Accomplishing More Together

CQI recognizes that many of the challenges facing coffee communities are broad-reaching and systemic. We will only be able to address these challenges through collaboration. CQI partners with trade associations, local governments, private companies, development agencies, and research institutions. Collaborating with diverse groups helps us stay up-to date on emerging innovations, be efficient with our resources, and create long-term scalable change.

How We Do It

As a non profit organization, we focus on diversifying our funding sources for a sustainable future. However, programs funded by our longtime partner, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), cannot be understated.

USAID projects have contributed significantly to many global improvements in the coffee sector, which in turn have enabled other organizations to assist producers with production, market growth, and income security. Further, USAID enabled the establishment of CQI’s Coffee Corps™ Program, which has deployed over 500 volunteers in 14 years and created impactful connections at origin.

We’re also proud to be working with other public sector organizations, like ACDI/VOCA, that fund countless projects at origin, increasing a producers’ role in both improving quality and finding the right markets for such quality. In addition, we work with a handful of private companies, such as Yunnan International Coffee Exchange (YCE) and Tecnicafé, that all have a similar goal: to improve quality with a focus on training and education.

Our collaborative approach to quality improvements is influencing long-term strategy. These relationships with significant players in the industry help drive our long term objectives. We welcome new partners and new challenges, and as always, thank you for your ongoing support.


  • Why gender at CQI?

    CQI had a gender program nearly a decade ago. We realized that we need to integrate gender more strategically in our own development work, and that there are opportunities/need to do so as well in other industry sustainability initiatives. Most development funding now requires a gender component and we need/want to assure that we have a strategic approach to gender that links with our mission to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of the people that produce it.

  • What do you mean by partnership?

    We have learned that there is a desire within the industry to better understand the link between quality and gender equity and to invest in programs that could have a favorable impact on coffee producing communities. Our plan is to develop a shared approach to gender equity informed by the experiences of private sector businesses and development agencies working in other agricultural sectors, as well as by work already being done in coffee. This collaborative approach will provide a framework for numerous actors in the coffee chain to invest, partner and otherwise engage to support progress toward shared metrics and outcomes.

  • How can I be involved?

    Anyone can participate in the gender workshops. We are also looking for partners who can support this initiative financially and provide input and experience to assure we are addressing the right issues and producing practical strategies and tactics. Anyone can join a focus group in person or via teleconference.

  • Who is involved?

    Our current business and development partners include foundational partners ACDI/VOCA, AMFOTEK, Falcon Coffees and Mars Drinks, and sustaining partners Equal Exchange, Blue Bottle Coffee and Farmer Brothers. CQI is actively engaging with additional potential partners and will make announcements periodically as these partnerships crystallize. At this time, we are inviting participants and support for the remaining workshop in Indonesia in May 2015. We expect more organizations to become involved as we begin to implement pilots and programs on the ground, including coffee related organizations such as IWCA and Grounds for Health, standards organizations, private sector businesses, and other development related NGOs such as Root Capital and Progreso Foundation. Between April and June, CQI will host a series of focus groups to engage a broader range of input from industry and development actors. Four ‘in-person’ focus groups will be held at the 2015 SCAA, others will be held via-teleconference. We will continue to seek your involvement as we move forward.

  • How do I find out more?

    Registration for the upcoming workshop in Indonesia is open. Details about the partnership options can be found here. Additionally, the Partnership for Gender Equity will be sharing project details with the industry at the upcoming 2015 NCA. ICO and SCA conferences.

  • What are the workshops all about?

    Using a modified version of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS), which has been applied in various agricultural communities with excellent results, the workshops are highly participatory, in-depth, professionally facilitated sessions that explore the context of gender in coffee producing communities and throughout the coffee value chain. Participants in each workshop include men and women coffee producers from the host country, as well as international industry members. The workshops delve into key questions about the opportunities and challenges related to gender equity within producer communities, including the linkages between quality and gender, and reveal potential solutions to inform the Roadmap for Industry Engagement.

  • What is GALS?

    Gender Action Learning System (GALS) for gender-sensitive value chain development was also piloted in Uganda. GALS consists of a series of simple, pro-poor, visual diagrams that are used by a team of trained facilitators to help poor women and men farmers to critically reflect together on their livelihoods and identify what are the changes that need to be pushed forward in different spheres of their life — at the household, community and the market level — in order to increase production and income.