Empowering Women in Coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo became the 6th African country to join the International Women's Coffee Alliance network of global chapters. The goal of the non-for-profit organization is to empower women in the coffee supply chain by helping women live more meaningful and sustainable lives and to help advance women into decision making roles. Chantal Binwa, a coffee farmer from the D.R. Congo started this journey of forming a national chapter after attending a leadership training workshop over a year ago for African women in coffee. Chantal was proud to join the network by signing a Letter of Understanding with IWCA.  

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Power Shift - The Oxford Forum for Women in the World Economy

I had the great experience of travelling to Oxford, England to serve as the antagonist for a case study written by Mary Johnstone-Louis, a doctoral student studying Business at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School.  I first met Mary during an International Trade Centre event in Mexico City.  She was fascinated by the work we were doing on behalf of the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to help women in developing nations achieve greater benefit from their work in coffee.  Mary contacted me and expressed an interest and immediately began work on what is the now the most impressive case study written on this subject.  

We had the good fortune of having meeting British news reporter and television presenter, Justin Rowlatt.  Justin hosts a regular program on BBC called In the Balance.  We were thrilled that he dedicated one show to our cause, in which he aptly titled Harnessing the Power of Women.  

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Rwanda - Women In Coffee

Rwanda has a strong support system within their government along with the trade support organizations for empowering women.  Women in Rwanda seek opportuntites for advancement. They are very self-suffient and ready to explore ideas for the next step within the coffe industry.  Coffee grown in Rwanda is exceptional. The women accept challenges and are ready to accept leadership roles in their country.   

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Tanzania - Women In Coffee

Phyllis Johnson, President of BD Imports, traveled to five East African coffee producing countries, including Tanzania, on behalf of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) sponsored by a grant from the International Trade Center’s Women in Trade Programme.  The objective of the trip was to offer continued support in establishing IWCA (International Women in Coffee) chapters in East Africa.  The work began in 2009 with IWCA hosting its first women in coffee workshop.  

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IWCA Leadership Training for Women in Coffee Project

“Think big, consider what you can do not only in your country but outside of your country as well.”  The International Women’s Coffee Alliance Leadership Training Program challenged African women leaders in coffee to think big, thrive in their current roles as leaders, and consider opportunities for advancement, both personally and professionally. This report summarizes the IWCA Leadership Training Program, the goals we committed to achieve and opportunities for further advancements.

African women leaders in coffee learned effective communication skills and  how to achieve their goals working with a broad range of leadership styles.  Participants learned the value in always being prepared in order to capitalize on an unexpected opportunity when given a window of thirty seconds to discuss their business.  With silver cupping spoon in hand, each woman was challenged with moving away from the idea that coffee grown in their country tastes great simply because of where it is grown.  They gained a better understanding of the competitiveness of the global coffee market and how coffee is evaluated by buyers. 

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The 2010 World Export Development Forum

The 2010 World Export Development Forum (WEDF) held in Chongqing, China, September 9-12 brought together close to 400 participants representing 60 different countries. The forum was opened by the International Trade Center (ITC) Executive Director, Patricia Francis, and the Mayor of Chongqing Municipal Government in China, Mr. Huang Qi Fan.

Also in attendance were representatives from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The forum topic this year was "Adapting to Post-Crisis World Trade Patterns and Lessons for Export Development". Several government officials including Ministers of Trade, non for profit organizations, corporations and critical thinkers were present.

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Burundi - Women In Coffee

Phyllis Johnson, President of BD Imports, traveled to five East African coffee producing countries on behalf of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) sponsored by a grant from the International Trade Center’s Women in Trade Programme.  The objective of the trip was to offer continued support in establishing IWCA (International Women in Coffee) chapters in East Africa.  The work began in 2009 with IWCA hosting its first women in coffee workshop.  In 2010, women in Burundi are making significant strides in advancing efforts toward empowering women in coffee.  Read More to watch the video.

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Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) participated in the 2010 Annual Ministerial Review: Entitled: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women- Empowering Women, Powering Trade: Integrating Women into Global Value Chains.

The review entailed a roundtable breakfast discussion at the United Nations in New York where the topic of discussion was centered on the UN development goal, "Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women". The organization received an invitation from the International Trade Center in Geneva, a United Nations and World Trade Organization affiliate organization. The breakfast was a part of the Annual Ministerial Review meetings held by the UN Economic and Social Council

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