No 5

Women and Family, Central Thread of the Coffee Activity

February, 2012

Sustainability that Matters

Women and Family, Central Thread of the Coffee Activity

It is important to acknowledge that, in the coffee industry, family and work aspects converge. Thus, the Federation supports programs –as part of its Sustainability that Matters initiatives- aimed at strengthening coffee families to reinforce social capital and human development. Video


The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation is a democratic and participative organization that represents more than 500.000 families that are the very core of the coffee industry. Its productive and social development initiatives are the cornerstone of its “Sustainability that Matters” Institutional Policy, which has four pillars: Farm, Rural Communities, Environment and Connectivity. Consistent development in this policy along decades of work has made the FNC a leading organization in social responsibility projects in Colombia and the rural world.

According to the National Coffee Survey carried out by the Federation, it is estimated that 47% of members in the 553.000 coffee-growing families are women. Almost a fifth part of the farms are managed by them and out of this total, nearly 20% are both mothers and heads of household.

Aware of the importance of women and the family nucleus in a small-farm rural environment, the coffee industry has made a commitment to promote family rights, taking into special consideration women’s rights. By incorporating policies that promote gender focus, the FNC initiatives allow complementing other actions aimed at fostering human development, building of citizenship and boosting equity in opportunities for all the family members in full exercise of their rights and duties.

The Federation’s Women Coffee Growers Program started operations in 2005. It contemplates gender m as part of its objectives, aiming at achieving greater equity in the different programs promoted by the FNC. Thus, the gender perspective is contemplated in any planned action, whether it deals with legislation or policies or programs, in every area on all levels. It is a strategy designed to integrate women’s concerns and experiences as well as those of men in the elaboration, set in motion, control and assessment of policies and programs.

Additionally, the Federation promotes actions contemplated in the organization’s Strategic Plan to foster the Integral Development of the Female Coffee Grower, such as the training programs and social and economic activities. Also rewards their participation in the organization’s instances of decision and the coffee elections that are held every four years, not only as voters, but also as candidates.

Progress in the different actions pro women and coffee-growing family

  • imageParticipatory Workshops for Coffee-Growing Women: Between 2008 and 2009, these workshops were developed with nearly 500 woman leaders attending, representing 20 departments, in alliance with the Presidential Advisory Office on Gender Equity and the Coffee Growers Departmental Committees. In these workshops, the family stood out for its leading role in the coffee production chain as well as promoters of generational relief and weavers of the social fabric.

  • imageCoffee-Growing Women Participation Councils-CPMC: As a result of the workshops, these spaces within departments and towns, seeking to boost women’s organizational capacities. To date, 172 CPMCs have been established in 20 coffee departments, thus consolidating a national network of approximately 8.000 women.



  • imageRural Well being Housing Program: Through an Inter-institutional Cooperation Agreement signed by the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare –ICBF-, the Manuel Mejía Foundation and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, a rural version of this program is being developed to benefit 10.000 coffee-growing families. This agreement aims the development of family coexistence and the full exercise of sexual and reproductive rights as well as strengthening family cohesion.

  • image “Women and Rural Family Rights in Colombian Coffee Regions 2010 -2011” Observatory: Counseled by the Andean Commission of Jurists –CAJ, a private international organization that works in favor of respect and protection of human rights, a research and design process was carried out for the implementation of this Observatory, in order to research, document, systematize and analyze both the woman and the family situation in the 20 coffee departments of the country.

  • National and International Protocols: Reaffirming its commitment, the Federation has abided by and aligned with National Policies and international frames of reference.

  • Working Group, Woman and Enterprise: The FNC is part of this space fostered by the Embassy of The United States aiming at promoting, having bearing on and defending Colombian women’s economic, working, enterprise and union rights. Represented in this group are the Private Sector, NGOs and Worker Unions.
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