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Coffee Quality Institute: Engendering development

From the November 2014 issue.

Empowering women is about more than just equality, but improving productivity for the coffee industry as a whole.

In Popayan, the capital city of Colombia’s Cauca department, an American woman sits down with a group of female coffee farmers.

They share the same kind of conversation women have the world over – talking about their work, families, money, and the trials and tribulations of their day-to-day lives.

But this conversation is a lot more than idle chitchat. The American woman leading the talk is Kimberly Easson, Gender Program Advisor for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

What these women are telling Easson is poised to form the basis for future development of the coffee sector.

The session is part of a series of four gender equity workshops that CQI will be having over the next year in support of its mission to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of those who produce it.

CQI will hold similar conversations with men and women, both single and coupled, in other parts of the coffee producing world. Combined with an extensive literature review, CQI is looking to draft a comprehensive, data-based report that can be used to inform gender-focused policy and research in the coffee industry for years to come.

The business case for everyone – from private companies through to governments and NGOs – to take an interest in this work is powerful.

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