Burundi: working with coffee cooperatives

On Friday, November 27, 2015, Colruyt Group received a delegation of Burundi coffee farmers in Halle.

Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven

They represented the cooperatives the group collaborates with on the coffee supply and Collibri Foundation’s Burundi project. The meeting between the partners concerned this educational project. They looked at how it had evolved and simultaneously got inspired for some of Collibri’s other projects.

 

An evolving project

The educational project was started in 2006, in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation and Adisco, a Burundi organisation that works on local development.The goal is to provide young people with proper education so they will have a chance of a stable job or being an entrepreneur. The project's focus was changed in 2016. The reason for this is that the current education programme, offered by the local authorities, is of poor quality.

A socio-economic net

In order to innovate the project, the partners decided to take inspiration from the coffee farmers’ cooperatives. One big advantage is that they have a real network all throughout the country. Moreover, these cooperatives go beyond the boundaries of coffee farming and sales. One of their goals is developing agriculture. For example, they want to improve the living conditions in the agricultural community they work with.

Coffee, the motor of local development

"The coffee cooperatives' advantage is that they are organisations that people trust", says Déo Niyonkuru, Adisco’s general secretary. "The cooperatives are owned by the farmers themselves. We can trust that their involvement in the project is substantial, because it concerns their children. On the other hand we hope the cooperatives, thanks to their great management system, will ultimately take up and finance the project themselves. That would make it a permanent thing. We call that 'Coffee, the motor of local development'."

Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven

Personal guidance

With this new view, the project is focused on two cooperatives: the one at Giheta and the one at Rutegama, in the middle of the country. It is aimed at a limited number of young men and women between 18 and 30 years old. They were selected on the basis of their knowledge and skills. There are thirteen from each commune. The goal is to personally coach and guide the young people as they realise their projects. This approach is similar to that of Boost, a Collibri Foundation project in Brussels. The emphasis on personal development appealed especially to the Burundi partners.

Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven

A life’s project or a survival project?

"We asked each young person to write down their life’s project", Jean-Noël Nshimirimana says. He is manager entrepreneurship for young people at Adisco. "We were surprised. We mainly saw projects that focused on survival. Opening a street restaurant, for example. That certainly provides shelter and food, but nothing else. So we need to support them to they will dare to dream bigger for their projects. That means that we need to give them more hope and self-confidence."

Leaving the informal economy

Another goal is to give them the chance to enter the formal economy. Not necessarily in the coffee sector, but in other areas of the production chain. Marketing, for instance, or e-commerce. That means secondary and tertiary sectors.

Growing in your job and as a person

Thanks to the exchanges we can see the cooperatives’ results. They support their members in their personal development. Perpétue Manirakiza, for instance, told them how, after seven years of marriage and devoting herself wholly to her family, she was able to get educated and take on responsibilities thanks to the Rutegama cooperative. That is how she became the manager of the social fund. Then she became the leader of the control committee. She wants to use this experience to make the young people enthusiastic about the cooperatives. Because they are responsible for many development opportunities in the hills of Burundi.

Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven

You can read how the sustainable chain process with the Burundi coffee farmers was created here.

Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven
Burundi: werken met koffie-coöperatieven

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