Value for money support for women in the coffee industry

*This Story of Change was originally published in the Pacific Women Annual Progress Report 2017–2018. All values are consistent with that reporting period.

Project name: Coffee Industry Support Project

Project partner: CARE International in Papua New Guinea

Total funding: $4,507,100

Funding timeframe: July 2013–June 2019

Coffee is a major source of farming income in Papua New Guinea. CARE’s Coffee Industry Support Project is improving outcomes for  women in the industry. Farmers’ income has increased as a result of their products qualifying for specialty markets.

The Coffee Industry Support Project aims to ensure that both women and men benefit from coffee production activities. Photo credit: Tom Greenwood, CARE.

The project works with private sector exporters and cooperatives to improve services provided to coffee farmers so that they are inclusive of women and address social constraints to coffee production. The project has increased women’s access to extension services and supports families to work together with improved business and financial management skills. Private sector extension officers and model farmers have incorporated a gender empowerment and equity focus in their work with farming families. The project aims to ensure that both women and men benefit from coffee production activities.

‘Before the training I used to hide money from my husband and never told him about how much I made from selling food at the market,’ said a woman farmer. ‘After the training, he tells me how much money he made from selling coffee and I do the same with garden food. Together we decide on how much should be spent on what.’

A mid-term review of the Coffee Industry Support Project was conducted in September 2017 using a value for money framework. It assessed the project’s economy, efficiency, effectiveness and ethics. The review audited the project’s systems and documents,  conducted interviews and applied evaluative processes combining discussions, storytelling and mind mapping to collect qualitative information from 122 stakeholders.

The project was found to be effective, having significantly increased women farmers’ access to training through targeted approaches. By working with partners, the amount of training to farming communities increased by nearly 13 times compared to CARE providing the training alone. Stakeholders reported an added advantage in their business negotiations with international coffee buyers, due to ethical practices such as engaging with vulnerable and marginalised women in poorly serviced communities.

Industry partners such as coffee exporters also experienced positive change through an increased focus on women’s empowerment and improvements in the quality of coffee produced and better yields through enhanced extension support. Farmers from three networks reported new opportunities to sell to the higher paying specialty market.

One private sector partner said CARE adds value to their work. ‘We do coffee agronomy and market access and CARE does these [social] programs. In our collaboration, we got together and shaped existing programs into training modules that we can roll out now every time we are in the field. So, talk about bang for our buck!’