Tag Archive for: Nicaragua

Cup for Education

Scholarships in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Three year stu­dent schol­ar­ship in Nicaragua at La Bastille Technical Agricultural School in Jinotega, Nicaragua

Cup for Education pro­vides edu­ca­tional infra­struc­tures, mate­ri­als, and resources to cof­fee grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Through var­i­ous part­ner­ships with local lead­ers, edu­ca­tors, and orga­ni­za­tions, Cup for Education seeks to improve the over­all well-being of cof­fee farm­ers and their chil­dren through edu­ca­tion. We believe edu­ca­tion is the foun­da­tion for a bet­ter and brighter future for all the chil­dren in cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

Local, well-supplied, edu­ca­tional facil­i­ties are absolutely cru­cial to rural cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties. The time and money needed to travel to nearby towns and larger cities in order to learn are sim­ply unavail­able, and poor infra­struc­ture in many of these remote areas make it very dif­fi­cult to do so. When edu­ca­tion is not eas­ily accessed, it leads to frus­tra­tion and a con­tin­ued cycle of illit­er­acy. When edu­ca­tion is close to home, both farm­ers and their chil­dren ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cally and socially. Since 2003, Cup for Education has com­pleted a series of diverse projects that tar­get each community’s spe­cific needs. Whether it is build­ing latrines in Kenya, sup­port­ing women’s lit­er­acy projects in Papua New Guinea, pro­vid­ing new desks for chil­dren in Nicaragua, or pro­vid­ing mate­ri­als and fund­ing for library sup­port in var­i­ous parts of Guatemala to pro­mote read­ing and lit­er­acy; Cup for Education val­ues all aspects of the edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence and aims to improve what­ever the com­mu­nity feels is most urgent or necessary.

One of our most recent suc­cess sto­ries is Juana Rosa, from Nicaragua. Juana was cho­sen to receive a three-year long schol­ar­ship to attend the La Bastille Technical Agricultural School in Jinotega, Nicaragua. This school is based on a cof­fee estate, in an area where only 20% of young peo­ple cur­rently attend sec­ondary school. Along with pro­vid­ing an aca­d­e­mic edu­ca­tion, the school also teaches a tech­ni­cal diploma in agro-business and runs seven school busi­nesses. The busi­nesses include chicken and egg pro­duc­tion, as well as a dairy plant, pigs, a veg­etable gar­den, and an Ecolodge & restau­rant where it is pos­si­ble to hike and bird­watch. Graduates from the school leave with an edu­ca­tion, job offers, and finan­cial skills to sup­port their fam­i­lies. The schol­ar­ship money paid for her tuition, books, and dor­mi­tory expenses. We are proud to say that Juana was one of the top stu­dents in her class, mak­ing a speech at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony. Upon grad­u­a­tion this past December 2014, Juana received a job work­ing in Costa Rica for Coffee Source, renown cof­fee grow­ers and now importers/exporters for the past 15 years. One of her first respon­si­bil­i­ties was work­ing as a cup­ping assis­tant at the Costa Rican Cup of Excellence.

Furthermore, Cup has already selected another wor­thy stu­dent from the region to receive a schol­ar­ship to the school for the next three years. The stu­dent was selected from among a list of many wor­thy can­di­dates from the cof­fee area in Jinotega, and it is our hope to be able to sup­port more than one stu­dent some­day. The school is one of the best oppor­tu­ni­ties for these chil­dren in the cof­fee regions of Nicaragua to achieve skills and edu­ca­tion that will allow them to break the cycle of poverty that is so preva­lent among cof­fee farmers.

Ultimately, Cup for Education strives to aug­ment the qual­ity of life and edu­ca­tion in coffee-growing regions. This begins with edu­ca­tion. Literate and well-educated chil­dren will improve their lives, those of their fam­i­lies, and ulti­mately, their coffees.

