This year’s International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) breakfast was a sold-out event, and for good reason. The topic of gender equity was at the center of the conversation and was reflected throughout the event. Keynote speaker Mbula Musau delivered an inspiring talk that chronicled her career in specialty coffee, which includes the founding of Utake Coffee Consulting and acting as a Project Advisor implementing International Trade Centre gender projects in East Africa. Mbula spoke about how gender equality played a role in her professional development while working as a trainer in Africa, noting that “there was no harm in having men participate in trainings, but there was a big need to have women participate as well.” At the close of her speech, Mbula emphasized that organizations like IWCA are integral to empowering and educating women on a global level.
IWCA’s continuing mission is to empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives; and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry. This work is done through a chapter network that—while operating independently— still has access to IWCA resources to achieve goals. The signing of the Cameroon chapter at the breakfast marks 20 global chapters and an exciting time of growth for the organization.
The newest tool for empowering chapter members to grow and prosper was also introduced at the IWCA breakfast. With support from the International Trade Centre, a digital platform that connects producing members to coffee buyers was launched. This innovative platform highlights coffees by region, provides information on quality and availability, and facilitates communication with IWCA producers.
With growing industry participation and introduction of new promotional tools IWCA is poised to have an even larger impact on global gender equity. In the words of Vice President Jenn Gallegos the support of IWCA will “help make coffee a 100% sustainable product.” For more information on IWCA or to support their work please visit www.womenincoffee.org.