Congo Coffee Project to Support Congolese Women | Equal Exchange

Congo Coffee Project to Support Congolese Women

Beth Ann Caspersen
October 13, 2011

I often think about how we are changing the world through trade - with relationships and the belief that everyone has rights, no matter where they are from. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the complex issues spanning the globe, from myriad protests to governmental conflicts to human right abuses. Look at a place like the Democratic Republic of Congo - a war-torn country in Central Africa with a devastated economy and massive sexual violence against women and girls of all ages. Did you know that the D.R. Congo has been called one of the worst places on earth to be a woman? According to a recent article in the New York Times, one woman is sexually assaulted every minute. That's 1,440 women a day.

Often these women need medical attention and counseling to deal with their trauma, but many do not have the resources to seek medical assistance or fear possible rejection within their own communities. In addition, there are few hospitals and the situation is exacerbated by the poor economy and high rate of unemployment. But there is hope and it starts with education, support and change. This is why we have created the Congo Coffee Project.

Equal Exchange is proudly partnering with the Panzi Foundation to support the medical programs of Panzi Hospital in the D.R. Congo. The Panzi Hospital provides life-saving treatment to more than 2,000 victims of sexual violence each year and provides continual care and counseling to these survivors. Equal Exchange will create an exclusive African blend that features our East African partners and highlights the important role that women play: as mothers, sisters, daughters and farmers, while also educating the public about the situation in the D.R. Congo. It cannot be ignored.

A donation will be made to the Panzi Foundation for each coffee sold - $1.00 for every bag of coffee we sell through our wholesale program and $2.00 for every bag we sell through the Equal Exchange retail webstore.

You can learn more and buy the coffee at