What You Can Do to Help
One of the best ways to help Cup for Education is to sign up for e-mail updates, “like” us on face book for the most up-to-date pic­tures from projects, and share our mis­sion with friends and fam­ily.  Of course, we wel­come dona­tions in the form of money or mate­ri­als.  Most of us involved with Cup for Education work in cof­fee and travel to these com­mu­ni­ties quite fre­quently through­out the year on busi­ness.  Often we bring books and school sup­plies for schools located in and around these com­mu­ni­ties.  We rec­om­mend these books be in Spanish, or bi-lingual.

Cup for Education

Project Contact:
Karen Gordon


3475 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314

Project URL:

Bridging Agricultural Communities to Sustainability in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
In the rugged hills of rural Nicaragua, Agros International part­ners with agri­cul­tural fam­i­lies to build com­mu­ni­ties that empower them to change their lives. Agros helps peo­ple gain the exper­tise and expe­ri­ence they need to free them­selves from exploita­tion and grow thriv­ing agri­cul­tural busi­nesses by pro­vid­ing train­ing in busi­ness, agri­cul­ture, and finance, and pro­vid­ing access to hous­ing, health care, san­i­ta­tion and clean water.

We invest from day one in devel­op­ing lead­er­ship and own­er­ship among part­ner fam­i­lies with the inten­tion that in 8 to 10 years the com­mu­nity will be fully self-sustainable. Families are offered the trans­for­ma­tional oppor­tu­nity to become landown­ers, earn­ing the title to the land on which they live by pay­ing off a care­fully per­son­al­ized loan. Children who may have been sick due to lack of health care have access to doc­tors and edu­ca­tion. Mothers receive pre­na­tal care and nutri­tional train­ing. Subsistence farm­ing makes way for robust, market-driven crop production.

This year in Nicaragua, Agros launches our first regional project that bridges our tra­di­tional vil­lage model to regional impact in agri­cul­tural and health train­ing, san­i­ta­tion, and more. Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access. In 2015, we wel­comed the first 50 fam­i­lies onto the land where they will live and build their new farm­ing busi­nesses. Concurrently, we will also con­tinue our out­reach to regional fam­i­lies by pro­vid­ing train­ing in agri­cul­ture, nutri­tion, and health.

“I’ve always been a fighter,” says Rosario, a farmer and entre­pre­neur in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua, and sin­gle mother of three.

Hard work is noth­ing new to Rosario, who began work­ing full-time in the fields as a day laborer with her father at age 17. Before mov­ing to Tierra Nueva, Rosario worked along­side men, har­vest­ing cof­fee and cut­ting weeds with a machete. It was a hard way to earn a liv­ing for her three children.

When the oppor­tu­nity arose to work with Agros, Rosario didn’t hes­i­tate. She imme­di­ately noticed that there were no stores in the com­mu­nity, so she decided to take a risk: she invested all of her sav­ings in a small store that she runs from her home.

The store is not Rosario’s only hope for the future. She is also invest­ing in future cof­fee har­vests. “I’m try­ing to fill my land with cof­fee plants,” she says, know­ing cof­fee often pro­duces a higher return than other tra­di­tional crops like corn and beans.

Like many part­ners in Tierra Nueva, Rosario would never have dared to try to plant cof­fee with­out the tech­ni­cal and phys­i­cal sup­port of Agros’ agri­cul­tural staff. “Agros has helped us a lot,” she says. “They have helped us with the mate­ri­als, helped us know how to have bet­ter har­vests. Through their tech­ni­cal sup­port, we have had bet­ter har­vests and more earnings.”

With Rosario, we invite you to join us on this incred­i­ble jour­ney of empow­er­ment and transformation.

Readers can help by
Tierras de Vida Annual Dinner: We invite indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions to spon­sor a table at our annual fundrais­ing event, Tierras de Vida. Email us at to learn more or to become a sponsor.

