Monday, June 13, 2016

The Untold Stories…

Three weeks ago the 2016/2017 coffee picking season began in my Country. It will be 7 months of intense labour.

Wilson , one of our dedicated farmers and his Family
During the coffee season, my grandmother, just like most of the other farmers in the village walks 2 kms from her home near the Sagana river, to deliver the coffee produce to the Ndurutu Wet mill for processing. Her mornings are mainly spent picking the red berries amidst unseeing eyes. Long ago i asked her how old she is and her reply was that she was married to my grandfather before he was shipped off to Burma to fight for the Queen. I guess she is in her middle 80's.

My grandmother carrying a basket of coffee at her back
My grandmother, like other small scale coffee producers in the world, are the people responsible for producing majority of the world‘s green beans. These are people who often struggle to adequately feed their families...these are communities that face mountains of challenges thus becoming very difficult for them to thrive and to produce best quality coffee. My Country is faced with an aging population of coffee producers and a youth generation totally uninterested in coffee production.The list of challenges that they face is limitless and actually changes with every season of coffee that comes…

Most of us in the coffee sector have done tremendous efforts to support these coffee farming communities, but the main challenge ahead of us, that we all are afraid maybe to talk about is that my aging farmers are retiring and the next generation of coffee producers is not interested. My grandmother needs 2 hours to walk the 2 kms to the mill, i cannot promise she will be able to do the same come the next season. I worry...the young people in my village do not view coffee farming as a dependable source of income.

Kedovo Coffee Farmer- Ndurutu Village
My life is filled with memories...memories of my childhood and the hardships that come from coffee production. Memories of stuggle,despair and hope of a better tomorrow. Memories of my mother trekking more than 10 kms in search of vegetables from neighbouring villages, vegetables that she would later on hawk at the village market to supplement our meagre earnings from coffee production. Like most of my peers from the farming villages we left the village not as a choice but as a necessity. Three decades later my village is still faced with the same challenges of the youth permanently leaving the farms and migrating to cities in search of better economic opportunities. The next generation of coffee farmers is not interested.
Me and you have the capacity to Change all this- can you imagine if we empowered These communities how many lives we would Impact? not forgetting the raise in Quality of a greater amount of coffee.

This is among the challenges faced by the Kedovo Coffee Project- and its our work to fully invest in the next generation of the coffee producers.

Discussing with our Partners in Jan on how best to include the youth in coffee production
Its the work of KEDOVO e.V to not only tell these stories but to support these communities to thrive under all economic, social and environmental conditions. Its our duty to make sure the young people of my village see a future in coffee farming. We cannot only advocate for quality in the cup if the quality of life of the coffee producers is not adressed- this is the only way i can assure you of a sustainable coffee.

Kedovo Coffee Project- Coffee ready for Export
The last months have been busy for us, MSC Luciana docked last month at the port of Hamburg. Onboard was a container load of green beans from our Kedovo Coffee Project. This time we imported coffee from the Thageini Wet Mill from Nyeri. We shipped both Kenya AA and Kenya AB Top.Thageini is a great coffee, a coffee with many untold stories..

Arrival of a Container load in May from Kedovo Coffee Project-Thageini Wet Mill
The sale of this coffee continue to Support not only the economic development of our coffee Producers but greatly supports KEDOVO e.V's Projects on Social development in the villages of Kiganjo , Nyeri- Kenia.
My coffee Story is the Journey of the village of my birth towards economic and social sustainability through coffee production, ist a Story of where the children of coffee Producers get Access to better Education chances in  their lives, a Story of a world where the coffee Producers got enhanced with Trade Information and trade channels, a Story where we could finally one day measure the degree of Stability. I dream of a world where  my community   benefited from the 2.25 Billion Cups of coffee consumed daily ...that is our coffee Story.The untold stories.

In April,together with our Partner Nicole of Sandtorkai Handel we presented the Kedovo Coffee Project- Sustainability in Practise at the Coffee Roasters Congress in Hamburg with over 170 attendees.

