ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The 7th IWCA Convention took place October 16-22 in Addis Ababa, with Women in Coffee Ethiopia as the esteemed host. The convention marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of IWCA and also held a very special meaning to the Ethiopian chapter as they had previously faced challenges in obtaining legal authorization for their establishment in 2016.
While celebrating the extraordinary commitment and tireless efforts of the women involved in establishing the chapter, the event also shone a spotlight on the remarkable impact of chapter members from across the IWCA global chapter network. It was incredible to see over 300 participants and IWCA chapter leaders from 26 of the 33 IWCA chapters come together in a truly inspiring and empowering experience for all those in attendance.
The 7th IWCA Convention with Women in Coffee Ethiopia in Addis Ababa
Representatives from two IWCA chapters in formation, Greece and China were also present at the convention and reaffirmed their interest in joining the IWCA chapter network, showcasing the potential for growth within the organization.
The IWCA Leadership Summit, held prior to the convention, was an invaluable opportunity for leaders from the chapter network to come together and share updates, insights, experiences, and future goals.
This collaborative environment provided a space for women to connect in person and foster meaningful connections over a shared love for coffee. Thanks to generous support for the scholarship program, 25 IWCA chapter leaders were able to attend the Leadership Summit.
The convention offered a diverse range of workshops, panels, cupping sessions, networking events, and the iconic parade of 33 flags representing the IWCA chapters.
It provided a valuable platform for participants to gain deeper insights into industry trends and updates, establish new business contacts, and engage with other women working in the coffee value chain.
The Board President of the association, Sharon Riechers, described the convention as an “epic, awe-inspiring experience! It was a glorious celebration, marking 20 years of IWCA’s remarkable journey and growth.”
After the close of the convention, IWCA chapter leaders went on origin trips to various coffee regions in Ethiopia.
This experience allowed them to delve deep into the heart of where coffee was born and learn more about Ethiopian coffee production companies, cooperatives, and farms. For many chapter members, this trip was an especially momentous occasion, as it marked their first visit to Africa, forging new connections in the international coffee community and strengthening the bonds of friendship and sisterhood that define the IWCA chapter network.
The Convention in Ethiopia achieved resounding success, thanks to the immense support and generosity of numerous organizations: The Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs of Ethiopia, The Spanish Cooperation, Desira, European Union, German Cooperation -GIZ-, International Trade Centre, Coffee Quality Institute, Rainforest Alliance, AFCA, US AID, CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Specialty Coffee Association all played a pivotal role in making this event a success.
Blanca Castro, association Executive Director: “The Leadership Summit celebrated during IWCA Convention in Addis, marked a special moment in the history of IWCA. Gathering all IWCA Chapters was challenging, and although we did not have all of them, we’ve witnessed the warmth and commitment that we all share. I feel very proud to serve all of them, now more than ever. As Executive Director, I feel inspired and encouraged to continue working for them and really make a difference in the coffee industry.”
Through the generous support of dedicated partners, IWCA has been able to facilitate programs and opportunities that have transformed the lives of countless women in the coffee supply chain.
Double the impact: your donation doubled by Global Leadership Alliance
Global Leadership Alliance (GLA), a generous supporter of empowering women in the coffee industry, is committed to matching every donation made to IWCA through December 31, up to $25,000. Thanks to GLA’s support, every donation during this period has the potential to make twice the difference.
IWCA appreciates GLA’s dedication to empowering women and their approval to share this generous matching gift on social media.