Kopakama is a cooperative of 797 members, of which 302 are women, located on the Western shore of Lake Kivu, Western Rwanda. It produces centrally washed fully washed Arabica coffee and has Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certification.
Kopakama first marketed coffee grown by women in 2009. With the proceeds from this, they decided to invest in a communal coffee plot to be managed and led by women farmers. This was to offer a space for women affected by the Rwandan genocide to come together and support each other. They named the coffee plot ‘Ejo Heza’ meaning ‘A Beautiful Tomorrow’.
In 2013, they started to market coffee from this plot, together with coffee grown by individual women member of Kopakama. The women’s coffee premium is entirely invested in eight women’s savings and credit groups as a rotating fund to make loans to women for investment in their coffee plots or in income diversification. More women have joined Kopakama as a result and are benefiting from the opportunity to share knowledge and build relationships through working together on the Ejo Heza plot.
In marketing coffee grown by women from Rwanda in particular, Twin’s partner Atlas Coffee Importers has played a key role in developing the market in the US and has actively supported Kopakama alongside other cooperatives. Atlas sells coffee grown by women to a range of roasters, including Fulcrum Coffee, who published this recent account of their visit to Kopakama. Atlas also offer coffee grown by women from Sumatra and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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