and quality of life for coffee farming families.
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