Run Across Congo program work also concentrates on the gender equality issues faced by coffee farming families in the region. Initiatives will enhance female ownership in the commodity that is the lifeblood of their communities. Through educational programs female farmers will become more empowered to take central roles in cooperatives and male farmers will come to better understand the inherent value of including women.
Mel, Owner of Conscious Coffees, participated in the all women running team, tackling 200 miles or 7 marathons in 7 days along the shores of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo to raise awareness and funds for the challenges that these communities and in particular women face daily. Run Across Congo is an opportunity to illuminate the depth of collaboration and cooperation across these communities. We believe that we all have a responsibility to create, maintain, and improve the world in which we live. In our line of work, we am acutely aware of the fact that farmers in low-income countries work hard in sub-standard conditions to bring us luxury goods at a very affordable price. Every dollar we spend each day is a vote for how we want the world to be. Every dollar can help determine how people live, can impact the environment for better or worse, can promote war or peace or influence justice. This run allowed us to redirect some of those dollars – and more importantly a whole lot of attention – to these communities that we care passionately about.
Despite the resurgence in the coffee farming sectors, buying their crops under Fair Trade standards, while a great commitment, is not enough. We are doing more, funding and partnering with programs that are providing gender equality training in the farming communities so that families can shift to a more equal approach where the women of the family can own land, giving them greater security.