From Crop to Cup: How Cooperatives, Training and a Unique Partnership Is Changing Coffee and the Lives of Coffee Farmers in Rwanda
The Relationship Coffee Institute, formed by B Corp Sustainable Harvest in partnership with nonprofit Bloomberg Philanthropies, is educating Rwandan coffee farmers in agronomy, cupping and roasting. The Institute is proving that to improve the quality of coffee, you aim to improve the lives and opportunities of the coffee farmers.
In their new book, Climate of Hope, Bloomberg and Pope argue that the onus of saving the planet doesn’t just fall on Washington but rather local communities, businesses, and individuals.
Many people wrongly associate climate change only with heatwaves, storms and wildfires on land, Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for cities and climate change, said in a statement about the project.
“Some of the most disastrous effects of climate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor. In fact, unless we take urgent action, 90 percent of coral reefs are expected to disappear by 2050,” he said.
But at the heart of the Rwandan coffee industry’s success is the role that is played by women. It is enhancing this role that has been the focus of the Relationship Coffee Institute, a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Sustainable Harvest to bring economic development to low-income rural women based in Rwanda. “An investment in women is an investment in the community, in the country and in the world,” Verna Eggleston, Director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Women’s Economic Development program in Africa, tells Global Coffee Report.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg’s foundation is starting an ambitious response, the American Talent Initiative. As some readers may know, this issue is a passion of mine, and I consider the project very promising.
It has a clear goal: The number of Pell Grant recipients (who tend to come from the bottom two-fifths of the income distribution) attending the 270 colleges with the highest graduation rates should rise 50,000 within 10 years. That would be an increase of more than 10 percent.
To get there, Bloomberg is creating a coalition of colleges that publicly commit to become more diverse.
Kelly Henning, who leads public health efforts for Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in an interview that the new donation will help expand its previous work, such as getting countries to monitor tobacco use, introduce strong tobacco-control laws, and create mass media campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use. The program includes 110 countries, among them China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
It comes out to less than a dollar a person: Since 2006, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment of more than $600 million to reduce tobacco use has helped protect nearly 1.7 billion people from smoking’s health hazards, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The bet—while risky—offered a strong opportunity for philanthropy to play a role. Despite data indicating tobacco’s danger to public health as well as evidence about high-impact policies, “no one had really taken the evidence base on to implement it,” says Dr. Kelly Henning, Program Lead for Bloomberg’s Public Health program.
The City of São Paulo, Brazil will receive $5 million for winning the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Latin American and Caribbean Mayors Challenge, a competition in which city leaders propose ambitious solutions to combat some systemic urban problem within the region.
Shanghai has proven its commitment to reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries by addressing road safety issues and implementing solutions that have proven effective. In 2015, Shanghai was selected as one of 10 cities to be a part of an elite global network to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries. The network is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, a five-year program working to reduce fatalities and injuries around the world.
“Money will only go so far to fixing individual buildings,” says Kate Levin, the former New York City cultural affairs commissioner who oversees Bloomberg’s arts program. “This is potentially of much greater use because it’s creating a high level of conversation and focusing interest on something.”