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Tag Archive for: Nicaragua

Grounds for Health

Healthcare with a Lasting Impact

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

groundsforhealth 1Project Description
Today, the world has the knowl­edge and tools to save tens of thou­sands of women cof­fee farm­ers from a pre­ventable death. Put sim­ply, no woman should die of cer­vi­cal can­cer. This pre­ventable dis­ease kills more than 275,000 women every year, with the vast major­ity occur­ring in the devel­op­ing world. Projections show that by 2030, as many as 500,000 women could die annually.

Coffee just hap­pens to grow in remote areas of the world where access to pre­ven­tive health ser­vices is slim to none. In most coffee-growing coun­tries, cer­vi­cal can­cer kills more women than any other can­cer, more than even child­birth and preg­nancy. Cervical can­cer is tak­ing its toll on the eco­nom­ics and liveli­hood of the cof­fee industry.

However, this is not a fore­gone con­clu­sion, and the Specialty Coffee Industry has had the fore­sight and con­vic­tion to do some­thing about it. Since 1996, the indus­try has sup­ported the work of Grounds for Health and its ongo­ing mis­sion to estab­lish sus­tain­able cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion pro­grams in coffee-growing communities.

This ongo­ing effort has taught Grounds for Health a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. In recent years, one thing in par­tic­u­lar has made the non-profit’s suc­cess unique: the strength of cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties and the impor­tance of get­ting them involved in all aspects of pre­ven­tion programs.

Through Grounds for Health’s guid­ance, cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties in Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Tanzania have been able to break down bar­ri­ers that stand between women and life-saving pre­ven­tive ser­vices. Co-ops pro­vide trans­porta­tion. Community health pro­mot­ers edu­cate friends and neigh­bors. Also, local doc­tors and nurses admin­is­ter effec­tive screen­ing and treat­ment meth­ods that have been proven to make a difference.

Grounds for Health wants to share its lessons learned with the world, and the global health com­mu­nity is ready to lis­ten. On May 27, 2013, Grounds for Health helped unveil the “Call for Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention” at the Global Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This call to action has been signed by thou­sands of pol­icy mak­ers and its adop­tion shows that the world is at a tip­ping point: we’re ready to stop a major killer of women.

At the Women Deliver Conference, also in Kuala Lumpur, Grounds for Health Executive Director, August Burns gave a well-received pre­sen­ta­tion on com­mu­nity involve­ment and its impor­tance to the suc­cess and sus­tain­abil­ity of cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion pro­grams. Burns high­lighted the essen­tial role of the com­mu­nity in cre­at­ing effec­tive cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion pro­grams, and that in order for pro­grams to have a mean­ing­ful and last­ing impact, com­mu­nity engage­ment must be seen as a crit­i­cal com­po­nent on equal foot­ing to pre­ven­tion technologies.

The call for com­mu­nity engage­ment is part of Grounds for Health’s con­tin­ued advo­cacy for “the woman at the end of the road”—a pas­sion that is shared by the organization’s cof­fee fun­ders and the com­mu­ni­ties it serves.

The unique part­ner­ship between Grounds for Health, cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties, and the cof­fee indus­try is lead­ing the way towards a future where no woman dies from cer­vi­cal cancer.

Who ben­e­fits from this project?
Grounds for Health’s work directly ben­e­fits women in cof­fee regions, their fam­i­lies, and their com­mu­ni­ties. Cervical can­cer pri­mar­ily affects women in the prime of lives, ages 40–50, and a woman’s untimely death has wide­spread reper­cus­sions on her fam­ily, her work, and her community.

However, Grounds for Health’s advo­cacy work goes beyond just coffee-growing com­mu­ni­ties. The lessons learned from com­mu­nity involve­ment can be applied through­out the world in cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion pro­grams. For exam­ple, because of its expe­ri­ence in devel­op­ing sus­tain­able pro­grams, Grounds for Health was invited to serve as a Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization in cre­at­ing the new global guide­lines on cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion. Grounds for Health have also been asked to present at numer­ous con­fer­ences around the world from Rome, to Washington DC, and even to Kuala Lumpur.

How can I help?
The best way to get involved is to become a sup­porter of Grounds for Health. Major donors include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Royal Coffee Inc., ECOM Foundation, Monin Gourmet Flavorings, and many more. Become a sup­porter:

Contact Name:     Justin Mool
Location:     Worldwide
Email Address:
Phone Number:     802.241.4146

Providing Land, Hope, and Life to Central American Families

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Argos 1Project Description
Agros International strives to reach rural fam­i­lies in Central America with crit­i­cal resources and train­ing that helps them to work their way out of des­per­ate poverty. A Seattle-based 501©(3) non­profit, Agros serves the rural poor of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico by pro­vid­ing access to agri­cul­tural land, water, pri­mary edu­ca­tion, and train­ing in how to grow crops. Coffee is a sta­ple cash crop for most of Agros’ com­mu­ni­ties. Our model focuses on three crit­i­cal areas: market-led agri­cul­ture, health and well-being, and finan­cial empow­er­ment. Through this holis­tic, inte­grated model, Agros fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties are equipped to become suc­cess­ful farm­ers; gain cru­cial knowl­edge about per­sonal, famil­ial, and com­mu­nity health; and receive train­ing in how to man­age their finan­cial resources.

Agricultural land is at the cen­ter of the Agros model, and wher­ever pos­si­ble Agros helps farm­ers to estab­lish part­ner­ships that bet­ter enable them to mar­ket and sell their crops. For instance, at Brisas del Volcan in Honduras, farm­ers work with a cof­fee coöper­a­tive that helps them to process their raw cof­fee and also pro­vides a means by which to sell it. Working with this exist­ing coöper­a­tive helps ensure that farm­ers are get­ting the best price for their crops. In other com­mu­ni­ties such as Nueva Esperanza in Nicaragua, Agros is work­ing with their farm­ers on the legal and orga­ni­za­tional steps to set up their own cof­fee coöper­a­tive. In Bella Vista, Honduras, income from suc­cess­ful cof­fee crops once allowed a cou­ple of Agros fam­i­lies to pay off their land loan and become title hold­ers in under three years.

