Financing a Win-Win-Win for Women

When Karen Cebreros, one of IWCA’s Founders, saw that some women coffee producers were not able to get a jump start or keep up with their finances in order to focus on improving their product and/or taking care of their families, she formed a nonprofit organization that would help to provide the financial support necessary to the women in origin.  Earth’s Choice Women of Coffee Microfinance Fund (Earth’s Choice), now staffed by an Executive Director, Roberta Lauretti-Bernhard, has a short-range goal of providing women with access to affordable financial services, financial literacy, and business training to enable them to create a profitable business.

Leveraging IWCA’s strategy of “success through localization,” the partnership between IWCA and Earth’s Choice will form a powerful platform that will connect women entrepreneurs in the coffee industry to much needed fiscal resources.  Utilizing the IWCA network of chapters and thousands of women coffee producers, Earth’s Choice will expand access to its financing system based on the proven Grameen Bank microfinance methodology.  Improved access to capital will bring critical stability to women, their families and communities as these female entrepreneurs build profitable and sustainable businesses.  Earth’s Choice reports that women who have participated in its programs demonstrate an increase in their incomes, which allows them to gain better access to healthcare and education, providing healthier diets for their children while maintaining their valuable coffee forests.

The effort between IWCA and Earth’s Choice is a win-win-win for women of all parts of the spectrum of coffee. 

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Huff Post Impact: Women In Coffee
Lesley Chilcott wrote an article for the Huffington Post that was published on January 14, 2015 that features IWCA founding member of the Costa Rica Chapter and past President of IWCA Board of Directors, Grace Mena.

A Small Section of the World is Big News for IWCA
IWCA is proud to be a part of the documentary that's peeling back the layers on the world of women in coffee. A Small Section of the World, a documentary following a group of women from a remote farming community in Costa Rica, shares a world of women's empowerment, the risky business of coffee, and how a cup of coffee can transform lives. IWCA's own Grace Mena, past President of IWCA Board of Directors and a founding member of the IWCA Chapter in Costa Rica, was featured in the film because of her role helping ASOMOBI, the group of women coffee farmers, to become one of the top coffee producers in Costa Rica.

For more information on A Small Section of the World, please click here. 

To host a viewing party and raise money to transform the lives of women coffee producers in the 16 other countries (besides Costa Rica) in which IWCA has Chapters, email Farah at

Read about A Small Section of the World in the Reuters article here.

Norway's Aftenposten - Coffee Contributes to Brazil's Economic Success
IWCA's work to raise the skills of small farmers and help coordinate negotiations for fair coffee prices in the small town of Divinolandia, Brazil is the feature of this article in Norway's largest newspaper. Read the translated story

Coffee & Tea Trade Journal - In Their Voices - Women in Coffee Part II
Part II of the series on women in coffee focuses on women from El Salvador, the Philippines and Burundi who are innovating, teaching and giving back to their communities and the impact this is having on the farms and communities. Written by IWCA VP Kelle Vandenberg. 

Chido Govera, 2014 IWCA Luncheon Speaker, Featured in Coffee Podcast 
Chido Govera, the guest speaker at the 2014 IWCA Breakfast at the SCAA convention, is featured in Coffee Awesome's recent podcast in "Chido Govera: The Future of Hope." 

Coffee & Tea Trade Journal - In Their Voices - Women in Coffee Part I
A two part series that shares the stories of two women in coffee. Their stories describe the cultural and financial struggles they faced and how they found their voices through the coffee industry. Written by IWCA VP Kelle Vandenberg. 

Business Mirror - Empowering women in the coffee industry
Kat Mulingtapan, IWCA Membership Co-Chair, is profiled in this article that discusses how she began working in coffee and her role in IWCA. Kat is a key member of IWCA and works closely with chapter members to empower women entrepreneur's in the coffee industry. 

Huffington Post - The Global Search for Education. Women - Part 3. 
The Huffington Post profiled how women have great influence the world economy, but also fast cast discrimination worldwide. IWCA was featured as a successful sample of how international support can work in a collaborative way to accelerate the process of gender inequality.

BBC - Harnessing the Power of Women
This piece discusses how developing women entrepreneurs promotes rights for women. IWCA members are interviewed and describe the IWCA chapters roles in empowering women in the international coffee community. Listen here

International Trade Center - "Empowering Women Coffee Producers in East Africa"
ITC highlighted the launch of IWCA's new chapters in Rwanda and Tanzania. The chapters are also part of ITC’s Women and Trade Programme. Read more here

Coffee & Cocoa International - "Valuing Women Benefits Communities"
Access article here

NPR's Coffee Week features IWCA
Allison Aubrey's story "Step Aside, Gents. Witness The Rise of Women in Coffee" talks about IWCA's mission and the work of Margaret Swallow, a founder of IWCA.  Listen here

Food, Nutrition & Science Highlights IWCA's Work
The February Issue of Food, Nutrition & Science from the Lempert Report discussed IWCA's role in empowering women and promoting possibilities for women in coffee communities throughout the world. Read more on their website