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Send a Cow US launches new projects to empower women and girls in coffee-growing communities


Nearly $1 million in new grants will provide training in gender equality and women’s leadership.

October 21, 2021 - Send a Cow US announced today the launch of two new projects funded by The Starbucks Foundation to empower women and girls in coffee-growing communities. The non-profit works with smallholder farmers in six African countries, and the $988,900 in grants from The Starbucks Foundation will transform the lives of more than 21,000 people across Rwanda and Ethiopia, with a focus on gender equality, and women’s leadership.

Send a Cow US’ Board Chair Robyn Davis Sekula visited previous projects supported by The Starbucks Foundation in Rwanda and was thrilled to hear the news of the transformational grants to Send a Cow.

Send a Cow US’ Board Chair Robyn Davis Sekula visited previous projects supported by The Starbucks Foundation in Rwanda and was thrilled to hear the news of the transformational grants to Send a Cow. “When we visited the Ikawa n’Inka (Coffee and Cows) project in Rwanda, you could see not only the health of those participating, but you could see their pride, confidence and joy,” Sekula says. “It is incredibly exciting to know that this work will continue and expand and enable more communities in two countries now to produce crops that will help them provide for their families and communities and empower women and girls, in times when that is desperately needed. We are so grateful to The Starbucks Foundation for this validation and support.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on women in rural Africa who are already on the frontline of climate change and face multiple challenges, including gender inequality, malnutrition, and poverty.

In 2020, a gender assessment performed by the Rwandan government, UN Women, and UN Population Fund, revealed that economic activities, household income, and other aspects of women’s livelihoods, including gender-based violence, have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Ethiopia, a recent community survey by Send a Cow’s staff revealed that many women in rural communities have little control over their family’s resources and are less likely to participate in decision-making or take on leadership roles that are exclusively occupied by men.

Genevieve in a green shawl looking at her brown cow

Through Send a Cow’s trainings in gender equality, women within the smallholder farming communities of Nyaruguru and Bugesera Districts of Rwanda, and the Sidama region of Ethiopia, will have the opportunity to take up leadership positions, develop their confidence, and influence positive change at the local level.

Additional trainings will engage women and their families in sustainable farming strategies and enterprise development while delivering access to clean water and the adoption of good hygiene practices to protect against COVID-19. The goal of both projects is to create sustainable improvements to gender equality and families’ health, food security, and livelihoods.

“The Sidama region of Ethiopia is one of the major coffee-growing areas in the country,” says Aklilu Dogisso, Send a Cow’s Country Director in Ethiopia. "While the land is fertile, many families often go hungry due to limited diversified agriculture. Gender inequality is high and traditional attitudes toward women mean they are unable to contribute to key decision-making that impacts their family’s food and economic security."

“Our partnership with The Starbucks Foundation is built on a shared vision that will enable transformational change for women and their families in both Rwanda and Ethiopia.”

Aklilu Dogisso Send a Cow’s Country Director in Ethiopia

Send a Cow and The Starbucks Foundation’s new partnership will increase the self-sufficiency of 11,000 people within rural Rwanda and another 10,200 people in Ethiopia.

The Starbucks Foundation and Send a Cow previously worked together on the three-year Ikawa n’Inka project in the Nyanza and Bugesera Districts of Rwanda that has to-date reduced hunger for 90% of project participants, improved household income for 72% of individuals, and increased the participation of women in community leadership positions and household decision-making.

For more details, contact:

J. Michael Coburn - Executive Director of US Development, SAC US


Tel: ‪202-743-2482