Changing norms and power dynamics takes time — and regular tending. The members and leaders of PRODECOOP in Nicaragua demonstrate this in the work they do to promote gender equity in their co-op. In recognition of the story of their successes and efforts, we’re proud to offer a special selection of their beans as the next coffee in our seasonal Women in Coffee series: Organic Summer Solstice!
PRODECOOP highlights gender equity as necessary for their success as a business and as a community. But instead of approaching it as a topic needing a singular game plan, they have woven a vision and layers of actions throughout their work. Gender equity appears as a central bullet point in their fundamental business goals. They regularly incorporate trainings and discussions into meetings. They even welcome their extended network to engage in these discussions, including us as a customer and long-term partner of theirs.
On a recent visit to PRODECOOP, our Green Coffee Buyer Carly Kadlec spent a day with Alexa Marin, who is currently a board member and the coordinator of the co-op’s gender committee. Here Carly shares some reflections from that day:
“Alexa framed her work as a learning process and a process of sensitization. She said that it is still really hard to talk about gender on a personal level because ‘to touch the topic of gender is to touch on customs. And many people benefit from the current system of inequality.’ She tells the story of how she learned to frame conversations about gender in terms of empowering the entire family to work together. She talks about the power of words and how to use words to include everyone in the conversation rather than exclude people.
At PRODECOOP, they have had past experiences working with international non-profits that did not understand local gender dynamics and complexities which led to more frustration and distaste for talking about ‘women’s issues.’ Alexa encourages members to think about gender discussions not as discussions about who is “guilty” but as conversations with the goals of development and integration.”
We’re proud to work with PRODECOOP (for over 30 years!) and share their stories and spectacular coffee with you. Try Organic Summer Solstice to experience the unique flavors of these special Nicaraguan beans for yourself.