Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Media Contact: Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, 443-220-3269 cell, email@example.com
Lutheran World Relief Coffee Partnership Recognized for Innovative Practices
Baltimore, November 29, 2012— Lutheran World Relief received an award from InterAction’s Best Practices and Innovations (BPI) Initiative, for its work with Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative Enterprises (GCCE) in Uganda.
The BPI Initiative annually recognizes organizations that demonstrate successful programming that is efficient, cost effective, equitable to both men and women, sustainable and adaptable by other development organizations. InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with more than 190 members working in every developing country.
“Lutheran World Relief is pleased to lift up this great example of partnership. Our partnership with GCCE has borne fruit in so many ways — for the organization, its members, and Americans who support this work,” says John Nunes, LWR’s president and CEO.
LWR’s work with GCCE has reached more than 6,000 small holder coffee farmers in Uganda to help improve coffee quality, yields and prices while simultaneously strengthening GCCE as an organization and shaping it into a competitive player in the international organic and Fair Trade coffee markets.
LWR’s work with farmers included training in better coffee-growing practices, training on post-harvest handling to increase value and the provision of equipment to help maintain coffee quality at each step of processing. At the cooperative level, LWR helped GCCE improve its capacity to provide technical support to its farmers, training on financial management and record keeping.
The result of this two-pronged approach — working with farmers to improve crops and processing alongside capacity strengthening work with the cooperative — has yielded impressive results.
In 2007, the year before LWR began working with GCCE, the cooperative had two buyers purchasing three cargo containers of coffee annually. In 2012, GCCE has 13 buyers and a sales projection of 40 containers.
GCCE’s success was recently recognized at an international level when Willington Wamayeye, GCCE managing director, spoke on a food security panel hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the United Nations General Assembly. Wamayeye spoke about the importance of civil society organizations, like GCCE, in helping people living in poverty achieve food security.
The partnership between LWR and GCCE also takes an innovative approach in directly linking Americans to sustainable development projects. Through the LWR Coffee Project, coffee drinkers in the U.S. can directly support GCCE by purchasing Gumutindo coffee from the Coffee with a Lutheran flavor line.