About the Partnership:
MiiR has been in partnership with the IWCA since June of 2022, when we issued our first grant to the organization through our Annual Grants Program. MiiR was instantly drawn to their leadership in the empowerment of female coffee farmers and commitment to their prosperity. This year, after sponsoring a successful event at the Speciality Coffee Expo in Portland, we will be renewing our support for their work in the form of a $25,000 multi-year, unrestricted grant.
IWCA Overview and Mission
What started as a trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 2003 led to the formation of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), now a global network representing 33 chapters. IWCA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) with a mission to unite a global network of chapters and support the work and growth of women in the international coffee community. We believe when women are empowered, communities thrive.
Women face multiple challenges in the coffee value chain, including underrepresentation in leadership roles, leading to limited opportunities for growth. IWCA is uniquely poised to address some of these challenges through education and advocacy to ensure a more equitable coffee industry for our 14,000+ chapter members and all women working in the coffee value chain.
As a global organization, IWCA facilitates opportunities for our chapter members to develop and hone professional skills that foster advancement, empowerment, and sustainable livelihoods. Experiences can range from lectures at industry events, to online webinars, and hands-on technical training.
Some recent examples include:
- Green Coffee Availability List
The IWCA Green Coffee Availability List provides a central point of engagement for those interested in green coffees sourced from IWCA Chapter members. The list is published on the IWCA website and includes producer photos, contact information, and specifics on the coffee they have to sell. Amplified market access is critical to the success of our producing members.
- Strategic Partnerships
IWCA established a collaborative partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) that aims to create a safer, more sustainable coffee supply chain for women in the international coffee community. Engaging with the ILO’s Vision Zero Fund provides IWCA chapter members valuable opportunities to attend technical training and improve their occupational health and safety knowledge.
- Leadership Development
At the IWCA Chapter Forum being held at the SCA Expo in Portland, chapter members will have the opportunity to attend a financial literacy workshop. Access to financing can be a large barrier for women working in the coffee industry and this workshop will provide important insights on defining needs, understanding how the loan process works, and how to put these strategies into practice.
IWCA Future Objectives
In Fall 2022, the board and staff of IWCA met to create a five-year strategic plan focused on organizational growth. To achieve this, we identified four impact pathways with specific actions. They include: Organizational Development, High-Impact Communications, Impactful Programs and Research & Advocacy.
This strategy provides a roadmap for sustainable growth over the next five years. We invite the coffee community to join us in achieving change that will benefit the entire industry. Read the full planning document here.