Coffee is a cor­ner­stone cash crop for many Agros fam­i­lies, and in many com­mu­ni­ties it is the first crop for income pro­duc­tion that is planted once they are estab­lished. As they wait for their cof­fee plants to reach pro­duc­tive matu­rity (about 3 years), they receive agri­cul­tural train­ing and inputs for other hor­ti­cul­tural crops, such as pep­pers, pasion fruit or peas. This then enables them to earn an income and add healthy food to their diets. Diversification is crit­i­cal to long-term agri­cul­tural suc­cess in the very rugged, remote areas where Agros works. It helps fam­i­lies to mit­i­gate the risks asso­ci­ated with farm­ing, such as nat­ural dis­as­ter, crop dis­ease, and other unex­pected calamities.

Who Benefits from this project?
Agros works in 42 vil­lages where farm­ers depend on cof­fee and other crops to make a liv­ing and sup­port their fam­i­lies. Agros exists to restore hope and oppor­tu­nity to eco­nom­i­cally mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple in Central America—people like Carlos and Marina.

When the Agros staff first met Carlos and Marina, they were liv­ing in the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras—one of the most dan­ger­ous cities in the world. They lived in a run-down shack on the edge of the high­way. On one side of their house cars screamed by, while on the other a pol­luted river flowed past. Marina lived in con­stant fear that her youngest daugh­ter Lizi, whom at the time was two years old, would either be hit by a car or drown in the con­t­a­m­i­nated water. They had a dream to buy land in a safe place. However, when they did so, they learned that their invest­ment had been stolen as part of a scam. They lost all hope for their future.

When they learned about Agros, every­thing changed. They moved to Agros’ Bella Vista com­mu­nity, where cof­fee is a sta­ple crop. This year, Marina, Carlos, and their three chil­dren har­vested their first crop. Agros is work­ing to reach more peo­ple in Central America with the life-changing resources of land, credit, and train­ing that will enable them to build strong futures for their fam­i­lies. As we com­plete our capac­ity devel­op­ment exer­cise, we will ramp up to a regional model, start­ing in Honduras, that will allow us to assist com­mu­ni­ties on a much broader scale.

How Can I Help?
Agros International’s work is made pos­si­ble through dona­tions from indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions who sup­port our mis­sion to end poverty. We wel­come any­one inter­ested to visit our web­site,, to make a gift that will help fam­i­lies gain the resources they need.

Our Alternative Gift Catalog has great ideas for smaller gifts that you can give in the name of a friend or loved one:

We invite indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions to spon­sor a table at our annual fundrais­ing event, Tierras de Vida (Lands of Life). Bring your friends and col­leagues to learn more about what we do and how you can be involved. This year’s event will be held on October 19, 2013, in Seattle, WA. Learn how you can help by going here:

Education is a crit­i­cal part of our work as well. We invite you to learn more about the work Agros does in Central America and tell your friends about the impor­tance of agri­cul­ture to poverty alle­vi­a­tion. To get started, watch this video to learn more about Carlos and Marina’s story:

Contact Name:     Anne Baunach
Location:     Seattle, WA, based; Central America Focused
Email Address:
Phone Number:     206.528.1066

The View

Categories: 2013, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Last month we began a dis­cus­sion in the View about sus­tain­abil­ity. It is our posi­tion that the only truly sus­tain­able model is one that takes into account a holis­tic approach to the needs of all stake­hold­ers; not just a sin­gle focus on eco­nomic, or envi­ron­men­tal, or any of the other ideas about sustainability.

Of course, attempt­ing to cre­ate a holis­tic approach to sus­tain­abil­ity is not pos­si­ble for any one com­pany or NGO. There sim­ply is not enough money and energy to make that hap­pen. However, what about a dif­fer­ent approach?
•    What if all the money that is cur­rently being spent by uni­ver­si­ties, foun­da­tions, cor­po­ra­tions, gov­ern­ment, non-profits, and who­ever could be pooled into a sin­gle fund?
•    What if a con­fer­ence were held annu­ally to review achieve­ments, ana­lyze future projects, and per­form course cor­rec­tions on cur­rent projects, and estab­lish the com­ing years bud­get?
•    What if every­one shifted his or her socially respon­si­ble project funds toward this new idea?
What do you think the effect would be if instead of every­one doing their own thing and run­ning over each other, a uni­fied holis­tic effort was brought to bear to accom­plish com­pre­hen­sive change in the com­mu­ni­ties that pro­duce our industry’s key ingredient?

As things cur­rently stand, aid to com­mu­ni­ties at ori­gin fol­lows a course sim­i­lar to a col­lec­tion of blind peo­ple attempt­ing to describe an ele­phant by touch. One area receives a great deal of atten­tion but most of the ani­mal remains unknown. Many well inten­tions efforts have ulti­mately failed because the activ­ity was not sus­tain­able – fund­ing ended, staff sup­port was not avail­able, or some other cause. Whatever the rea­son, after 40 years of activ­i­ties by spe­cialty cof­fee in ori­gin coun­tries, the ques­tion of sus­tain­abil­ity still remains.

Clearly a uni­fied approach to devel­op­ment is not easy, nor is it nec­es­sar­ily legal. (Collusion and price fix­ing for exam­ple) However, the cur­rent meth­ods are not as effec­tive as intended and some­thing new needs to be tried.

So, a small group of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from large roast­ers, pri­mar­ily in Europe, is giv­ing it a try, and the way they are doing it is meet­ing “pre-commercial,” before they engage in their paid posi­tions; before they have to make deci­sions in the best inter­est of their share­hold­ers and stake­hold­ers. By meet­ing and pri­or­i­tiz­ing devel­op­men­tal needs before work, they can then go back to their offices and use the cor­po­rate funds at their dis­posal to accom­plish the pre-determined plan.

So the ques­tion is…why don’t we do this?

