Contact name: Justin Mool
Project URL: www.groundsforhealth.org.
Organization Name: Grounds for Health
Project: Healthy Women, Healthy Harvest: Voices of the Community
Additional information on location of project: Current projects are in Ethiopia, Peru, and Nicaragua. Projects in the past were in Mexico and Tanzania
Projected Impact: 10,000+
Grounds for Health partners with the coffee industry to reduce unacceptably high rates of cervical cancer in coffee farming communities in Latin America and Africa. By engaging coffee communities and partnering with coffee cooperatives and local and national ministries of health, Grounds for Health has strengthened the local capacity and has established the foundation for sustainable cervical cancer prevention programs.
Cervical cancer is a preventable disease the kills more than 275,000 women every year, with the majority of deaths occurring in the developing world. In most coffee growing regions, cervical cancer prematurely takes more women than pregnancy and childbirth. These women are needed by their families, communities, and by the coffee industry because they provide over 70 percent of labor in the harvesting of coffee and the sorting of coffee beans.
Since 1996, Grounds for Health has worked with 18 coffee cooperatives, trained 365 doctors and nurses, educated 792 community health promoters, equipped 56 health centers, and screened over 46,000 women for cervical cancer. Three years ago, Grounds for Health began collecting interviews with participants and beneficiaries of its programs. These men and women uniquely capture the impact of Grounds for Health programs and put a voice behind the numbers.
In Peru, the president of the National Coffee Association spoke about the importance of providing access to women, “Grounds for Health has succeeded in breaking down the barriers that many women face. Often women in the countryside are afraid of or insecure about going to the doctor. Grounds for Health has brought them confidence and the security to participate in these screening events, which in many cases can save their lives.”
Once women overcome these barriers to access, an essential component of Grounds for Health’s model is to ensure they receive complete preventative services from screening through treatment. In Nicaragua, the vice president of a coffee cooperative partner spoke about this commitment, “I think that we have achieved our objective of bringing better health to women. Women came to be seen, perhaps some with fears. However, they received care without fear and all of the women who tested positive have received treatment.”
Direct services are just the beginning. A regional health authority in Nicaragua spoke about the important of capacity building. Grounds for Health’s local trainings and campaigns give doctors and nurses the skills to continually provide comprehensive well-woman care. “If we look honestly, our national health system has not had the resources necessary to provide the space, training, or priority for VIA. I have seen that the theory and the skills that the Grounds for Health trained doctors and nurses learn in the conference and clinical training is quickly implemented by the providers.”
Ultimately, Grounds for Health’s success is made possible through local partnerships and community buy ins. The president of a coffee cooperative in Peru explains, “It is one of the principles of the cooperative—to safeguard the common good of the producers and the community. Seldom are co-ops involved in health projects, but here, we have brought together the coffee co-ops and the local government. We have seen involvement from local health authorities, the health center, and ourselves—the co-ops.”
What You Can Do to Help
The best way to get involved is to become a financial supporter of Grounds for Health. The Leadership Circle includes the ECOM Foundation, Keurig Green Mountain, Monin Inc., Royal Coffee Inc., and Swiss Water Decaffeinated. Major donors include Allegro Coffee, Caribou Coffee Company, Club Coffee LP, Coffee Enterprises, Flavor & Fragrance Specialties Inc., InterAmerican Coffee Inc., S&D Coffee & Tea, Scolari Engineering, and Volcafe Specialty Coffee. Become a supporter today at www.groundsforhealth.org/donate.