Peru Cafe Femenino - Empowering Women Coffee Farmers
With little money to count on, a coffee family generally prefers to invest available resources in educating the sons. The daughters stay at home and devote themselves to chores around the house and watching over the farm. They usually marry between 12 and 16 years of age and until now, women have only been allowed to participate in the domestic work of the home. If they were allowed to join work groups, it was only in a passive role.
In 2004, the first conference of Women Coffee Producers was held in Northern Peru. The concept of separating these women producers' coffee from the rest of the production was a new idea which came from the women themselves, searching for ideas that would improve their living conditions. The women continued these conferences which focused on building self-esteem, leadership, and sharing experiences. The women's response to these organizational activities has been amazing, as has the support offered by community leaders.
Today there are currently well over 1000 women coffee farmers involved with the Cafe Femenino Coffee Project in Peru . The women farmers participate in all farm activities: preparing the terrain, nurseries, and the compost to fertilize the soil; preparing bio-fertilizers; as well as harvesting, de-pulping, fermenting, and drying the coffee. It is very rare for women to participate in selling coffee or in deciding how the money from coffee sales will be used - all of which they do with Cafe Femenino.
The success of the Project initiated the creation of The Café Femenino Foundation, which provides grants to select programs and projects that enhance the lives of women and their families in coffee growing communities around the world.