Creating better living conditions through education

Coffee is grown all around the equator, especially in devel­oping countries where coffee farmers and their families frequently live under difficult social condi­tions. As part of its social respon­si­bility efforts, Tchibo runs its own projects to help ensure better living condi­tions in the countries where our coffee origi­nates. True to the principle of "helping people to help themselves," we team up with local partners to offer primarily educa­tional and vocational services for children and teens.

Guatemala: Childcare during the coffee harvest

In Guatemala, where the high-quality Arabica beans for our Privat Kaffee Guatemala Grande are grown, we promote childcare for migrant workers and pickers. The country’s school holidays often overlap with the harvest season for coffee cherries. Since there is hardly any childcare available, many migrant workers and harvest helpers take their sons and daughters with them to the farms. While the little children play on the steep and dangerous slopes, the parents often let the older ones help them pick. In this way, the line to imper­mis­sible child labour is frequently crossed, so it is important to provide alter­na­tives. Tchibo therefore promotes educa­tional projects and childcare options in various regions of Guatemala.

In 2011, we partnered with the Coffee Care Associ­ation in 2011 to launch a pilot project specif­i­cally for migrant workers’ children in the Huehue­te­nango region. Today, we operate six day-care centres for children aged 2 to 9 there during the harvest season. Childcare is provided in an age-appro­priate way according to the Montessori method, and children are also given important hygiene training, as well as receiving healthy meals daily and medical treatment. In the harvest season 2012/2013 we additionally initiated a pilot project for 10- to 13-year-olds at three sites, as this age group is partic­u­larly at risk for imper­mis­sible child labour. In the project, the teens attend ‘training seminars’ to learn practical skills such as baking or handi­crafts. In 2014, we expanded our efforts in Huehuetenago so that we now offer both childcare and seminars for the older children at a total of six locations. More than 500 children accepted our offer in 2014/2015, and the project will be continued in 2016.

Play video

In the Chiquimula region, we have cooperated with the world's largest children's rights organ­i­sation, Save the Children, since 2013. In six day-care centres, the coffee pickers’ children aged 3 to 13 receive educa­tional and medical care during harvest time. During the 2013/2014 harvest season, more than 650 children received care, and over 700 appli­ca­tions were received for the most recent picking season (2014/2015). About 600 boys and girls were additionally tutored in maths and reading during regular school hours. The project team gave educa­tional and profes­sional training to about 100 teachers for this purpose. Overall, Tchibo has supported the project with approx. 2.4 million euros to date: During the campaign periods, 10 cents were donated to the children's project for every pound of Tchibo Privat Kaffee sold, which resulted in about two million euros raised. Beyond this, 470,000 euros were collected for the project during the RTL Spenden­marathon telethon in November 2014 as part of a cooper­ation with the ‘RTL – Wir helfen Kindern’ foundation and [the German TV sports journalist] Ulrike von der Groeben as project sponsor.

After initial scepticism among the parents – day-care isn’t yet common­place in Guatemala – accep­tance of the facil­ities is growing and the parents are happy to have their children cared for during the harvest work. Thanks to this positive devel­opment and the success of the promotion campaign, we were able to expand the project to the Jacal­te­nango region in October 2014. Here, another four day-care centres are to be built by September 2018, to provide care for more than 600 children during the harvest season.

Tanzania: Improving the educa­tional situation for children and teens

Based on the successful cooper­ation in Guatemala, since June 2015 we have cooperated with our project partner Save the Children to improve the education situation for children and teens in Tanzania as well. Working on certified coffee farms is generally possible only from the age of 18 in Tanzania. But young people often end their schooling at the age of 13 to 15 years, and there are few oppor­tu­nities for beginning an appren­ticeship once they do. Such training centres are often too far away, or the young­sters lack the required school creden­tials.

With this project, we hope to encourage more children – especially girls – to attend school regularly, and – by improving instruction in schools – to help more teens to success­fully complete primary school. Also, to help more students continue their education at a secondary school after completing primary school. However, the project is aimed not only at students but also at parents and teachers: parents are encouraged to get involved in their children's education and push for it. Teachers receive training to help them make their classroom instruction more practical and more conducive to the children’s devel­opment.

Teens and young adults are also incor­po­rated into the project: Here, too, the idea is to put girls and women in particular in a position to earn their own income. For this purpose, the plan is to create training centres, from 2016, where the young adults can complete appren­tice­ships to become seamsters or carpenters.

Mount Kenya: Strength­ening the role of the women farmers

Most people in the Mount Kenya region live off the land. In addition to vegetables and bananas, the key crop here is coffee, which ranks among the best in the world due to its aroma. Tradi­tionally, women receive an inade­quate share from the proceeds of the coffee culti­vation, so they don’t have the funds to signif­i­cantly improve their families’ living condi­tions. Often, they also lack important skills to achieve their own goals. This is where Tchibo’s Mount Kenya Project enters the picture. Together with the women of the Baragwi Farmer Cooper­ative, we analysed where the need for assis­tance is greatest. This resulted in four subpro­jects: improving the water supply, purchasing livestock, supply of construction materials, and education. From 2011 to 2013, we system­at­i­cally assisted more than 1,000 women farmers and their families in imple­menting these subpro­jects, e.g. the construction of a 12-kilometre pipeline for water, and the purchase of energy-saving stoves. Based on the positive experi­ences gained, we expanded our support to five other cooper­a­tives on Mount Kenya: wells were built and a variety of facil­ities were constructed in seven subpro­jects, including class­rooms that can accom­modate children with learning disabil­ities, a multi­purpose hall, and a school laboratory. This project was success­fully completed in 2013.

A subse­quent survey of farmers' wives in Baragwi returned the following results:

  • For the majority of house­holds in the subproject, drinking water is now available even during periods of drought. Families use the new water lines to tap additional sources of income or improve their diet, e.g. with vegetable gardens.
  • Using loans from the project fund, the women from the newly founded Mount Kenya Dairy Associ­ation were able to buy several cows as a supplement to agriculture. The cows' milk gives them additional income, and the manure can be used as a free fertilizer for the farm.
  • The women felt that one of the biggest improve­ments was the estab­lishment of a shared network. The women's groups from the individual villages no longer act in isolation but can learn from each other and work together to improve their situation.

Play video

In 2014, the women were able to use the remaining project funds to further increase their autonomy: They organized training on management techniques and sustainable farming practices, and financed smaller purchases.

The Mount Kenya project has strengthened the self-confi­dence of many women. The status of women in this region has begun to change in their families and commu­nities, too. They are increas­ingly taking on more respon­sible positions in the parishes and other insti­tu­tions. After completing the training, the women formed a Mount Kenya Project Committee from their own project groups, which has now taken over the project management with the aim of continuing the close cooper­ation between the women.

Find it only at Tchibo