Taste Notes: Carmel & Cocoa Roast: Medium Body: Heavy, Creamy Body Acidity: Medium Plus Acidity
Muungano Cooperative – The Muungano Cooperative is nestled in the mountains of Eastern Congo, right against Lake Kivu. The 1994 Rwandan genocide and the Congo Civil War left the coffee production of this region in decay. Thousands of farmers drowned each year by attempting to cross Lake Kivu to sell their coffee in Rwanda, leaving many women and children behind with no means to support themselves. The founding of the Muungano Cooperative in 2009 gave small-scale farmers a new hope. Muungano means “togetherness” in Swahili and members of the Muungano Cooperative live by the phrase “unity is strength, and coffee is life”. Initially comprising only 350 members, today it has grown to over 4000 members. Muungano began exporting their coffee in 2010, and since then the cooperative has invested in increasing their environmental and socio-economic sustainability.
Living up to their name they are also working closely with GALS (Gender Action Learning Systems), a program that strives to work with men and women alike to promote gender equality in their communities. Through a series of workshops, women can gain knowledge of how to earn income beyond coffee, while learning leadership, business, and basic accounting skills. Once the women have completed the workshop they participate in a micro-loan project, generating funds to lift their families out of poverty. The cooperative empowers women to take control of central roles within the cooperative, while male farmers come to understand the value of including women in essential decision-making processes.