(Pictured top: Muungano coffee producer Riziki Jean and Assistant Manager Eric Maboko at the Buchiro washing station.)
DR Congo is home to many of the economic slaves of the world, both historically and today. A country the size of Western Europe, it has a population of 70 million, an average life expectancy of just 51 years, and an average income of only $200.
Kawa Kanzururu is a young cooperative working towards their organic certification (the 2020 harvest will be officially certified) and striving towards a better future for their communities. And “Muungano” means “togetherness” in Swahili, a perfect description of an emerging group of farmers who have joined together across communities after decades of conflict.
The very first contact with indigenous Congolese came with explorers who were determined to conquer the last impenetrable part of Africa. From Dr. David Livingstone to Belgium’s King Leopold II, countless individuals and groups have used the Congo as their personal playground of riches, taking advantage of the region’s vast store of natural resources. Rubber, ivory, and more recently minerals have been expropriated via systems of forced labor and massive human rights violations.
Coffee represents a sliver of hope for the DR Congo, and we jumped at the opportunity to engage in a movement for peace through economic development. In 2015, we co-founded Saveur du Kivu, the DRC's annual specialty coffee supply chain conference and cupping competition. On the Ground’s Project Congo focuses on empowering women in the region, facilitating gender equality workshops and literacy programming.
Through coffee, many Congolese are rebuilding their communities following years of strife. We are honored to partner with these inspiring and resilient communities and hope you enjoy their coffee as much as we do.
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