Since 2012 Equator has continuously partnered in a program in Nicaragua managed by Aldea Global called Tierra Madre. For each pound of coffee Equator purchases from Las Mercedes, we pay a small fee into a fund that covers administrative, legal and logistic costs related to land rights issues for women in Nicaragua.
Often in historically patriarchal societies, women live on and farm land that they do not legally own. Although the government supports women’s land rights conceptually, the resources are not always available to process titles. The Tierra Madre fund has been set up to transfer land title to women who actually live on and take care of the property. Fortunately the expenses are relatively small; costs include paying a lawyer to draft the paperwork and transportation to the court to file the documents. The rewards however are great, as this process empowers women in a new way and for the first time allows them to do what they wish with their land.
It’s satisfying to see all of the hard work pay off for our partners in Nicaragua. We hope our contributions have played a role in this evolution—improving coffee quality, and more importantly, the lives of the people dedicated to growing it. We look forward to future visits and more delicious coffee to come.