Imagine a sce­nario. A com­mu­nity in Nicaragua sup­plies highly desir­able cof­fees but is des­per­ately poor and under­served. There is no elec­tric­ity, no tele­phone, no eas­ily acces­si­ble water source, poor roads, no health care, and no schools. The only gov­ern­ment pres­ence is mil­i­tary ensur­ing that this moun­tain bor­der com­mu­nity stays repressed. There are no young peo­ple, they have all moved off to Managua in search of pros­per­ity. Women must walk daily to the mar­ket town (they have no refrig­er­a­tion), which is 2 hours each way, the trip to the Coyotes to sell their cof­fee is a 5 hour one-way mule/walk/bus trip car­ry­ing their cof­fee the whole way. They have no san­i­ta­tion facil­i­ties, few vehi­cles, and lit­tle hope. (By the way, this is a real place)

Many agen­cies have come to this place but lit­tle has stuck for any length of time.

Now imag­ine a sce­nario that brings indus­try lead­ers together with experts and ser­vice providers to thor­oughly research the full scope of require­ments that are needed in the com­mu­nity, iden­tify the key pres­sure points and rally the funds and human resources nec­es­sary to deliver long-term results. With this focus and orga­ni­za­tional prowess, a more com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy lead­ing to solu­tions can be devel­oped that moves toward ensure effec­tive and last­ing impact. Not just research, but action man­dated by the charter.

And this com­mu­nity in the sce­nario prob­a­bly does not need every­thing fixed. Identifying key ele­ments that are most neg­a­tive in the com­mu­nity and mak­ing appro­pri­ate adjust­ments can lead to unseen results from the com­mu­nity itself. Instead of small nar­rowly focused ben­e­fits that do not directly change the key infra­struc­ture of a com­mu­nity, this idea focuses on holis­tic results with tools that are beyond any one agency or company.

Properly funded, staffed, and directed there is no project too daunting.

This idea is in the best inter­ests of the cof­fee indus­try; ful­fills the idea of invest­ment, not char­ity in our extended indus­trial infra­struc­ture; facil­i­tates per­ma­nent value devel­op­ment in ori­gin; and addresses locally orig­i­nated ele­men­tal qual­ity of life requirements.

This idea could be huge, or crack­ers. I am not sure. What do you think?

Kerri & Miles

Latin American Coffee Market

Categories: 2013, AprilTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The pres­ence of Hemileia Vastatrix (cof­fee rust fun­gus, aka La Roya) in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) in con­junc­tion with adverse weather con­di­tions, has been the main causes of the drop in cof­fee pro­duc­tion in the region. It esti­mated that a full 20% of the 2012–2013 cof­fee har­vest has been lost due to these two fac­tors; a total of 3.7 mil­lion quin­tales (100 kilograms).

The third largest pro­ducer of cof­fee in South America closed its 2012 har­vest with a drop over the pre­vi­ous year’s pro­duc­tion due to low yields, scarcity of labor and the spread of the cof­fee rust fun­gus. This trou­bling sit­u­a­tion led the Peruvian gov­ern­ment to esti­mate a 25% drop over the pro­duc­tion of 2011, for an esti­mated 5.5 mil­lion 45 kg sacks. Production was reduced due to the exhaus­tion of mature plants at the end of their nat­ural cycle. 2011 was an excep­tional year with a record har­vest of 7.2 mil­lion sacks of coffee.

As recently as September of 2012, Bangut (Banco de Guatemala) reported a drop in cof­fee export sales of 17.9% com­pared to the same period in 2011. This drop in export sales is despite hav­ing increased export vol­umes of cof­fee which included 4.6 mil­lion quin­tales dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest and 4.8 mil­lion dur­ing the last harvest.

According to the Coffee Exporters Association (Anacafe), the drop in income is due to mar­ket sup­ply and demand, the inter­na­tional eco­nomic cri­sis and increased pro­duc­tion in Brazil and Vietnam. According to the depart­ment of records and oper­a­tions of Anacafe, the prin­ci­pal mar­kets for Guatemalan cof­fee were: United States (45%), Japan (13%), Canada and Germany (8% each) and Belgium (6%).

The South American coun­try had its small­est har­vest in three decades in 2012. The decrease in pro­duc­tion was mainly due to the heavy rains in the main cof­fee grow­ing areas and a pro­gram of ren­o­vat­ing the plant­i­ngs. Colombia’s cof­fee pro­duc­tion was 7.74 mil­lion 60 kg sacks, down from 7.8 mil­lion in 2011. Colombia failed to meet its pro­duc­tion goal of 8 mil­lion sacks, even though pro­duc­tion dur­ing December increased to 904,000 sacks, a 23% increase over the pre­vi­ous year’s har­vest of 735,000 sacs. Export sales vol­umes dropped by 6.76% to 7.21 mil­lion sacks from the pre­vi­ous year’s lev­els of 7.73 million.

The asso­ci­a­tion of cof­fee pro­duc­ers blamed the heavy rains dur­ing the end of 2011 and excess humid­ity in the cof­fee grow­ing regions for the drop in pro­duc­tion. The expected pro­duc­tion level was 11 mil­lion sacks, which was not attained due to cli­matic fac­tors and the slow incor­po­ra­tion of newly planted cof­fee fields into pro­duc­tion. Colombia replanted 110,000 hectares dur­ing 2012.

Honduras had a suc­cess­ful year dur­ing 2011–2012; export vol­umes reached 7.25 mil­lion quin­tales. Total rev­enue from cof­fee exports reached a record US$ 1.4 mil­lion. National cof­fee pro­duc­tion was a total 7.4 mil­lion quin­tales, exceed­ing the pre­vi­ous year’s pro­duc­tion of 5.2 mil­lion. These new pro­duc­tion lev­els make Honduras the largest cof­fee exporter in Central America, accord­ing to data from the International Coffee Organization. During the 2010–2011 cof­fee har­vest, Honduras was ranked in sixth place among cof­fee exporters and dis­placed Colombia. The use of fer­til­iz­ers and an improve­ment in cof­fee qual­ity have accounted for the dra­matic increase in pro­duc­tion, allow­ing Honduras to increase exports to Germany and the United States.