Direct from the Field Updates and Webinars: We host quar­terly updates near our offices in Seattle, WA. For those not able to attend the events in per­son, we occa­sion­ally host a web-based update. To learn more or attend, email Claire at

One Seed Gift Catalog: Find mean­ing­ful gift ideas that help fam­i­lies in need, such as fluffy chicks or an acre of seed. We’ll send your loved one a per­son­al­ized card inform­ing them of your car­ing gift. One Seed gifts sup­port Agros’ work in Central America. Find your next gift at

Agros International’s work is made pos­si­ble through dona­tions from indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions who sup­port our mis­sion to end poverty. Visit us on the web: Find us on Facebook: Contact a Philanthropy Services Officer for a per­sonal intro­duc­tion:

Project Contact:
Christa Countryman



Project URL:

Nicaragua, Matagalpa Region

Project Impact:
Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies (5,000 peo­ple) to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access.

Haiti Coffee: An Economic Development Proposal

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Haiti lies 800 miles off the Florida coast but seems a world away. Decades of polit­i­cal unrest and nat­ural dis­as­ters have dis­sem­i­nated its once large cof­fee sec­tor, thought to have at one time pro­duced half of the global mar­ket. Between 1998 and 2002, annual cof­fee exports fell to only four mil­lion dol­lars, less than one sixth their for­mer size. Today it is a frac­tion of that.

Belief in Haiti’s poten­tial as a high-quality cof­fee pro­ducer runs strong among cof­fee pro­fes­sion­als. Many remem­ber a taste rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent from other Caribbean cof­fees, such as Cuban and Dominican.  What is being dis­cov­ered is that if wild Haitian cof­fees (Typica) are allowed to mature and grow, numer­ous taste pro­files emerge—provided that peo­ple are trained in pick­ing, sort­ing, and pro­cess­ing. But there is much work to do in rebuild­ing the spe­cialty cof­fee indus­try in Haiti.

Hemisphere Coffee Roasters is work­ing with in-country part­ners to put the pieces together to see an “eco­nomic lift” sweep through this region through the pro­duc­tion of spe­cialty grade cof­fee. At 1500 meters, they have excel­lent coffee-growing con­di­tions. Our eval­u­a­tion and cup­pings have pro­duced fan­tas­tic results. Chocolaty and caramel notes with low acid­ity impressed Paul Kurtz, a cer­ti­fied Q-Grader work­ing on this project.

ServeHAITI, a health­care and eco­nomic devel­op­ment NGO in Haiti, has tar­geted the Grand Bwa region in the Ouest Department. Sixty thou­sand peo­ple live in this region bor­der­ing the Dominican of Republic.  Most have no access to health­care, and very lit­tle edu­ca­tion or opportunity.

Hemisphere Coffee Roasters has been work­ing with indi­vid­ual farm­ers and farmer groups in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Thailand over the past 8 years, enabling grow­ers to reach their full poten­tial and access mar­kets pre­vi­ously unavail­able to these farm­ers. Recently, Hemisphere Coffee Roasters’ owner and green cof­fee buyer, Paul Kurtz, was invited by ServeHAITI to join them in work­ing at an eco­nomic devel­op­ment project involv­ing restora­tion of spe­cialty cof­fee production.

Coffee is cur­rently grow­ing in small plots under a fairly thick shade cover. Because of the lack of mar­kets and tech­ni­cal know-how many of these plots are shrink­ing, mak­ing room for crops with a more imme­di­ate return such as corn and beans. We are work­ing with Floresta, a NGO that already has farmer groups orga­nized, to dis­trib­ute an improved vari­ety of cof­fee to these groups. A struc­ture has been put in place to buy only ripe cher­ries and do the pro­cess­ing at cen­tral buy­ing sta­tions across the region.

Readers can help by
We are look­ing for fund­ing to pur­chase sev­eral pieces of equip­ment to set up at our final pro­cess­ing and sort­ing area out­side Saint Pierre. A facil­ity is secured that will house this oper­a­tion. Equipment to pur­chase is sev­eral small de-pulpers and a huller to shell the parch­ment (for the wet-processed) and hull for nat­u­rals. Anyone inter­ested in dis­cussing how you might get directly involved are invited to con­tact Paul Kurtz at Hemisphere Coffee Roasters.