Nicole & Soni presenting the Kedovo Coffee Project- Photo Credit :Sinje Hasheider
My work at the coffee industry has been what my younger brother calls The Fates. You see when my father started our small coffee farm at the slopes of Mt. Kenya i was barely a year old. Its said that it was one of the hottest season in my country, and my mother struggled watering the young coffee trees everyday for almost a month. She carried me on her back and walked the 1.5 km to the Chania River, carrying a 20 litre jerrican of water up the hill as more than 10 times a day to save the young tender coffee trees from dying.Then came the Famine and most of those trees dried up. My father's heart is still heavy with pain of a loss...

These are stories from my childhood, stories told by my mother as we grew up. She told of stories of my father‘s determination and his love for coffee. My father always dreamed of owning a coffee farm-little did he know how it could completely change our lives. Little did he know of the experiences and friendships we would cultivate with the people that we have and will meet in our journey. I cant imagine how life would have been without his beloved coffee trees...i cant imagine how my life will be if i dont spend it helping those farmers obtain a sustainable market for their produce….thats my story.

Coffee is my world....Photo Credit: Sinje Hasheider
The KEDOVO gang in Kenya have been super busy. Their work is to strengthen the community and give them hope again, hope to continue growing world‘s best coffee. This is only possible by making coffee more economically compelling, by supporting the farmers in building greater economic and social opportunities. Our main focus in social development has been the overhaul of Ndurutu Primary School.The school infrastructure has detererioted and with this kind of learning atmosphere most of the children will perform poorly and well below students in municipal ( town) schools.

Last month the gang finished the construction of a modern Kitchen block. This would not have been possible without the great support from BingoProjektförderung Schleswig Holstein, Nicole & Heinz of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen and all our amazing coffee buyers.

One might wonder why a school kitchen? The untold stories.....

Old kitchen Ndurutu Primary School

cooking at the old kitchen
The Kenyan school system is that school time begins at 7:00 am and ends at 16:00 pm. In between you have a lunch break of 1 hour. During my school days we used to rush home for lunch so long as we were back to school within this one hour. Can you imagine running for 3 kms home, eating and coming back the 2 kms again within 1 hour? Now you have your answer why many of us Kenyans are marathon runners… ;) sigh All this changed and now the students are obligated to take with them packed lunch to school. Most coffee producers live from one day to the next. We do not have fridges and graneries stacked up with food. Most families eat up all what they cook in the evening and when tomorrow comes we find a solution tomorrow...the untold stories

And the construction began....

Zackie the Program Coordinator planning on the construytion of a modern School kitchen- Ndurutu Pri

ground preparations

delivery of construction materials: Stones, sand etc

and the gang got down to work..

Davie of Program Director KEDOVO-Kenya making sure no Stone is unturned ;)

great Progress

a view of the new and old kitchen
 And we continued........

Almost there!!!
Our model is designed from the ground thinking of communities being there for one another, designed to support the coffee producers through economic and social sustainability.
I am a daughter of a coffee Producer, i only know too well what their children go through in life, i know the endless worries we had growing up whether my father would afford our School fees or we would have to drop out of School like many from the village, worries of whether my mother would be able to sell enough vegetables to be able to put Food on our table.. the worries of whether there was gonna be a way out of the cycle of the unknown. My father and his Family have been coffee Producers for more than 50 years, ist our life. My Story is not different from the rest of the People from the village, we all depend on coffee production. I grew up and left but my community still depend upon coffee as their Primary source of income.
The greatest threat of social sustainability in these communities,results from the economic conditions faced by many. This has a direct Impact on Access to education, infrastructure, housing etc. The Kedovo Coffee Project gurantees economic and social sustainability of the community who produce our coffee. It has the values of Transparency, Traceability and Sustainability. Our direct contact with the People who produce our coffee is our strength and foundation to a sustainable approach...

