The mothers behind your morning brew

The Story

The Story

Over 70% of the coffee workforce in Rwanda is made up of women. Coffee is an extremely labour-intensive crop that only yields one annual harvest. It is vulnerable to unpredictable weather that increases the risk of pests and diseases. Combined, this means women coffee growers are disproportionately impacted by climate change; increased financial vulnerability from precarious crop health, all-the-while balancing the double burden of domestic duties traditionally assigned to them.

Photographed is a female coffee grower, Adrienne Mukarusagara who is a member of Kopakama Coffee Cooperative in Rusizi, Western Rwanda. Coffee cooperatives in Rwanda commonly have ‘Women’s Associations’ whereby their women members club together to own a plot of land with coffee trees for cultivation independent of their family farm (of which their husbands often own the rights to). Adrienne is a member of Kopakama’s Women’s Association called ‘Ejo Heza’, meaning ‘bright morning’ in Kinyarwanda.

In the photograph she is carrying her baby using dried grass and banana leaves to practice ‘mulching’, a technique designed to lock moisture into the soil to improve soil health and therefore yield, and to enable cash-crop intercropping later. Climate change has led to increased unpredictability in weather patterns, therefore mitigation strategies like mulching have become critical, requiring even more farm labour.

Sustainable Harvest in Rwanda supports producer organsaitions (POs) to secure livelihoods through coffee. Partnering with Challenges Worldwide, a company originating in Edinburgh, they have supported POs through capacity-building and quality training exercises, facilitating high-value international export for improved farmer incomes.

The mothers behind your morning brew

Western Province, Rwanda
3
Organisation
Photo credit
Rwanda

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The theme of climate justice touches on many issues including politics, trade, and human rights. To learn more about the climate crisis, the inequalities it emphasises, and how different organisations are working towards a fairer and more sustainable world, check out the links below:

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