I grew up in Masaka. It’s a small town down south in Uganda, and I grew up on a coffee farm. I grew up with a single mother from the age of 5 years. I’m Elizabeth Nalugemwa. My friends call me Achieva. And I am the founder and CEO of Kyaffe Farmers Coffee. Women are living in more of a low life in Uganda, because most of the women are not in position to speak up, engage in markets. They’re taken to be inferior. So, women face challenges like violence, Gender inequality, poverty. Women are more involved in the coffee, like in the growing of coffee. So, when the women finish, this harvesting, the men already want to take charge to sell because they want to get the money. So, it so happens that the women contribute almost 80%, and it’s the men who go out in the market and women keep struggling with the coffee. And yet, they don’t benefit from it most of the times. When I reflected onto my life and what made sense for me, I realised it was coffee and basically, women empowerment. So, this is where I said okay, let me do something that I understand very well, and something that I know the problem, and something that I can use to change the women and the lives of women. This is the Robusta type of coffee. It’s the indigenous type of coffee in Uganda. This coffee takes three years to grow.
It bears these berries. These ones take long to grow, but they bring out the best crop. [Laughter and chatter] We are doing something very unique about women empowerment in the coffee value chain. That means that at the moment, we are purchasing coffee from them at fair prices, and then in the process, we are also involving women to learn how to add value to the coffee, and also drink their coffee, so they know what they are making and what is the end goal. The roasting gives the real results of what happened in the farm. It’s the best measure to see what happened in the farms, especially during the picking of coffee and also during the planting of coffee. So, you realise that if the coffee wasn’t harvested well, it doesn’t get roasted. In the end women are in position to get involved in the value chain, which is very important. They know where their efforts end up. They also know the value for coffee. They get the value for coffee. This also helps them gain skills in marketing their coffee because they know what type of coffee they have, which machine makes them. And also, it helps them get exposed. Yes, it gives them a different view just beyond the farm. For the women we’ve worked with, 16 women directly, we’ve realised that these women now in position to have a better price, take their children to school which is very important, and they’re also in position to manage their basic needs. This is something that is promising. And the most important thing is now women know where their coffee goes. I think women can do better things if they’re given a chance. Like they can do more great things. They can do the same things like men do, but most of the times they’re not given the same chance just like the men. They’re not giving women enough opportunities. Yeah so, if they’re given all equal opportunities, I feel that women can be sufficient. Like they can stand out, they can speak out, they’re not scared they can stand for themselves, they can provide for themselves. If more people are given more opportunity in countries like Uganda,I think this can help change millions of lives.