Our UK team join the IWD celebrations with their own Rwandan coffee, this one from the KCRS Women’s Cooperative. We talk women, coffee, and worms with Jacquie Turner, advocate for the International Women's Coffee Association and co-founder of Kinini Coffee.
The complexities of sourcing coffee from small cooperatives is a topic our global roastery teams know well - depending on the size of farm, cooperative, time of year and local import and export connections, the coffee we have in each region varies. This hasn't stopped our UK team from joining the IWD celebrations with their own Rwandan coffee, this one from the KCRS Women’s Cooperative.
The formation of the KCRS Women's Cooperative hinges on the help of Jaqueline Turner. She and business partner Malcom founded R&B imports (also known as Kinini Coffee) to partner with farmers in the North of Rwanda with the aim of improving the well-being of the local community. Part of this was also to support their charity A New Beginning, which was started four years earlier in 2008.
The charity predominantly helps orphans and widows who have been displaced by the Rwandan genocide in 1994, who were then resettled by the government in an uncultivated savannah. By donating 10% of the price that importers pay for coffee directly to the charity, A New Beginning has established a school and health post to provide education and access to basic medical care, subsequently raising the standards of living for everyone in the community. This also speeds the pace of economic development to the point of self-sufficiency and self-governance within five years.
Jacquie’s experience in the coffee industry has been key in helping the women of the cooperative organise, complete necessary paperwork and access training to allow the cooperative to flourish. “A few of the women asked if we could help them with training and advice on forming a cooperative. We made different changes behind the scenes, got the necessary paperwork in place, and after a few days the cooperative was registered. 12 groups were formed based on proximity to the various villages the women were from in order to make training and traveling easier for all. After all of this was in place we promised them that the coffee they produced would be marketed and sold under the coop name. These women are now expert coffee farmers.”
Allpress will be donating £2 from each bag of Rwanda KRCS Cooperative sold directly back to the cooperative to further their efforts in creating sustainable farming practices within their coffee production, more specifically, worms. By investing in worm technology, the women can produce natural fertilizer (which is hard to source in Rwanda) and achieve organic certification, leading to better pricing for their coffee.
Our Rwanda KCRS Cooperative coffee is available in our UK cafes and online store from 7th March 2022 while stocks last.