Finally! the new School kitchen was ready

cooking at the new kitchen

Cooking Station- new kitchen

After the construction of the School kitchen, we started a Feeding Program on 4th May 2016. This would not have been possible without the support of Monika and Horst Schumacher Foundation. For this great cooperation we will always be grateful. The feeding Project currently supports 150 Pupils of Ndurutu Primary School. These are children of our coffee Producers from the villages of Ndurutu and parts of Kirichu. The area is served by the Ndurutu Wet Mill whose coffee is available in Germany for sale, both as green beans and Roasted coffee.

Davie with Class 8 pupils on the first day of the feeding program

making a misture of Kenya's staple Food of maize and beans
Zackie raiding the Kedovo farms for vegetables for the feeding program

Lunch time ;)

Thankyou our coffee Family ;)

We are ready!!

George the chairman of Ndurutu Primary and Davie delivering maize and veg

We have a lot of work ahead of us, we need to construct a Dining Hall for the School, renovate the remaining classes, construct a new Adminstartion block- the list is endless. We can make all this happen. All you have to do is purchase our coffee.....

To the Roasters in Germany and Austria,who continue supporting our work, on behalf of my community of coffee Producers, my sincere thankyou- without you all this would have been so much harder. All of you need to remember that- we all together have the capacity to build our own ship, it certainly is a Long process but it gives hope. It gives hope to communities miles away from gives hope for a better future. Our cooperation together will empower these communities and raise the Quality of a greater amount of coffee.

To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu and Thageini Wet Mills F.O.T Bremen, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract. Our current offering is for KENYA AB TOP- Kedovo Coffee Project.

For roasted Chania Coffee kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen. Visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at our stand at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

and our work continues.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Change must start from the roots

Ndurutu village; Kenya and Hamburg Germany are separated by thousand of miles but united together in a common love for coffee. The community in Ndurutu produces amazing coffee, and the community in Hamburg sells a load of coffee. It is our work to tell this coffee story as fully as possible and support this farming community to rebuild their lives.

The Ndurutu Primary school is situated at the end of a dusty road in the village sorrounded by small scale coffee farms and only 200 metres from the Ndurutu Wet mill. Last year , through our partnership with Nicole & Heinz of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen, we shipped 30 tonnes of green coffee to Germany from this community.

Arrival of 15 tonnes of green coffee in Bremen- Nicole ready to receive this amazing coffee

Ndurutu Primary; I sigh....Years ago i attended this school, like me and the Kedovo gang, the children of the coffee producers from the village know no other place. Far from Kenya's capital, most of the families here still have limited acess to basic services and often cannot afford to pay the stipulated school fees set out by the Board. The Kenyan education system has had significant progress since 2003 when the Kenyan government introduced a legislation for Free Primary School, enrollment increased but it brought with it a major infrastructural problems especially in the rural areas, which unless tackled in a holistic Approach will not be ending anytime soon.

To all the People who believe in our coffee, let us not let these children live in the ruins of broken dreams...

All you Need to do is Purchase coffee from my People ;)
Our goal is to supply you with the very best quality coffee. But how do we guarantee this, if our producers cannot afford the basic necessities of life? How do we guarantee this when their children get rained on inside their classrooms? How do we create sustainability and harmonize the relationship with our producers when their children' s school has classrooms that are unsound?

Its out of these concerns that we started the project -Renovation of Ndurutu Primary. What could be better than coffee and giving the children of our coffee farming families a great and functional school?? Renovating this school is giving a much needed hope to a struggling community. Changes must start from the roots.

Ndurutu Primary School



The school has a total of 11 classrooms , a meeting hall and 3 rooms which are used for adminstration purposes. The kitchen is in an unsound state and currently only used for the preparation of meals for the teachers. By renovating the school, we bring an amazing impact to the demoralized children and give this community's young generation a chance for social and economical development. By starting at the roots, we give these children chances in the ever developing world, chances to dream and improve the lives of this coffee growing community.

And our work began....

