MILAN – On October 30, 2013, Phyllis Johnson Vice President of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance ( IWCA ) represented this organization the The II World Forum for Local Economic Development, which took place in Foz do Iquaçu, Parana State, Brazil.
More than 4,000 participants representing 60 countries came to learn and share best practices on how to expand LED (Local Economic Development) in their countries.
The main objective of the II World Forum was to advance the relation between the concept of territorial approach to development, the decentralization and deconcentration policies at national level, and the specific tools for integrating the three dimensions of Sustainable Human Development (SHD).
Phyllis Johnson took part in the October 30th panel discussions that provided examples of organizations showcasing their work on including women in the LED equation. Phyllis provided insight on IWCA’s work and the progress made by its chapter networks in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
She further explained how empowered women can be leaders that help build more stable local economies through a value system that involves community
The panel also included:
- Ines Mendoza – International Cooperative Association, ACI Americas
- Moema Vieezer – Itaipu Binacional, Brazil
- Julis Esponosa Farjardo – Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain
- Carmen de la Cruz – UNDP Gender Regional Practice Team Leader
The IWCA is a peer-to-peer volunteer network of women and men dedicated to empowering and enriching the lives of women in the coffee industry along the entire supply chain through collaboration, education, training, workshops, fundraising and sponsorship opportunities.
Of the world’s estimated 1 billion poor, 70% are women. Women own less than 1% of the world’s titled land.
The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people throughout the world are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods, and of that number, 25 million are coffee farmers. Unfortunately, coffee farmers typically live and work in substandard conditions, which are compounded by the fact that they receive only a small percentage of the actual price that the coffee is sold to the consumer.
Women, who represent a good majority of coffee farmers, face additional challenges.
Aside from the day-to-day struggles women coffee farmers face in order to maintain a respectable standard of living, they must also struggle with the gender inequality that is prevalent throughout the world’s coffee growing regions.
Established in 2003, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) strives to create a difference in the world of coffee.
With a mission to “empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives; and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry,” the IWCA, from its inception, has remained focused on promoting possibilities for women in coffee communities throughout the world.
The IWCA offers an opportunity for social and economic empowerment.