Costa Rica
After suf­fer­ing a drop in cof­fee exports at the begin­ning of the decade, cof­fee exports to South Korea took off in 2008 and kept increas­ing. In 2012, Costa Rica exported US$ 8.5 mil­lion, which was a 43% increase over cof­fee export rev­enues in 2011 and five times what it was export­ing just four years ago when the upturn began. One of the major cof­fee exporters in Costa Rica is Café Capris, belong­ing to the Volcafe Group.

Despite these encour­ag­ing sales reports, national cof­fee grow­ers in Costa Rica have lost US$42.6 mil­lion from the 2012–2013 cof­fee har­vest due to cof­fee rust fun­gus, which has mostly affected low­land cof­fee grow­ers.
Pérez Zeledón has lost over 6,000 hectares and Coto Brus has over 4,000 hectares severely affected by the fungus.

El Salvador
El Salvador will pro­duce 18.9% more cof­fee dur­ing the cur­rent har­vest, which began in October 2012, due to increased use of fer­til­iz­ers and cof­fee plant­ing renewal. This small Central American nation expects to pro­duce 1.45 mil­lion 60 kg sacks dur­ing the 2012/13 har­vest. Production has been favored by the twice yearly har­vest of cof­fee and an improved agri­cul­tural tech­ni­cal sup­port pro­gram. El Salvador exports 90 per­cent of its cof­fee pro­duc­tion, which is one of its main exports.

Although cof­fee has been Nicaragua’s main export, this may change in 2013, because large parts of Nicaragua’s cof­fee plan­ta­tions have been infected with the cof­fee rust fun­gus. According to ACEN (Asociación de Cafés Especiales de Nicaragua), the coun­try could forgo US$ 4.5 in cof­fee sales due to the cof­fee rust fun­gus dur­ing the 2013–2014 pro­duc­tion cycle. The pres­i­dent of the Nicaraguan Association of Coffee Exporters recently stated that pro­duc­tion may be down by as much as 400,000 quin­tales this har­vest, due to the fun­gus. This decrease in pro­duc­tion would cer­tainly affect exports and impact on cof­fee prices world­wide due to the decrease in sup­ply. According to experts in the area, Nicaragua’s total cof­fee exports may only reach US$ 130 mil­lion in 2013.

Mauro Nogarin can be reached at

Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign Recognizes International Women’s Day

Categories: 2013, AprilTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:
“In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Exportadora Atlantic S.A. and Grounds for Health invite you to the Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign, March 7th at the Lacayo Farfan health center, starting at 8 am.”

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of International Women’s Day, Exportadora Atlantic S.A. and Grounds for Health invite you to the Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign, March 7th at the Lacayo Farfan health cen­ter, start­ing at 8 am.”

On March 7, 2013 Exportadora Atlantic, ECOM’s Nicaragua branch, teamed up with Grounds for Health to carry out a cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion cam­paign in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The cam­paign, which offered same-day screen­ing and treat­ment for early signs of can­cer, ben­e­fited women asso­ci­ated with Exportadora’s dry pro­cess­ing mill as well as other women in the com­mu­nity of Sébaco and Matagalpa. 69 women attended the cam­paign and received screen­ing ser­vices, 8 of whom tested pos­i­tive and were treated with cryother­apy on the same day (100% treat­ment rate).

Funding for this activ­ity was pro­vided by ECOM Foundation as part of a two-year grant awarded to Grounds for Health in 2012 to sup­port col­lab­o­ra­tive projects with cof­fee coop­er­a­tives to address the unac­cept­ably high rate of cer­vi­cal can­cer in these regions. Grounds for Health’s model for address­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer builds long-term capac­ity in the health sys­tem and the com­mu­nity and demon­strates an effec­tive model for strength­en­ing pri­mary care ser­vices in rural areas.

Description of Activity
Grounds for Health’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with CECOCAFEN co-op and the local Ministry of Health in Matagalpa from 2008 to 2011 con­tributed to a strong and last­ing net­work of com­mu­nity health pro­mot­ers and providers ded­i­cated to improv­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing and treat­ment ser­vices in the region. Local part­ners assumed full respon­si­bil­ity for sus­tain­ing screen­ing and treat­ment ser­vices in 2011, and have remained active and respon­sive to the needs of cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties in the region.

In March 2013, Grounds for Health and Exportadora Atlantic engaged Ministry of Health part­ners in Matagalpa to ben­e­fit women asso­ci­ated with Exportadora Atlantic’s dry pro­cess­ing mill in the nearby com­mu­nity of Sébaco. Grounds for Health arranged per­mis­sion for the use of four con­sult rooms at the hos­pi­tal Lacayo Farfan in Matagalpa and secured sup­port from four providers pre­vi­ously trained by Grounds for Health to con­duct a screen-and-treat cam­paign for women asso­ci­ated with Exportadora’s dry pro­cess­ing mill in Sébaco. The date for the event was set for March 7, 2013, just as the har­vest was end­ing and in recog­ni­tion of International Women’s Day on March 8th.

In prepa­ra­tion for the cam­paign, Dr. Barinia Osejo vis­ited Exportadora Atlantic’s mill in Sébaco and gave an edu­ca­tional talk on cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion to men and women asso­ci­ated with the mill. The talk pro­vided an oppor­tu­nity for Exportadora Atlantic’s com­mu­nity to learn more about Grounds for Health, the bur­den of cer­vi­cal can­cer in Nicaragua, and how to pre­vent it. Women aged 30–50 who had not had a prior screen­ing test, or who had not been tested in three years or more, were invited to the campaign.

Personnel from across Exportadora Atlantic pitched in to help get ready for the event and pro­vided essen­tial sup­port through­out the cam­paign day. ECOM vehi­cles trans­ported sup­plies to the cam­paign site where addi­tional staff from the mill were stand­ing by to set up tables and chairs, signs, and sta­tions for reg­is­tra­tion, high level dis­in­fec­tion, and coun­sel­ing. During the cam­paign, per­son­nel from Exportadora Atlantic worked to reg­is­ter women and pro­vide refresh­ments for them and the volunteers.

