Kahawatu, People's Coffee

Kahawatu means "People's Coffee" in Swahili, a lingua franca spoken in the African Great Lakes region. 

 

Why Coffee? 

Coffee plays a crucial role in the lives of millions of people who live below the poverty line and for whom coffee is the main source of income. While the coffee industry generates billions of dollars annually, the vast majority of East African smallholder coffee growers do not benefit from the economic growth of the industry. Affected by climate change and vulnerable to market fluctuations, coffee growers are struggling to maintain production and quality to profitable levels.

Currently, nearly every major coffee-producing region of the world is under stress. Warming temperatures, drought and changing weather patterns are affecting coffee production. Other factors also compound this stress: market volatility has significantly lowered prices, aging coffee trees are declining in productivity and the next generation of coffee farmers is seeking economic alternatives for their livelihoods.
— ICO 2015

Why Africa?

The continent counts more 25 African countries in which coffee is a vital contributor to foreign exchange earnings and accounts for a significant proportion of tax income and Gross Domestic Product.  As opposed to Asia or South & Central America, coffee production in Africa has overall decreased over the last past decades and the downward trend has continued despite a steady increase in global demand. 

“The total number of coffee farmers directly involved in production activities in Africa is estimated at between 10 and 12 million”
— ICO 2015

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Growers First

Growers and their families are at the center of our initiatives.

Complementarity

We are working with both private and public entities to leverage existing market forces or expertises we do not have. 

Sustainability

All programs are designed to be sustainable and stand alone. While our core activities enable the sustainable production of coffee, complementary projects are implemented to enhance economic efficiency, social equality, and environmental sensitivity.