The Peruvian Café Femenino Food Security Initiative began in 2009 with a mission and vision to reduce and ultimately end hunger in the coffeelands of northeastern Peru, which is still continuing today. This project started with first focusing on the women and giving them some very basic education. Since that time, this Food Security Program has grown to incorporate more women and men of several surrounding coffee producing communities in the region. After the initial educational workshop phase, subsequent phases have included family gardens, the re-introduction of quinoa grain crops, guinea pig breeding programs, and food storage projects.
As this project focuses on hunger and the collateral damage attached to hunger in the coffeelands, we had to look at what were the various causes of hunger that were affecting the communities we work with. We listened to the women as they described what the problems were and then through a partnership, we began addressed them in methodical phases.
These problems include:
#1 Lack of understanding about basic nutrition and sanitation.
#2 Lack of vegetables and fruits in the diet, causing low nutritional intake.
#3 Use of white rice as a main staple in diet has created little nutritional value consumed.
#4 Traditional use of quinoa in the Andean diet has been forgotten in many rural communities.
#5 Food produced during growing season perishes on the ground when there is surplus, all the while the family experiences hunger during other months out of the year called the “Thin Months.”
#6 Lack of sufficient protein sources.
The First Phase of this program began by educating the women of 10 communities about basic nutrition and sanitation. The Second Phase included 15 communities and instructed/enabled the women to add two new nutritional sources for their family by implementing family gardens and guinea pig breeding programs. The Third Phase included 20 communities and enabled the women to add a re-introduced crop of quinoa, which was a traditional source of protein generations ago but has been forgotten. The Fourth Phase included women of 25 villages and instructed them on food storage concepts to conserve food for year-around consumption, such as pickling and canning.
Who Benefits from this project?
To begin with, the beneficiaries of this project are the women coffee farmers and their families. As the women receive training in Food Security Initiatives, these concepts are immediately implemented in their homes. Their children are impacted the most significantly with better nutrition and sanitation concepts. The First Phase of this project began with 10 Educational Workshops benefitting 10 different communities. The Second Phase grew to include and benefit 15 communities. The Third Phase increased its reach 20 communities; and currently, in the Fourth Phase, 25 communities are benefitting. Currently this project is reaching over 2,200 people and is expected to grow.
How Can I Help?
This project is taking place inside the small coffee communities the Café Femenino Foundation is working in. In Peru, the trainers are a volunteer staff with the material costs funded by the Foundation. The best way to be a part of this Food Security Initiative is to donate to the Café Femenino Foundation. This can be done by going to www.coffeecan.org .
Additionally, volunteers who are interested in fundraising with the Foundation can contact us directly. Many of our donors have fundraisers expressly for this project. As more funding is directed to the project, more communities will be served; and we all know that there is much need. Malnutrition rates for children under five years of age among coffee producing communities of northeastern Peru are some of the most significant. It is with this program that we will begin to see the reduction in malnutrition and healthier communities.
Contact Name: Connie Kolosvary
Web Site: www.coffeecan.org
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: 800.791.1181