Project Contact:
Paul Kurtz



Project URL:

Haiti, Grand Bwa Region

Project Impact:
Sixty Thousand peo­ple live in this region, many are small crop farmers.

Building Food-Secure Communities in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
In 2011, with fund­ing from Keurig Green Mountain, we began our part­ner­ship with the coöper­a­tive to help the com­mu­nity build a long-term plan to fight sea­sonal hunger. After our ini­tial plan­ning phase with coop staff and work­shops with mem­bers, SOPPEXCCA estab­lished a Food Security Committee, which over­sees the coop’s strate­gic plan and community-appropriate strate­gies to address “los meses fla­cos” – the “Thin Months” of hunger.

In 2013, we began the sec­ond phase of the project: sup­port­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of food secu­rity strate­gies iden­ti­fied dur­ing the plan­ning process, and estab­lish­ing appro­pri­ate indi­ca­tors, time­lines, and mon­i­tor­ing & eval­u­a­tion pro­to­cols. Key to the coop’s suc­cess will be its abil­ity to mon­i­tor progress, rather than rely­ing on exter­nal part­ners. To this end, we worked together to build a mon­i­tor­ing & eval­u­a­tion sys­tem that coop staff can use to mea­sure progress and iden­tify imped­i­ments to success.

A community-based Food Security Committee was estab­lished to over­see all pro­grams and ensure that food secu­rity remains an inte­gral part of SOPPEXCCA’s mission.

SOPPEXCCA also cre­ated a Youth Committee, an eco­log­i­cal school gar­den, and nutri­tion train­ing for youth edu­ca­tion. Our imple­ment­ing part­ner, Pueblo a Pueblo, trained coop staff and a school rep on basic method­ol­ogy, includ­ing gar­den man­age­ment and cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment for the classroom.

We’ve trained 100 pro­ducer fam­i­lies on the impor­tance of healthy food and nutri­tion, food secu­rity, and crop man­age­ment, and we’ve trained SOPPEXCCCA staff to con­duct these food secu­rity workshops.

Last year, 137 fam­i­lies grew 337 acres of beans, rep­re­sent­ing 243% of the orig­i­nal land area goal and 171% of the orig­i­nal goal for the num­ber of fam­i­lies ben­e­fit­ing. SOPPEXCCA con­structed a stor­age facil­ity that can accom­mo­date 300 tons of basic grains, fea­tur­ing 51 metal silos to ensure quality.

More than 100 coop mem­bers are being trained in the cul­ti­va­tion of at least one alter­na­tive crop. A cacao nurs­ery was cre­ated in 2014, with a goal of estab­lish­ing 24,000 cacao plants in 2015. We are devel­op­ing a busi­ness plan with the coop to cre­ate a local farm­ers mar­ket to sell member-family crops.

160 farm plans were devel­oped to improve food secu­rity and sup­port soil and water con­ser­va­tion practices.

Member-farm inte­grated soil and water con­ver­sa­tion prac­tices have been estab­lished, with 7,000 meters of hedgerows planted on 83 farms. Bean seeds were pur­chased to estab­lish cover crops and improve soil fer­til­ity on land with soil fer­til­ity problems.

Readers can help by
This pro­gram is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence for the 670 fam­i­lies work­ing hard to improve their liveli­hoods and put food on their tables, every day of the year. Over the next two years, we’ll con­tinue to part­ner with SOPPEXCCA to help them sus­tain and build on the great strides they’ve made. They’re com­mit­ted and ener­gized, and we’re excited to be a part of it. The coop needs con­tin­ued invest­ment to help them sus­tain and scale this pro­gram up to ben­e­fit more fam­i­lies in Jinotega. Readers can donate to this project online, or by con­tact­ing Janice Nadworny.

Project Contact:
Janice Nadworny


802 482‑6868

Project URL:

Nicaragua, SOPPEXCCA Coöperative, Jinotega

Project Impact:
This project will empower the SOPPEXCCA coöperative’s 670 mem­bers to build sus­tain­able, locally man­aged food secu­rity, while diver­si­fy­ing their livelihoods.

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.

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