Coffee community to come together for Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda

Next week, Sustainable Harvest Rwanda and Bloomberg Philanthropies will bring together 100 women farmers with coffee buyers, NGOs and financiers from around the world for Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda. From 11 – 13 November, Let’s Talk Coffee will provide a platform for Rwanda's coffee women to form relationships with representatives from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Marriott, Equator Coffees & Teas, and New Seasons Market. The event will include talks from government officials about the importance of Rwanda's coffee sector and sessions designed to tell Rwanda's coffee story. Bloomberg Philanthropies is working with female coffee farmers in Rwanda to help them overcome the devastation caused by the Tutsi genocide 20 years ago. Since 2008, the United States-based foundation of billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg has been working with the Rwandan government to provide income-generating training for survivors of the conflict. International Trade Centre, Senior Program Officer Penelope Hurndell, who recently returned from assessing the International Women's Coffee Alliance's Rwandan chapter, offered this advice to the country's female coffee farmers. “Find friends, allies, supporters, donors and partners and tell your story,” said Hurndell. “Feed them with photos and they will repay you by continuing to work with you and investing in the important contribution you are making to the world.” In addition to being an industry conference, Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda will serve as a training event for the Rwandan farmers to further their educational development. The training workshops will cover topics including coffee evaluation and grading, financial literacy, and the basics of coffee roasting. Event attendees will also have the opportunity to visit farms, wash stations and export centres during field trips held over four days. Sustainable Harvest Rwanda launched in late 2013 with the goal of assisting women coffee farmers through training and market access. The program has since trained 4000 women farmers.

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