An Innovative Project to Support Coffee-Growing Communities: Coffee Meets Water Targets Acatenagno, Guatemala
Nearly 750 million people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Many have probably heard this staggering statistic before, but what some don’t realize is what people do to get water, if they’re one of the 750 million.
Without water, there is no food, no life and certainly no coffee. Adam Paul, founder of Los Angeles Coffee Club, shared that œcoffee passes through the hands of about 32 people before arriving at your door or in your cup. Every one of those people along the supply chain rely on access to clean water in order to survive.
So what would one do to get water, if it’s so necessary? You get it from wherever you can, at whatever cost, despite the immediate and long-term risks associated with it. Women and children are tasked with walking miles every day to collect water from nearby rivers or streams, often the same water that is used for bathing and for animals. Drinking contaminated water risks your health; according to the United Nations Development Program, œhalf the hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
Good Neighbors, an international humanitarian organization, has been examining access to clean water in coffee-producing regions. Most coffee is grown in developing countries, yet access to clean water for those working on farms and their families is almost non-existent. When there are sources of clean water in a community, the impact is immediate–health is improved dramatically, children can attend school, and women can seek income-generating opportunities, which leads to an investment in their families and community.
Good Neighbors launched its first Coffee Meets Water campaign in 2014 to repair broken water wells in Sidama, Ethiopia. The campaign was a huge success, raising 177% of its original goal online, plus additional donations offline after the campaign ended. With the funds, Good Neighbors was able to repair 9 broken water wells in Sidama, restoring clean water to nearly 2,000 people. In addition, a new water well will be built in their community. But most importantly, they were able to teach community leaders how to repair their own wells in the future.
With the support of Equator Coffees & Teas, Demitasse, Portola Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles Coffee Club, Groundwork Coffee and Copa Vida, Good Neighbors recently launched its second Coffee Meets Water campaign. This time, the goal is to provide water filtration systems for schools in the coffee-producing region of Acatenango, Guatemala. With coffee being the primary source of income, the children of the workers attend schools where their water source is contaminated, and sometimes even mixed with bleach in hopes that it will purify the water.
When asked why they joined the campaign this year, Ted Stachura from Equator said, œWe partnered with Coffee Meets Water because of our obsession with sustainability. The fact that this program is focused on coffee-producing communities around the world helped seal the deal.
Good Neighbors is grateful to their partners who realize the importance of clean water for people around the world, and for joining the campaign to support a cause that would resonate with the coffee industry.
To support Coffee Meets Water in Acatenango, Guatemala, please click here.