Fairtrade launches three-year project to empower Kenyan women through co-ops

27 Jan 2015

Around 150 women coffee farmers in Kenya will be able to earn an independent income for the first time by joining co-operatives. The Fairtrade Foundation has launched a new three-year project that will encourage asset-transfer, enabling women to own land or coffee bushes. According to the foundation, women contribute 70% of labour required to plant, grow and harvest coffee.

The Growing Women in Coffee project will encourage the transfer of coffee bush ownership to 150 women farmers in the Kapkiyai Cooperative. Around 300 women from Kabngetuny Cooperative that have already benefited from an asset-transfer programme will receive training on good agricultural practices to increase yield quality and their coffee.

As part of the new project, Kipkelion Union, which brings together 32 co-operatives, including Kapkiyai and Kabngetuny Cooperative, will receive support from Fairtrade Africa to develop and market a branded “women’s coffee” for sale in Kenya. The learning from the project will be made available to the other 30 coffee co-ops within the Kipkelion Union.

Commenting on the launch of the project, Wangeci Gitata, Fundraising and Partnerships Manager for Fairtrade Africa, said: "We are very excited; women from the three co-operatives will be trained on good agricultural practices as well as the use of biogas for their homes. The women will have the opportunity to brand their coffee for the domestic market."

The programme is funded by a grant of £389,831from the Big Lottery Fund and is also expected to grow the East African market for Fairtrade certified coffee.

David Finlay, Fundraising Manager at Fairtrade Foundation, added: “We are looking forward to working with Fairtrade Africa on this project, which will directly empower hundreds of women farmers and has the potential to benefit thousands more. By working with the women in these co-operatives to roast, grind, package and sell their beans as ‘women’s coffee’, we hope they will be able to increase the amount they sell on Fairtrade terms, which will bring benefits for their whole community”.

Photo: women from the Kabngetuny Cooperative, with Fairtrade Foundation Fundraising Manager, David Finlay (c) the Fairtrade Foundation.

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