Results of the Screen-and-Treat Campaign
A sum­mary of cam­paign results is pre­sented below.
*Of the 69 women screened, 13 women were not eli­gi­ble for screen­ing with VIA due to their age and received a Pap test instead. Their Pap tests are being processed by the local lab and will be returned to the women within one month.

Grounds for Health in-country coordinator Dr. Barinia Osejo (center) with staff from Exportadora Atlantic at the Lacayo Farfan Hospital on the day of the campaign.

Grounds for Health in-country coör­di­na­tor Dr. Barinia Osejo (cen­ter) with staff from Exportadora Atlantic at the Lacayo Farfan Hospital on the day of the campaign.

The Café Femenino Foundation Story

Categories: 2013, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

3_13 10-AThe Café Femenino Foundation was first con­ceived in 2004 through the inspi­ra­tion of a group of women in Peru who decided to change their sit­u­a­tion in life and cre­ate their own orga­ni­za­tion and their own cof­fee prod­uct.  Women in most cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties through­out the world have no rights, they are une­d­u­cated, they are poor, and live in iso­lated rural com­mu­ni­ties.  Without rights, liv­ing in poverty and iso­la­tion, women are often abused, and they have no voice in their fam­ily.  So the Café Femenino Foundation was cre­ated to ben­e­fit women and their fam­i­lies in cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

The foun­da­tion was licensed by the IRS as a 501©(3) in December 2004.  A week later, the tsunami hit in Sumatra, so the first thing the foun­da­tion did was work to raise funds to help the vic­tims in the rural cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties in Aceh, Sumatra.  Funds went directly to cof­fee coop­er­a­tives that used the funds to pur­chase water, rice, and funeral cloths for those who lost their lives.  Since that time, the foun­da­tion has funded grants in Kenya, Rwanda, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.  The foun­da­tion works to raise funds to be able to fund grants that are received directly from cof­fee orga­ni­za­tions in all these coun­tries.  The door is open to hear the needs of these impov­er­ished small pro­duc­ers.  The requests are as var­ied as the coun­tries they live in.  Over the years, the foun­da­tion has funded grants for health train­ing pro­grams, san­i­ta­tion, can­cer screen­ings, schools, libraries, water projects, school books, food secu­rity that involves, ani­mal breed­ing pro­grams, quinoa pro­duc­tion, com­mu­nity gar­dens, and can­ning.  The foun­da­tion has funded income diver­si­fi­ca­tion such as weav­ing, embroi­dery, roast­ing and sell­ing their own cof­fee, micro-lending pro­grams, candy pro­duc­tion, and fruit tree pro­duc­tion.  The Café Femenino Foundation lis­tens to the needs of these small pro­duc­ers and is open to fund­ing all types of aid projects.  The funds are gen­er­ally over­seen by the cof­fee orga­ni­za­tions them­selves or by local NGO’s.  Construction projects such as schools or irri­ga­tion projects are done by the pro­duc­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties them­selves keep­ing project cost to a min­i­mum and allow­ing the foun­da­tion to accom­plish a great deal with the small­est cost possible.

The Café Femenino Foundation is an all-volunteer orga­ni­za­tion.  Funds come from dona­tions and fundrais­ing by com­pa­nies and indi­vid­u­als work­ing within the cof­fee indus­try.  Other orga­ni­za­tions such as churches and Soroptimists have also been donors to the foun­da­tion.  Coffee Fest, which puts on sev­eral regional trade shows each year, gra­ciously donates show floor space in every show to enable the foun­da­tion hold a Bid for Hope Silent Auction to help raise funds.  All items in this auc­tion are donated by the com­pa­nies that are exhibitors at each of the show.  This year, for the first time, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is also donat­ing show floor space to hold the “Call to Auction” silent auc­tion to help sup­port the Café Femenino Foundation.  All vol­un­teers in the foun­da­tion even pay their own way to each of the trade shows.  So the only money that the foun­da­tion spends is for mar­ket­ing, allow­ing the foun­da­tion to be able to donate most of the funds to fund the many grant requests that come into the foun­da­tion every year.

The reward for all the work that the foun­da­tion does every year to help these poverty stricken com­mu­ni­ties comes directly from these com­mu­ni­ties when we can see a home that now has clean run­ning water or a child that now can speak because he had cleft pal­let surgery through the rela­tion­ship the foun­da­tion main­tains with the Faces Foundation, located in Portland, Oregon.  We have seen the level of poverty improve, and we’ve seen cul­tural changes where women are now being respected because the woman now is able to gen­er­ate her own income.  Girls go to school where once they did not.  A com­mu­nity where all chil­dren failed school because of a lack of any resources or books now has its own library and a trained librar­ian is there to help the chil­dren learn.  So many won­der­ful things are hap­pen­ing in so many coun­tries due to the work of the Café Femenino Foundation.  But there are still so many fam­i­lies around the world that need help; there is still so much work to do.  We hope the cof­fee indus­try will con­tinue to help and sup­port the work of the Café Femenino Foundation.

Juana, Cesar, and Hope

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

PrintI first met Juana and Cesar at their home in El Coyolar, Nicaragua in 2008. I was trav­el­ing with Santiago Dolmus, Director of Social Programs for CECOCAFEN, a large Fair Trade coöper­a­tive based in Matagalpa. We planned to spend the day vis­it­ing co-op mem­bers who were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the food secu­rity project GMCR was spon­sor­ing. After an hour we turned off the heav­ily pot-holed road, and started the climb to El Coyolar on a “bricked” road that even­tu­ally turned to dirt. After another 30 min­utes we came to the end of the road where our Toyota pick-up stopped in front of a small home, con­structed of rough lum­ber and a metal roof, with a cement floor.

