Bloomberg Awards $10 Million for Women Coffee Farmers in Africa

Bloomberg Awards $10 Million for Women Coffee Farmers in Africa

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $10 million grant to the Relationship Coffee Institute to expand its women's economic development program in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Announced during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, the grant will enable an additional twenty thousand women to benefit from and participate in Africa's economic growth through training programs and access to the region's coffee market. Without access to knowledge, markets, and buyer networks, smallholder farmers, particularly women, miss opportunities to earn the income needed to feed their families and care for their communities. The institute, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the livelihoods of rural Rwandan women coffee farmers, connects women farmers to resources and global markets so they can meet the international demand for specialty coffee.

In 2013, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the institute's key partner, Sustainable Harvest, expanded its women's coffee program and by 2015 was sourcing nearly a million pounds annually of women-grown coffee from nine countries. An earlier Bloomberg grant of $2 million allowed Sustainable Harvest to scale its social enterprise model with the help of government and local NGOs.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural production, tourism and construction are rapidly growing industries that are fueling economic development," said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. "Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped ensure that more women are not only a vital part of this growth — but emerge as strong participants and beneficiaries."