On September 11th, 2013, IWCA-Brazil held their 3rd annual meeting during the 8th Annual Espaço Café Convention in Belo Horizonte at the Minas Gerais Estate. IWCA-Brazil partnered with Emater, a local public enterprise for agricultural extension. They coordinated for 16 women from the Paraná coffee region to attend two days of lectures and workshops organized by the chapter and the convention.
The Paraná women attended in order to attain a new vision of the international coffee environment and help them realize their potential as small coffee farmers. At the convention, attendees had the opportunity to conduct their first cupping session with international buyers cupping coffees from chapter members. Emater provided travel and lodging and IWCA contributed for meal expenses.
Emater also developed a program in early 2013 that provides in-person training on the technical aspects of the coffee culture cycle and on group organization and management. Emater intends to continue regular trainings for a whole year. In the future, Emater hopes to extend the trainings to 11 other coffee regions where IWCA has representation.
The Espaço Café Convention meeting was sponsored by Itaipu Binacional, a Hydroelectric company in Brazil and Paraguay that promotes women equality in the workforce. Margaret Groff, Chief Financial Officer of Itaipu, was the keynote speaker and related her own experiences as a woman in a male dominant field. Her inspiring story was a call for action. Margaret recently received the Oslo Business for Peace Award 2013 in Oslo, Norway, which recognized her work on gender equality and women empowerment.