As we were intro­duced, I learned that Cesar had lost his left arm in the war fight­ing the Contras. Both Juana and Cesar were in their early 40’s, and were happy to give me a tour of their 3 hectare farm. We passed about 1 ½ hectares of cof­fee, sparsely shaded by a hand­ful of tall native trees and a few banana trees.  Much of their cof­fee was strug­gling in the sun, and needed more shade. Other parts of their par­cel were long over­due for some prun­ing. Other than cof­fee and bananas, there were just a few fruit trees visible.

Like so many fam­i­lies in the region, Juana and Cesar expe­ri­enced 3 to 4 months of extreme scarcity of food every year. With Santiago and CECOCAFEN’s tech­ni­cal team, they had devel­oped a plan to improve their cof­fee par­cel, to devote part of their land to pro­duc­ing food prod­ucts for their own con­sump­tion, and to sell in the local mar­kets. While the plans sounded promis­ing, to me the great­est rea­son for hope was Juana’s “can do” approach. On this first visit, I could not tell if her atti­tude was real, or whether she was sim­ply try­ing to impress me.

A year later, in 2009 I returned to El Coyolar and vis­ited Juana and Cesar. Things were start­ing to change on their farm. They had devel­oped a cof­fee nurs­ery to ren­o­vate their par­cel, and had planted malanga (a root crop) and a vari­ety of fruit trees that they proudly showed me as we again toured their farm.

12_12 2-BIn September of 2010, with the help of Santiago, we returned, to pro­duce the film “After the Harvest.” Santiago had asked Juana and Cesar if they would be will­ing to be in the film. Fortunately they were. After film­ing, we toured the farm. The fruit trees that were planted the year before were now tow­er­ing over the cof­fee and were pro­duc­ing their first yield. Juana had started mak­ing mar­malades from the fruit to sell at the local mar­ket as another source of income. Even their cof­fee looked health­ier and more pro­duc­tive. Before leav­ing, Cesar gave me a gift – a home­made Sandinista flag that had been nailed to the out­side of their home.

In August of this year, I returned to Nicaragua to con­duct “Most Significant Change” inter­views. While CECOCAFEN had pro­vided good quan­ti­ta­tive infor­ma­tion about the project in their reports (i.e. how many fam­i­lies ben­e­fited from the project, how many train­ing ses­sions had been held, etc.), this infor­ma­tion largely reported on activ­i­ties, not the impact these activ­i­ties were hav­ing in the house­hold. Michael Sheridan, from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), shared the “Most Significant Change” tech­nique with me a cou­ple of years ago, that is designed to elicit responses through inter­views with project par­tic­i­pants relat­ing to the project’s impact. Now we had the chance to give this a try.

12_12 2-CIn Aguas Amarillas, a small com­mu­nity nes­tled in the moun­tains not far from Tuma la Dalia, Nicaragua, I inter­viewed Cresencio Pao, a cof­fee farmer, and asked him, “What has been the most sig­nif­i­cant change in your family’s diet since this project began 4 years ago?” Cresencio told me, “The win­dow of 3–4 months of food scarcity has been closed. My fam­ily now has more than enough to eat all year long. This has had an impact beyond my family’s home. It has affected our local coöper­a­tive. People now believe that pos­i­tive change is pos­si­ble. And it has gone beyond the co-op and has brought the entire com­mu­nity an air of hope that just didn’t exist a few years ago.”

Later that day, we drove to visit Juana and Cesar. They both appeared to be doing well. Remembering the flag, I brought them a glass flask of Vermont maple syrup. What a dif­fer­ence two years can make!  As we walked around their farm, the fruit trees that we filmed in 2010 had grown sig­nif­i­cantly in the trop­i­cal cli­mate. The young cof­fee plants had also grown, matured, and now appeared to be healthy and very pro­duc­tive. Juana told me that she was still sell­ing mar­malades in the local mar­ket, and then she said, “Come with me. I want to show you something.”

We fol­lowed a path through the cof­fee par­cel and through a heav­ily forested area where we came out to an open field of approx­i­mately 1 ½ hectares. I was stunned. This field that had been fal­low for years was now planted in pas­sion fruit. Large 6 ½ ft. tall, 6” x 6” wooden stakes had been dri­ven into the ground in nice even rows, sep­a­rated by about 10 ft. Overhead, heavy gauge wire had been run between the stakes and con­nect­ing sup­ports. The pas­sion fruit vines had been trained on the wire and were now pro­duc­ing fruit that was ripen­ing in the sun, hang­ing from the wire, and wait­ing to be har­vested, packed, and shipped.

Juana and Cesar had been earn­ing approx­i­mately $4,000 from their cof­fee. Now, accord­ing to Juana, even with the “low” mar­ket price for pas­sion fruit, they will hire a few peo­ple to help run and man­age this project. Yet even at cur­rent mar­ket prices Juana told me she expects that she and Cesar will earn over $700 per month (at least $8,400 per year) from pas­sion fruit after expenses. This, com­bined with improved earn­ings from their cof­fee, and their own food pro­duc­tion, will “put food scarcity behind us for­ever,” accord­ing to Juana. In addi­tion, this new enter­prise will start to pro­vide new employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in this iso­lated rural hamlet.

When I first learned of “los meses fla­cos” (the thin months) of extreme food scarcity five years ago, I was stunned and felt pow­er­less given the scope of this chal­lenge. I won­dered if change would be pos­si­ble for fam­i­lies like Cesar and Juana. They, and many other fam­i­lies, are demon­strat­ing that given the will, the nec­es­sary resources, and the tech­ni­cal sup­port, hunger can be a thing of the past. It all starts with hope and a lit­tle of Juana’s “can-do” optimism.

12_12 2-ARick Peyser is Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters where he has worked for over 24 years. He is a past President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the world’s largest cof­fee trade asso­ci­a­tion, and served six years on the Board of Directors of the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) which sets the stan­dards for Fair Trade that ben­e­fit over 1,500,000 small-scale farm­ers around the world. Currently Rick serves on the Coffee Kids Board of Directors, the Food For Farmers Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors of Fundacion Ixil which is work­ing to improve the qual­ity of life in Ixil cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties in El Quiche, Guatemala.

