The Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative, located in Uganda, is a prime example of how Fair Trade and coffee making can bring about peace and unity. Mirembe Kawomera, which means “delicious peace” in Uganda, is a coffee cooperative with members consisting of Bantu Jews, Christians and Muslims that are working together not only to encourage religious tolerance, but also to promote economic justice.
Starting in 2004, the Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative began with lone coffee farmer, JJ Keki a Bantu Jew, who was determined to see his local coffee community succeed in the midst of the coffee crisis. He reached out to neighboring Jewish, Muslim and Christian coffee farmers to come together, despite their religious differences, and form a cooperative. With sheer determination and help from a US non-profit, Kulanu, the cooperative was formed and now has over 700 members.
The farmers sell their coffee directly to the Thanksgiving Coffee Company who helped make Mirembe Kawomera Coffee to be the first Fair Trade Certified Ugandan coffee to reach the US Market. The Thanksgiving Coffee Company have been able to pay the farmers four times higher than they were previously receiving, helping out the community incredibly. Both Thanksgiving Co. and the Mirembe Cooperative have recently received the Dr. John Mayer Global Citizenship award from the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership, with past award recipients including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The direct partnership of the Thanksgiving Coffee Company and the Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative has enabled various community development projects to occur including investments in public health and education for the community. They have been praised for their “wonderful innovative and powerful efforts on behalf of alleviating poverty, creating accountable and sustainable trade practices, encouraging peace and promoting interfaith harmony,” according to the Tufts Institute’s Director.
How can you get involved? You can start by learning more about the Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative here, which highlights the story of the farmers and the all the positive impacts that this union has brought forth to the community.
In partnership with Thanksgiving Coffee Company and Global Giving, the Global Exchange Online Store brings you coffee from the Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative. Grown in the eastern region of Uganda on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Elgon. Two dollars from the sale of each package will be donated to the Nyaka School for Children Orphaned due to HIV/AIDS project in rural Uganda, providing free primary education and extracurricular activities to children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Help make a difference and grab a bag today.