Veronica Rossi from our shareholder Lavazza recently visited the Trifinio region, (tri-border region between Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) to see first hand the project work that Lavazza has been supporting. As the CSR and Sustainability Expert for Lavazza, Veronica knows the importance of involving women more in the coffee industry.

“This visit is the most emotional experience I have ever had. Every time I visited a project, I have always been impressed by the great humanity you can feel in the field. Farmers welcome you in their homes like you were a long time friend, and this has always been an aspect I loved about field missions. But why I say this time was even more emotional? Because I had the chance not only to visit farmers but to be trained with them and like them. The coffee&climate team surprised me, in fact, with the amazing gift of letting me attend a half-day training together with a group of about 75 farmers, mainly women.”

coffee&climate is an initiative that was founded by shareholders of International Coffee Partners (ICP) along with the German Corporation for International Cooperation GIZ. One of the participants of the training who met Veronica was Rina Mejia, secretary of the gender committee for the Coffee Cooperative COCAFELOL in Ocotepeque, Honduras who says, “I became more and more confident with myself and the role I have within the organization as a woman.” As a participant of the gender component within the initiative for coffee&climate, she received leadership trainings, and today, her cooperative is further advancing the role of women.

Veronica adds that “the coffee&climate team surprised me, in fact, with the amazing gift of letting me attend a half-day training together with a group of about 75 farmers, mainly women.”

Rina added, “We are currently working on creating a plan for activities together with the gender committee. Our effort to include women’s participation in coffee and get to know more about the CSA practices available for us to use will continue to grow in the hope of improving coffee farmers livelihood.” A statement that confirms the commitment from all ICP shareholders on ensuring a sustainable future for coffee. The project work goes beyond the boardroom as seen with Veronica. Shareholders of ICP are working side-by-side with farmers and communities to improve their livelihoods.

“I could see the passion and patience the c&c team have in explaining why certain techniques have to be applied to protect coffee. I could see farmers’ surprise in realizing that cover crops and mulching help maintain soil temperatures by 10 degrees cooler than bare land, where coffee plants do not grow nor thrive. I am so grateful to have had the chance to meet all these amazing people, trainers, farmers, families. Only through valuable partnerships, can we advance in sustainability,” Veronica stated after getting to witness innovative practices for coffee cultivation.

There was no way that Veronica was going to leave Trifinio without cupping. She was given the opportunity to experience coffees with great cup profiles from the organizations and coffee farmers who ICP’s project supports.

“I could see what “women empowerment” means, making women understand that they are valuable people, that their work, both at home and in the fields, is essential;” a final statement from Veronica on the impact of the gender workshop and the impact of ICP project work.

Coffee Break Ep. 4 – Youth

However, it was clear by both sides that youth need to have a place in the discussion. ICP, along with its implementing partner Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, work together with coffee-farming families to enable a resilient, long-term future. By including youth in discussions, we learn and understand their needs. Many want to remain in their rural communities and inherit their families coffee business, but with falling coffee prices, lack of financial support, and climate change; youth are migrating to more urban areas.

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