Ending Poverty 
Through Land Ownership

Categories: 2012, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Contact Name: Nathan Hawkins

Location: Mexico, Central America
Email Address:
Phone Number: 206−528−1066

Project Description

Agros is founded on the con­vic­tion that the rural poor can and should be empow­ered to take con­trol of their own destiny

Agros, (Latin for “land,”) has been help­ing to break the cycle of poverty for land­less, rural, poor fam­i­lies in Mexico and Central America since 1982. By offer­ing access to agri­cul­tural land, long-term credit, and train­ing in sus­tain­able farm­ing tech­niques and com­mu­nity devel­op­ment, fam­i­lies who were once migrant pick­ers and the like are able to start, develop and even­tu­ally own homes, farms, and the busi­nesses they cre­ate for themselves.

As an aware­ness of the plight of those at ori­gin grows, peo­ple are gain­ing an under­stand­ing of what the cof­fee farm­ing fam­ily endures in order to pro­duce their prod­uct. Months of hunger, lack of edu­ca­tion and lim­ited access to health­care are only some of the chal­lenges they face. Imagine though, being on the eco­nomic level below that even of the small cof­fee farmer, on the level of the migrant cof­fee picker’s fam­ily, who not only make a dis­mal wage for a short period out of the year, but also have noth­ing to sus­tain the basic needs of rais­ing a fam­ily; shel­ter, food, clean water, and most impor­tantly, secure fam­ily relationships.

These are the peo­ple Agros International seeks out. Through Agros’ unique, time-tested, prac­ti­cal assis­tance, poor fam­i­lies gain the land and skills to build a bet­ter future. While respect­ing the knowl­edge, spir­i­tu­al­ity, and expe­ri­ence of the peo­ple, Agros sup­ports train­ing that brings about change in the whole per­son and the whole com­mu­nity. Agros offers step-by-step assis­tance and train­ing in the fol­low­ing areas:

  • Community and lead­er­ship development
  • Sustainable farm­ing tech­niques through diver­si­fied agri­cul­tural production
  • Building homes, self-composting latrines, com­mu­nity build­ings, roads, schools and more
  • Family Health and child well-being assess­ment and education
  • Business and mar­ket development

Agros believes that those who pay for goods and ser­vices retain a greater amount of dig­nity and develop a stronger sense of own­er­ship than those who learn to expect oth­ers to meet their needs for them. Agros mate­r­ial and finan­cial sup­port is for a lim­ited time. Therefore, the fam­i­lies who par­tic­i­pate must even­tu­ally sup­port them­selves through pro­duc­tive enter­prises, viable social struc­tures, and sus­tain­able man­age­ment of nat­ural resources. The great suc­cess of Agros’ model is evi­denced by the thou­sands of fam­i­lies who have paid off their land and micro-loans in the short span of five to ten years. Land own­er­ship is key to erad­i­cat­ing poverty.

Who Benefits From This Project?

Coffee is the main income-producing crop for many Agros vil­lages. Of Agros part­ner com­mu­ni­ties, 44 are pro­duc­ing cof­fee for com­mer­cial sale: 3 in Nicaragua, 1 in Honduras and 40 in Guatemala. Where pos­si­ble, Agros has worked with com­mu­ni­ties to secure con­tracts for inter­na­tional export, as well as facil­i­tat­ing direct trade relationships.

How Can I Help?

YOU CAN CHANGE LIVES. Visit to learn prac­ti­cal ways to get your staff, cus­tomers and com­mu­nity excited about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of cof­fee farm­ing fam­i­lies. Go on a “Vision Trip” to see Agros’ in action and join in this wor­thy work.

Project2Love -
“Books for Education” — Nicaragua

Categories: 2012, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Contact Name: Mery Santos

Location: Nicaragua
Email Address:
Phone Number: 916−933−3346

Project Description

Objective: To iden­tify the spe­cific edu­ca­tional needs sup­port­ing local cur­ricu­lum and cul­ture at the schools sup­ported by the cof­fee farms that part­ner with El Dorado Coffee and Tea Co., through the Project2Love brand.

In January of 2012, the “Books for Education” team trav­eled to Nicaragua to meet with La Virgen Estate team.

La Virgen Estate is located 186 kilo­me­ters north of Managua in the province of Matagalpa. Education is pro­vided to chil­dren and adults on how to care for cof­fee trees from the nurs­ery to plant­ing. Strong invest­ment in La Virgen Estate includes, improv­ing the qual­ity of life for farm work­ers and their fam­i­lies through a social respon­si­bil­ity model that involves edu­ca­tional pro­grams i.e.; preschool to sixth grade, alter­na­tive edu­ca­tion, adult edu­ca­tion, com­puter lit­er­acy, schol­ar­ships, health train­ing, occu­pa­tional safety, as well as free med­ical care twenty-four hours a day for farm work­ers, their fam­i­lies and nearby com­mu­ni­ties. The ulti­mate goal is to build a school that offers an accred­ited cur­ricu­lum that is rec­og­nized by the coun­tries edu­ca­tional system.

Donation of books by the El Dorado Hills com­mu­nity to Nicaragua

Donation of books at Las Marias Coffee launch­ing in El Dorado Hills

Who Benefits From This Project?

After a week of meet­ings and obser­va­tions, the fol­low­ing needs were identified:

  1. Teachers expressed the need for chil­dren and adult recre­ational read­ing.
    Action: El Dorado Coffee and Tea co., part­nered with local com­mu­nity mem­bers to raise funds to pur­chase Spanish books from the scholas­tic book, Club Leo.
    Result: One hun­dred and five books were donated to the farm.
    Impact: Two-hundred and eigh­teen chil­dren and adults ben­e­fited from this initiative.
  2. Spanish Language & Literature cur­ricu­lum for fifth and six graders. A list of books was pro­vided by the teach­ers to meet their cur­ricu­lum require­ments.
    Action: El Dorado Coffee and Tea Co., part­nered with an inde­pen­dent com­mu­nity book­store.
    Result: Forty books donated.
    Impact: Eighty chil­dren ben­e­fited from this initiative.
  3. Teacher Professional Development. The future High school will need per­ma­nent accred­ited teach­ers. Development plan in progress.

