For every pound of Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE green coffee sold, InterAmerican Coffee will donate $0.20 to the program through International Coffee Day.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of InterAmerican Coffee
For green importer InterAmerican Coffee and nonprofit organization Coffee Kids, International Coffee Day is coming a little early this year. InterAmerican is spending the summer leading up to this holiday (October 1) raising awareness for Coffee Kids, a program that supports aspiring young coffee producers in coffee-growing countries. Coffee Kids works with the Youth Committee of UNIOCAFE, a producer association in Honduras, to sell a micro-lot to InterAmerican called Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE; for every pound of this green coffee that InterAmerican sells to coffee roasters, they will donate $0.20 to Coffee Kids.
“Instead of celebrating just one day, we’d like to use the whole summer to raise awareness of Coffee Kids and encourage our Oct. 1 donation higher!” says InterAmerican’s CEO Florian Benkhofer. “We’d like to make Coffee Day a culmination and celebration of the efforts of everyone involved—from U.S. roasters to the Coffee Kids team and of course to these young producers, who truly are the future of coffee.”
Founded in 1988, Coffee Kids is the first nonprofit in the specialty coffee industry dedicated to improving coffee farmers’ quality of life. Part of the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung Foundation, the group does this in several ways; one major component is an 18-month-long Rural Business Workshop that provides agronomy training, mentorship, access to financing, and entrepreneurial skills for young farmers to make wise business decisions.
So far, Coffee Kids has hosted these workshops for over 550 participants across Honduras, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Tanzania. They also offer mentorships by linking young farmers with local, successful farmers, as well as providing seed capital funding that gives these young farmers collaborative decision-making power.
“These young adults are already creative and motivated, but often they lack the bridge between ideas and action. Experimenting with new techniques and technology in agriculture, building financial literacy, and developing a network for collaboration all offer youth new perspectives, connections, and the confidence to chart their own course,” says Joanna Furgiuele, director of partnerships and strategic initiatives at the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung Foundation.
InterAmerican has been supporting Coffee Kids for four years, and its donations leading up to October 1 mark this anniversary. In addition to this special donation, the green coffee importer currently purchases the Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE lot with a $0.10/lb. premium. Essentially, they buy this particular lot for an extra $0.10 per pound with the intention that that money goes back to the young producers who work to make this micro-lot.
Thanks to their contributions, UNIOCAFE’s quality has not only risen, but the association has also expanded its program to include 100 new youth in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Although InterAmerican serves as a major donor, Coffee Kids is also in the midst of its own fundraising efforts this season by way of “Inter+National Coffee Days.” They hope to get everyone celebrating both National and International Coffee Days (September 29 and October 1) by encouraging small businesses to support them through a variety of potential initiatives; this could be through dedicating a portion of a day’s sales to Coffee Kids, hosting an event, and more. Check out what other donors did last year, and email them to come up with an idea of your own for a partnership.