KEDOVO e.V Meeting the deputy head before the onset of the project

learning aid in class ECD - made from old jute bag

inside one of the classrooms

Survey & Planning

The Roof of the classrooms

discussions on way Forward- the Meeting hall

School kitchen

class ECD & 1, where our Project will begin

class 2 & Meeting hall-
And so.....

We started the renovations in December 2015, and so far we have finished renovating 3 classrooms and the meeting hall.
The project would not have been possible without the support of Bingo Projektförderung Schleswig Holstein, and on behalf of my people our sincere thanks.

Time and time again i get frequently asked why these children? Why this community? You have to understand- am one of them, i am a daughter of a coffee producer, their pain is my pain- they are my people. Growing up in our small farm, life was difficult- i can tell you its much harder now than it was for these coffee producing communities. They have absolutely no backup- no publich health insurance, no fully free public schools, if you cant pay for something upfront and in cash, you dont get it at all!

And the gang got down to do what we do best....changing lives through economical coffee production and community development.

And everyone got down to work

Fixing of new window and doors

Discussing with our Partners in Jan 2016

The Education for Sustainable Development project is so important to us at KEDOVO e.V, we know we are working for a change, we are restoring dignity and giving my people opportunities- opportunities to afford basic necessities. I believe the economic stability of these coffee producing communities begin when they are given chances and knowledege resources to make a livable income----this we can do by making sure Change starts from the roots..

and our work continued...

my mind..a thousand miles! will i be able to sell enough coffee to Support this community? I worry..

welding of new doors

Arrival of new School desks

sneak Peak ;)

Handing over the classrom to the Management & the Board of the school

Davie of KEDOVO organising the ECD class to move to their renovated classroom
The renovated ECD class

with our Team! well done guys!!

handing over 2 of the finished classroom to the chairman of the school- Mr George Karia

Yes we did it!!! Zackie handng over the 2 renovated classes to the Mangement Board

This community is dependant on coffee. Nothing else....unless me and you make coffee production sustainable, their economic and social effects will always be affected. My father turned 65 last year, to him and the rest of the aging community in the village, coffee is their lives, they have nowhere else to turn. They are filled with sad memories of struggle and exploitation. The village is faced with thousand of challenges, from increased poverty to a lack of interest in coffee farming by the youthful generation. There is a lot at stake...
And we continued renovating the classes...

James of KEDOVO Volunteers after a day of hard work

some of the parents helping in the renovations

And we came together as a community
Our model ensures that the children of our coffee Producers remain at School. My father believed that the answer to our poverty situation was through education. He still believes to date that education is the long term key and answer to poverty eradiction.Me and my siblings grew up knowing that education was the only means we could later use to overcome our situation. By giving these children chances beyond the farming villages of The Aberdares is the only way we can break the cycle of poverty and guarantee my people a different 'coffee story'

An excited headteacher & the chairman of the Board meets with the gang

handing over the next class

why would a German sweep classes in Kenya? -Because he believes in our work

class 2 settling in their renovated modern classroom

remember this class ;)

I believe......

remember the ECD class with the jute bag? ;)
All over the world more than 4 Million small scale coffee producers live below the poverty line, Ndurutu is amongst them.It is important to practice ethical practices that provide greater economic benefits to coffee Producers.
Lets give their children chances to higher education, chances to see the world

To Nicole and Heinz, our gratitude is beyond words. Without your partnership, this would have been so much harder.And i believe together we will still continue changing lives. To all of you who Support our coffee Project wholeheartedly; Erika, Kira, Manuel, Reinhold, Connie, Christian, Daniel, Stefan, Jonas, Ulrike; just to mention a few, your work is not in vain. Asanteni sana.

Hall before

the hall after the gang descended on it ;)

the renovated Meeting hall

renovated hall & class 2

the finished renovated wing
To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill F.O.T Bremen, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract.

For roasted Chania coffee kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen. Visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at our stand at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

and our work continues.....