Women in Coffee on International Coffee Day


Every October 1st, the industry worldwide comes together to celebrate progress and outline challenges to address in the coming year. 2018 was special. This year’s theme celebrated Women in Coffee, a theme that is core to ÉLAN RDC’s programming throughout every sector.

Led by Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) champion Lucie Bahati and Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) advisor Sonia Jordan, the Perennial Agriculture-Specialty Crops team and ÉLAN RDC leadership have prioritized learning from studies, experts in the field, and actors along the cocoa value chain to truly understand where and how activities can foster greater inclusion, and promote role change within the community and within the cocoa and coffee value chains. So for ÉLAN RDC, International Coffee Day 2018 was not just a day to celebrate women, but a day that allowed teams and partners to take stock in the shift we have seen since starting down this path in 2014.

To mark the occasion, ÉLAN RDC teamed with the Initiative des Femmes Congolaises dans le Café & Cacao (IFCCA), DRC’s premier member-led association comprised of women representing individual producers, cooperatives, exporters, agronomists, regulators, and vendors from across the cocoa and coffee value chains—a group which ÉLAN supported formation of in 2017. In addition, and seeking new heights in collaboration and cooperation across the industry-wide, ÉLAN was pleased to work in partnership with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) and the Office National du Café (ONC) to produce what was perhaps the most dynamic show of unity for the sector to date.

Taking centre stage, IFCCA was joined by officials from Ministry of Agriculture (North Kivu), ONC, ECI and ÉLAN RDC for opening ceremonies at ONC’s offices in Goma, a tour of the ONC Goma cupping laboratory, coffee tasting, and press conference. Core to the design of this ceremony was to ensure that public and private sectors stood together as partners in pursuit of a more collaborative and competitive coffee sector—acknowledging that we’re better together.

As kick-off events wrapped up, teams transitioned to Hotel Ihusi for final touches ahead of the evening’s activities, addresses by public and private-sector officials, the open air tasting of Congolese coffees, and formal launch of IFCCA’s line of Café Femme.

Joined by over 150 invited guests, ÉLAN RDC, ECI, IFCCA, and ONC were pleased to meet with stakeholders throughout the value chain, address questions from the press, and enjoy an evening of draped in true camaraderie among public and private sector partners—the best way to celebrate progress and look forward to tackling challenges ahead… together.

 Congratulations to all and Happy International Coffee Day!

Think coffee. Think Congo.