Kopakama has come a long way since it’s creation as an association of coffee farmers in 1998, to its status as a co operative in 2005 and continues to grow to the present day. It is this continued growth as a business that is particularly inspiring and it is this growth that ICS cohort 3 volunteers are anticipating to aid with.
One such way that we are hoping to help Kopakama become more efficient as a business and therefore continue to prosper is through improving the communications system between Kopakama staff and its 992 co-operative coffee farmers, 56% of which are illiterate. The current communications system in place is time consuming and costly, therefore by putting in place a pyramid system through texting whereby lead farmers communicate to their farmers directly we are hoping to cut both time and costs and enable them to communicate more efficiently.
Also high on our agenda in terms of facilitating Kopakama’s development is a sustainable marketing strategy to help them both come into contact with potential buyers and increase their online presence. We plan on doing this by improving and updating their website, setting up an Instagram account which they can continue after our departure and the design of a new logo, all of which will aid in promoting Kopakama.
Kopakama’s growth is exhibited not only in its substantial expansion and its increase in co operative members but in Kopakama’s wider positive impact in the surrounding community. Perhaps the perfect example of this is demonstrated in the free electricity and water provided through Kopakama’s certification with Fair Trade since 2012, providing local families with resources that were previously unavailable to them. The continued growth of Kopakama has also precipitated the creation of Ejo Heza, a women’s only coffee farming association dedicated to upholding the rights of women and continuing their skills in coffee farming through female specific farming plots.
With the organic certification of some Kopakama coffee on the horizon things are only looking up. This will allow them to accommodate another buyer’s requests and raise their income from production, but perhaps more importantly however it will allow the community to continue to thrive.