How Can I Help?

It is easy. You can con­tact our team to find the best way to sup­port not only the “Books for Education” pro­gram to Nicaragua but new farms we con­tinue adding to our list. In kind dona­tions of books can be made directly to us to take to the farm, direct to the farm, vol­un­teer your time to go to the schools dur­ing har­vest for sum­mer camp activ­i­ties. The imme­di­ate need is to con­tribute to fund train­ing pro­grams for accred­ited teach­ers in Nicaragua. Contact us to find out more.

Cup for Education

Categories: 2012, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Contact Name: Karen Gordon

Location: Nicaragua
Email Address:
Phone Number: 800−458−2233

Project Description

On a trip with Women In Coffee in January 2003 I vis­ited Nicaragua. In the moun­tains of Jinotega, the largest cof­fee grow­ing region, we met with women and chil­dren of small farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties who were mem­bers of coop­er­a­tives. These are groups of farm­ers banded together work­ing to improve their cof­fee, lives, and eco­nomic futures. However, there was an impor­tant fac­tor miss­ing, the basic mate­ri­als nec­es­sary to attend school, along with the actual schools in many of these com­mu­ni­ties. If chil­dren are unable to attend schools in their com­mu­ni­ties, they travel to a nearby town or three hours (if they can afford to) to a larger city. There are no extras to go around, no such thing as sci­ence equip­ment or a library. There are no mate­ri­als to take home or note­books for homework.

It has been proven time after time that edu­ca­tion is the first thing to be sac­ri­ficed to low inter­na­tional cof­fee prices. Clearly com­mu­nity efforts to edu­cate the farm­ers of the future need our sup­port. How can they improve their cof­fees if they can­not read, write an agri­cul­tural report, study the weather or under­stand the fun­da­men­tals of the cof­fee trade? How can we ask peo­ple to diver­sify their farms, build strong coöper­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions, become self-sufficient, and weather low cof­fee prices with­out basic resources for education?

In one such com­mu­nity in Jinotega, Nicaragua, we saw the power of the coöper­a­tive. They for­merly held school in the back room of somebody’s small hut. With some extra money, they pur­chased a plot of land and started to build a school­house. This build­ing was halfway done when they ran out of money. Women In Coffee, upon see­ing this struc­ture, were truly inspired. Raising $500 among them­selves they con­tributed this money to “Los Alpes” to assist in com­plet­ing the struc­ture. When I returned home to New York, I entreated the need of these peo­ple to Coffee Holding Company and we spon­sored a teacher for this same farm. This extra effort allowed two addi­tional grades to get edu­cated within their own community.

However, it didn’t stop there. I began my plans to found Cup for Education. An orga­ni­za­tion to help the chil­dren of cof­fee cof­fee grow­ers around the world improve the edu­ca­tional con­di­tions and bring access to bet­ter edu­ca­tion directly to their com­mu­ni­ties. At the Specialty Coffee Association con­ven­tion in Boston in 2003, we brought more atten­tion to this issue at the first ever Women In Coffee break­fast. Women from the United States and Canada gath­ered with women of Central and South America to dis­cuss the obsta­cles pre­vent­ing progress in the cof­fee indus­try. A raf­fle held by Coffee Holding Company raised an addi­tional $800 for “Los Alpes” allow­ing them to build out­houses, chalk­boards, and the begin­nings of a small library.

Current Project:
Maestro En Casa – 2011 & 2012
One of our cur­rent projects is located in the province of Intibucá, Honduras. This is an area of extreme poverty and geo­graphic iso­la­tion that has his­tor­i­cally col­lab­o­rated to deny the rural indige­nous pop­u­la­tion of their fun­da­men­tal right to edu­ca­tion. El Maestro en Casa works to restore this right by pro­vid­ing pri­mary and sec­ondary edu­ca­tion to over 450 stu­dents scat­tered through­out iso­lated moun­tain vil­lages. Cup for Education has sup­ported these efforts by spon­sor­ing one of the four edu­ca­tors, who, trav­el­ing by motor­cy­cle, teaches classes in remote vil­lage stu­dent cen­ters as well as the Study Center in La Esperanza.

Additional Projects:
El Paraiso Computer Lab – Heuhuetenango, Guatemlaa 2008 – present
El Paraiso is a long time project that Cup for Education has been sup­port­ing since 2008. It began with the dona­tion of com­put­ers and soft­ware for after school skill build­ing and edu­ca­tion, and con­tin­ues to be a resource for the chil­dren of local cof­fee grow­ers. Art pro­grams are held over school vaca­tion, and addi­tional read­ing pro­grams as well for lev­els pre-school through 6th grade. El Paraiso has become a cen­ter for the community’s children.

St. Gabriel Kahata Primary School, Kenya 2011-present
Over the past 2 years, Cup for Education with the assis­tance of grants has been able to improve the con­di­tions at the St. Gabriel Primary School in Kenya. We have build new pit latrines, for a safer, and more san­i­tary learn­ing envi­ron­ment. This has encour­aged increased enroll­ment. We have also been able to expand the class­rooms, as well as build addi­tional class­rooms, and intro­duce inter­net. We have addi­tional project requests as the need is great, but the fund­ing limited.

A Schoolhouse that par­tic­i­pates in Maestro in Casa in Honduras

Class in the com­mu­nity of San Antonio, Honduras

Class for the Bachillerato (10 & 11th grades)

How Can I Help?

Cup for Education uti­lizes your dona­tions to assist in pro­vid­ing chil­dren in rural Central and Latin America, and Africa with the school sup­plies they need to cre­ate a bet­ter future for them­selves. To learn more about our spe­cific projects or to make a dona­tion, please visit our web­site at

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