Looking to support women in coffee? Then you will want to taste coffee from the Kabngetuny Cooperative Society where something very uncommon for Kenya is happening. In 2015, the men in the cooperative agreed that women should own coffee trees. With about 70 trees each, nearly 400 women formed an association within the Kabngetuny cooperative. Having their own trees has meant that they could become cooperative members, open bank accounts, and get paid directly for the coffee they delivered to the factory.
Each of these women deliver cherries from the trees they own to the cooperative’s factory located in Kericho county where coffee is received, weighed, depulped, fermented, washed and soaked for long periods of time before being laid out on raised beds to dry. Pretty common processing practices for most Kenyan coffee cooperatives. And at first, their coffee was used exclusively to create a national brand of roasted coffee called Zawadi, “the gift” in the Swahili language. But many within the cooperative, mostly the men, started to notice that the quality and yields were better than other coffees produced at the factory. These women have been making good investment decisions for their coffee trees and their families using the money they earned from the harvest. And naturally, the coffee they are producing, from one of the most renowned origins in the world, has found a place in the international market.
It should be no surprise that these women have much more to do for themselves and their planet. They have succeeded in other initiatives like converting their kitchen stoves from wood to biogas fuel. Good for the environment and dramatically reducing the time required for collecting firewood each day. They are also using the same biogas technology to diversify their income beyond coffee with a maize mill project.