There are many things threatening the future of the coffee industry: low prices, plant disease and pests, climate change, exchange rates… And the decreasing interest in coffee farming among younger generations is both a symptom of this and another reason to worry.
The children of coffee farmers are turning, more and more often, to jobs in the city that offer stable salaries for less work. In many cases, they’re going with the encouragement of their parents, who do not believe that coffee production offers a career.
It is in this context that the SCA awarded its 2017 Sustainability Project Award to Funcafé for its High School Centre With Coffee Specialisation: a project that works to train youths in sustainable coffee growing and business management.
Students at Funcafé’s High School Centre With Coffee Specialisation visit a coffee farm. Credit: Anacafé
Training Teenagers to Work in Coffee
The High School Centre With Coffee Specialisation trains rural Guatemalans aged between 16–18. It has three roles:
- Address the low levels of education among rural Guatemalans, among both men and women
- Train teenagers in sustainable coffee production
- Teach business administration and management skills so that students can add value to their farm offerings
Students attend the school two days a week. The topics studied include technical English language and communication, statistics, analysis and experimentation, farming, and milling. In addition to classroom-based study, it also includes work on the coffee farms.
The project is run in collaboration with many sponsors, including Anacafé, USAID, and the Guatemalan Ministry of Education.
A class of students graduate from Funcafé’s High School Centre With Coffee Specialisation. Credit: Anacafé
The SCA Sustainability Project Award
Nominees for the SCA Sustainability Project Award are judged on four criteria: innovative measures to enhance the industry’s long-term sustainability; replicability across different locations and contexts; scalability; and the ability to inspire other members of the coffee industry to work towards sustainable development.
The award has been presented annually since 2005. In 2017, for the first time, the SCA also announced a Sustainable Business Model Award, which went to Progreso Foundation. There were over 30 nominees for the awards.
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