On the shores of Lake Kivu in DRC, the Coffeelac Women's Hope & Unity Project is economically empowering women through the sale of their coffee
The DRC has been called the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman. Twenty years of brutal conflict exacerbated gender divisions and included violence against women on an unprecedented scale.
The DRC Women's Hope & Unity Project was created to address the inequality and oppression that prevent Congolese women from reaching their full potential. Since 2015, Coffeelac, DRC's largest Arabica exporter, and SHIFT have been working with local organizations, to put an end to the cycle of violence against women and poverty in the region.
Promoting dignified work for Congolese women
Supported by a generous grant from Strauss Coffees, SHIFT and Coffeelac are working with local partners to create economic opportunities for women through coffee production. Together, the partners have provided women with the tools and the know-how to take control of their economic future by integrating them into the coffee value chain. The Coffeelac/SHIFT program has included:
The building of two washing stations on Idjwi Island
Entrepreneurship and economic empowerment training for Producer Group members
Today, the Women's Hope & Unity project continues to build a spirit of entrepreneurship among the women on Idjwi Island. The close collaboration between Strauss, SHIFT, Coffeelac and local organizations has supported women coffee producers to realize their dream of rebuilding hope and dignity among women coffee farmers in the DRC.
Location: Idjwi Island & S. Kivu, DRC
Coffee type: Arabica
Farmers impacted: 1,800 women farmers
With the support of industry partners, Coffeelac and SHIFT are expanding the program to work with additional farming communities throughout the regions of South and North Kivu.
The program has plans to build an additional washing station, continue training farmers in good agricultural practices, and provide educational and vocational opportunities for women in coffee.