2014

Working and Learning Together

Contact name: Dana Reinert
Email: dana@coexist.org
Phone: 202.827.8032
Project URL: www.coexistcampaign.org
Organization Name: Coexist Campaign

Project: Working and Learning Together
Location: Uganda
Additional information on location of project: Mbale, Uganda
Projected Impact: 1,500 Farmers

Project Description
In Eastern Uganda, decades of civil conflict tore communities apart and nearly drove some tribes to the brink of extinction. However, tribal leaders, whose own brothers had died in the fighting, rose up against the violence and reached across divides to usher in a new area of peace—a peace built around coffee. On the slopes of Mount Elgon, a dormant volcano, the main product of the region is a fantastic, highly grown, ancient Arabica variety of coffee.

No single tribe or religious group in the diverse area owned enough land to create a profitable coffee business on their own, so they had to collaborate and work together to establish a successful business. The farmers formed “Peace Kawomera Cooperative,” uniting Jewish farmers, Christian farmers, and Muslim farmers. They then started exporting their delicious Arabica beans. Coexist Coffee comes directly and solely from the farmers of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. As a fair trade product, we go even further as having the honor of being the first coffee retailer to buy directly from this cooperative.

The amazing coffee is shade grown using organic practices, and it is intercropped with vanilla trees, cocoa trees, and local fruit and nut trees. All profits from our coffee sales go directly back to the community in the form of education, where we support the farmers’ children going to integrated schools where Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children learn together.

Our programs create a systemic solution for post-conflict and fragile states that bring people together so that they can advance their own development – Work together, learn together, and live together. As the Cooperative members collaborate on shared goals and actions, they foster social cohesion and binding relationships. When children are learning together in diverse environments, it is proven to reduce sectarian and religiously fueled violence.

At Coexist, we do not impose a predetermined solution on a fragile community, but rather, we become an economic partner with those who are trying to make a difference and enhance their opportunities. We call this model the 100 Percent Plus. The Direct Trade premiums are reinvested in the business and in the community to grow their share of the value chain. The profits are sent back to support education, help create opportunities for the farmers’ children, and advance the community as a whole. Coexist Coffee is a product of the Coexist Campaign, an initiative of Coexist that sources products from post-conflict areas and fragile states.

How can I help?
Every time you buy a Coexist product, we, in return, donate profits to areas of conflict in the form of supporting educational initiatives through the Coexist Campaign. You can find our products and information about our products at www.coexistcampaign.org. You can also give monetary donations directly to Coexist Campaign’s other projects at www.coexist.org

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