The International Women’s Coffee Alliance, an organization that encourages women’s empowerment in coffee-growing countries, will celebrate its 15th anniversary during this year’s SCA Global Expo.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of the IWCA
On April 21st, members of the the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) will come together to celebrate the organization’s 15th anniversary with a commemorative breakfast during the Global Specialty Expo hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). To honor the milestone, the IWCA will release a celebratory logo and will discuss plans to expand and move forward with its mission to empower women in coffee-producing countries and give them the tools to build self-sustaining groups.
In its 15 years in operation, the IWCA has worked to bring recognition to women in the coffee supply chain and provide guidance and resources for communities to give women more leadership roles and become self-sufficient. “Not only have we formed a tight-knit organization comprised of 22 women-led chapters stretched across the globe’s coffee-growing regions,” says Mery Santos, IWCA president, “we also have committed time and resources to help women of the coffee industry create a more unified and sustainable community.” The IWCA was founded by women from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the United States, and includes chapters in Burundi, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Last month, a number of coffee shops across the United States threw coffee competitions in order to raise money for the IWCA.
At the breakfast, in addition to IWCA unveiling the new logo and discussing the future, its board members will also engage the audience and hope to start a dialogue between attendees, presenters, and members. Many of the group’s 22 chapter leaders will also be in attendance, and will speak about some of the successes they’ve had in building organizational change within their community and what work is still left to be done.
“During the breakfast meeting, we will also unveil our plan for ongoing support of women producers–and highlighting the resources it will require,” says Mery. “It will include a ‘call to action’ for our members to join in curbing gender inequality as women in the industry seek a sustainable living in what can be a volatile and risky market. All proceeds from our breakfast will support the IWCA global organization in service to our global chapter network.”
Tickets are still available for the event and cost $75, which will go toward continued support of IWCA’s global initiatives. The event will be held on April 21 at the Washington State Convention Center from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.