As a conscious consumer, you want to know that the things you buy are giving back to the community. There are many ways each of our products do this, but we want to focus on just one program that you might not know about.
Carlos Espinoza, cacao seedlings nursery in Ecuador. Photo by Equal Exchange.
For every pound of fairly traded product (coffee, chocolate, tea, snacks) from the Equal Exchange Collection that you buy, they donate 20 cents to UUSC's Small Farmer Fund. In addition to supporting the farmer coops that supply Equal Exchange's products, UUSC uses the funds to partner with additional cooperatives that build sustainable livelihoods and advance human rights, particularly the rights of women, youth, and indigenous peoples.
Last year, the total donated by Equal Exchange to the UUSC Small Farmer Fund was $12,597.48! Here are just a few of the organizations that benefitted from this fund in the past.
Partner: Asociacion Para La Promoción Ecológica y Desarrollo Integral (Association for Promotion Ecological and Integral Development or PROECODI). PROECODI works to promote environmental conservation and integrated development of urban and rural communities of Guatemala, for the full enjoyment of human rights, peace, and good governance.
Project: The project is designed to strengthen the organization and productive/marketing capacities of cooperatives of small farmers in Guatemala. The beneficiaries of the project will be men and women, 18 and older, who are small agro-ecological producers (agricultural and craft products, food).
Partner: Asociación para la Promoción de la Mujer de Waslala (Association for the Advancement of Women of Waslala or APROMUWA). APROMUWA is an all-women cooperative located in an impoverished, rural community in Nicaragua in which violence against women is extremely prevalent. They were founded in 1997 and have 105 members, all of whom are women. Their work focuses on increasing women's economic independence and defending women who are victims of violence.
Project: This grant project will help strengthen grassroots cooperatives in Nicaragua through information sharing, and the sharing of APROMUWA's experiences. Through this project, it is hoped that other cooperatives will have the opportunity to learn from APROMUWA's experiences in protecting women from violence so that they can strengthen their work, and defend the rights of their members so all members can contribute to and benefit from the work of the cooperatives.
Partner: Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples Caja Rural (Multiple Services Cooperative Caja Rural or Cooperativa Caja Rural). The organization is a grassroots cooperative that was founded in 1998. They have 127 members, of whom 28 are women and 99 are men. The organization's work primarily focuses on the production and export of coffee for the smallest, and most vulnerable, producers.
Project: This grant project will help strengthen grassroots cooperatives in Nicaragua through information sharing, and the sharing of Caja Rural's experiences. Through this project, it is hoped that other cooperatives will have the opportunity to learn from Caja Rural's experiences negotiating with banks and navigating the legal environment in which cooperatives operate in Nicaragua so that they can strengthen and expand their work, and defend their rights.
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