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A child by a sign in one of Burundi's coffee washing stations

The highs and lows of a coffee entrepreneur

Christian Aid Fundraising Manager Louise Whitelegg recently returned from Burundi, where she met a number of founding members of the project. As you will see, their lives have been changed. But you’ll also
see that they still come across struggles every day.

Kabanyana Jacqueline

Kabanyana Jacqueline is a 43-year-old mother of six. She’s also a member of the coffee cooperative in Ryohorikawa, in Ngozi. She told us of her struggle to grow and sell coffee before joining the cooperative.

‘Before the cooperative I was losing out at the public weighing station [to weigh coffee beans]. I hated going there because I knew that they lied to me and yet there was nothing I could do about this. With the cooperative we have organised small groups and then gone out and trained the locals on how to how to make their own coffee. One problem we have is that there is not enough fertiliser to help the coffee grow. We require livestock to help with this problem.’

Kabanyana also spoke about how she has diversified what she grows through the project, but that life remains a challenge.

She says, ‘Days are very long for me. Once I have taken care of my husband and children, I then set out to work for the day in the fields or the cooperative. I finish around 3pm and return home to organise my family’s dinner. Once this is complete I often then head to market to sell my produce.’

In Burundi, the impact of being able to sell produce is a case of life or death for people like Kabanyana and her family.