IWCA at Work
Since 2003 IWCA has been very busy working to raise the status of women in coffee throughout the world. Beyond our networking breakfasts held annually at the SCAA conferences, we now also have annual lunches at the NCA Spring Conferences, fund international grants for projects at origin, have held international conferences.
Empowering Women Coffee Producers in East Africa
Prospects for African women coffee producers were given a boost on May 6, 2013 as two African chapters of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) were launched at a reception hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) at the Palais des Nations. The reception marked the end of the first day of the meeting of ITC’s Joint Advisory Group.
The addition of Rwanda and Tanzania to IWCA means that ITC has assisted the establishment of five IWCA chapters since 2010. The other chapters set up with ITC assistance were in Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. In addition, a chapter of IWCA is to be launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo later this month.
In the run-up to the launch of the project, which has been funded by UK Aid, it was revealed that in some countries women are not paid at all for the coffee they produce. This triggered ITC to back the work of IWCA to ensure that more women make money from the coffee that they produce, and as such make certain that these women are included in the regional and global value chains. This decision was further strengthened by research showing that women reinvest 90% of their earnings in their family compared to men – and in health and education in particular.
In addition, women from 12 countries received training that helped several to engage with buyers under the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors, which has since resulted in commercial transactions. The president of IWCA Burundi, for example, signed a Letter of Intent with a buyer that has since resulted in USD 400,000 worth of sales. As a step towards women retaining control over the money they are now making, ITC has identified savings institutions prepared to work with chapter members in rural areas.
Intermediary steps taken to ensure sustainability included the development of women’s coffee associations (IWCA-chapters), the promotion of women produced coffee with buyers and research into branding women’s coffee, the establishment of a leadership and mentoring programme to boost women’s self-confidence, and the examination of options for saving schemes for women.
The chapters, as legally incorporated entities, have been the vehicle for the success of the ‘Africa: Improving economic benefits for women in the coffee sector’ project. Through these IWCA chapters, trade-related technical assistance has been provided, and through the establishment of these chapters, more women are now being paid for the sale of their coffee.
At the request from West African trade support institutions, ITC is currently considering expanding the project to also include countries in West Africa
View the ITC Geneva Presentation.
University of Oxford Case Study
III International Convention of the International Women in Coffee Alliance 2013
The III International Convention of the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) was held in Guatemala City from February 7th to February 9th, 2013. This event was organized by the Association of Women in Coffee, Guatemala. The theme of the convention was Coffee and Trade. In addition to presenting a wide range of interesting lectures by coffee business owners as well as coffee related topics, participants were offered an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts directly with potential buyers.
The event was held in the ANACAFE building (Guatemalan National Coffee Association) and drew more than 262 participants. The participants came from around the world and represented producers, exporters, buyers, experts, and finance professionals. The keynote presentation was given by Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of the International Trade Center of the United Nations who developed the theme “Challenges to achieve integrated sustainability in the world today.”
The event also included:
- Expo-Sale of Artwork "Coffee and Women" - More than 60 leading Guatemalan artists submitted artwork that focused on the activities of women and their relationship to coffee production. 25% of the proceeds were donated to a pilot literacy project for women in rural areas, proposed b the Women in Coffee Association, Guatemala, and supported by the National Literacy Commission, CONALFA.
Educational Farm Tours - Participants were given the opportunity to tour several coffee plantations. The Antigua Classic Tour toured the Entre Volcanes y El Tempixque and the Private Nature Reserves toured the Bohemia and Los Andes.
- Cupping Tables - Cupping stations were divided and tasted by country and región. The cupping experience was divided into five sessions and was attended by 16 national and international cuppers.
Video highlights from the conference:
Recently Brazil, Honduras, India, Philippines, Rwanda, and Tanzania signed LOUs with IWCA.
2012 Brazil Chapter Signing:
February 2013 - India & Philippines Signings at the IWCA International Conference, Guatemala:
April 2013 - Honduras Signing IWCA Letter of Understanding at the SCAA Annual Meeting in Boston:
May 2013 - Tanzania & Rwanda Signing at the International Trade Centre (ITC) at the Palais des Nations: