Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Journey that has been

The year comes to an end. I watch the sun set and go back in time...
i go back and reflect on the journey that has been. The journey of my village towards self reliance, a journey that aims to break the cycle of poverty, diseases and hunger.

view of the sunset from Ndurutu Village

Its been almost 2 years since me and the gang in Kenya founded Kenya Dorf Volunteers (KEDOVO)- which is a Non Profit Oganisation based both in Germany and Kenya that uses a holistic approach to tackle development issues for the communities of the Aberdares mountains in Nyeri Kenya. We all agreed to use Rural based solutions for sustainable development.

My community has been coffee producers since time immemorial. My father and his father and the fathers before them all relied on coffee production to feed, educate and care for their families.

my father planting new coffee trees in March 2013

Today despite coffee being the most second traded commodity in the world, coffee producers all over the world are still among the most poorest communities in the world.

Their children hardly have access to education, many have no acess or lack means to good health, many of them live in absolute poverty.

I am a daughter of a coffee producer, and i feel the pain of all the coffee producers all over the world.

I sit and reflect, i sit and worry, I sit and ask myself- is it possible for coffee producers to live a decent living from coffee production? How can coffee producers achieve economic development? Can one day my people sleep without a worrry in the world? Can they one day walk / ride with smiles all the way to the bank?

Gathogo, one of our vocal farmers

Chania Coffee is the journey of a far away village at the foot of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdares, its the journey of the village of my birth, its the journey of my people.

The journey hasnt been easy, but we have kept the faith. Along the way we have met and made friends, partners and clients who have and continue believing in us. People who have believed that survival for my community is not enough- people that we will always be thankful to, without them the journey would have been so much harder.

Because of their believe in us the children of my village have now access to education, the women from my village have set up small business enterprises, my community has now access to clean water, the children of my village have now dreams... 

George of Kedovo Kenya distributing new school desksat Karindundu primary

New uniforms for Ndurutu Primary
women group funded by Kedovo to start small businesses

New books for Ndurutu Primary class 4

water tank for one of our coffee farmers

Davie of Kedovo handing over new desks to Ndurutu Primary in Nov 2014

New desks for Ndurutu Primary

Mary of Kedovo handing over text books for Ndurutu primary in Nov 2014

The journey continues.....

In Pictures....The journey that has been.

Nicole & Soni in Bremen to receive the coffee from Karindundu in Feb 2014

Soni & Connie in Wilstedt

Handing over new tanks to this old couple in Nov 2014

Kira & Jan of Loppokaffeexpress on coffee safari in Kenya
Many thanks to all of you who have believed in us, just to mention a few; Jonas, Kira, Daniel,Pingo, Thimo,Connie, Eva,etc. Without you all this would not have been possible.
The work is not yet done, lets continue changing the dark story of poverty in your coffee cup

The journey continues



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Coffees of our lives

I sit outside the porch at my mother's house and watch the heavy December rains. I watch the muddy waters running down to the coffee fileds.... I think about my childhood and the coffees of our lives. The coffees in the slopes of Africa's mountains of Kenya and The Aberdares, where some of the most unique coffees in the world are found, where the birds chirp happilly at the break of dawn.

 I think of my coffee producers who are toiling outside in the rain picking the last coffees for this season. I think of their children and the hopes and dreams all based on the coffee from  my village. I think of what tomorrow brings....will we continue struggling?
Last month the schools closed for the December holidays, and the kids from my village are now looking forward for the opening day in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to new beginnings with the coming year, looking forward to better days. Can i guarantee them better days through the sale of this seasons coffee? can i give them chances to dream again? Everyday that passes i worry for my coffee producers and their families, i worry for what lies ahead....may the force be with us.

Our vision being the economic stability of our coffee producers, we make sure that we keep their children in school, we support the education requirements of their children so that they can have access to universal education, guarantee the future of my village so they can later on lead dignified lives.
With this in mind, we visited Ndurutu Primary School during the closing day for the year 2014.
Ndurutu Primary School lies approximately 150 kms northwest of Nairobi the capital of Kenya. Its also situated 200 metres from Ndurutu Wet Mill, whose coffee is currently available on sale in Germany.
The school has currently 166 pupils all from Ndurutu Village.
Ndurutu Primary is a government owned public school. Unfortunately, like most rural schools in Kenya, its currently underfunded and in dire need of various resources from renovated classrooms, books, desks to writing materials.
We visited the school and supported them with new desks.We braced the muddy rainy weather with a group of journalists from Journalist network from Germany.The look on the faces of the pupils of my old school told it all.

They could now again sit on desks comfortably without being squeezed. They could now concentrate on learning without worrying where to sit and write on....This would not have been possible without the support of our partners Heinz and Nicole of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen.Without them, my dream was just that; A dream. For all your continued support my sincere gratitude.

Davie of Kedovo counterchecking that all is inorder

Kedovo Kenya team handing over part of the new  desks to the School Chairman

On closing day we distributed story books and text books for a new functional school library that we are setting up.

A library that will ensure that the kids from my village will have access of the required school curriculum. A library that will give them a chance to dare again to dream and see the world, a chance to broaden their horizons and give them chances beyond primary school.
We also issued presents to the pupils who had performed well in the exams, to motivate them to work harder and build chances for sustainable dignfied livelihoods.

The KEDOVO gang told stories of our childhoods, stories filled of struggle, despair but amidst all hope.We told the story of us growing up and vowing to 'get out' of the village where our parents struggled from dawn to dusk.We told the story of us coming back together 15 years later to rebuild the lives of the coffee producers and their families, because we believed.We told the story of the journey of my village towards self reliance and their part in it; where survival was not enough.... the story of Chania Coffee and our belief that the economic stability of the coffee producers and their families begins when they are supported with the necessary tools, resources, networks and knowledge to rebuild their lives. We told the story of a village that now had hope.....

In our work we encourage young people to do their best, and for this the children of our coffee producers are in the forefront. They deserve chances and acess to good education opportunities, chances to a good future, chances to dream of being Firefighters, Pilots, Doctors, Teachers, Engineers....chances to see Disney World :D 

Davie telling the story of our childhood

The Kedovo- Kenya team encouraging the kids of Ndurutu that everything is possible

Would the coffees in our lives guarantee my people this? Would the coffee roasters in Germany and the EU give chances of economic development to my people? would they agree to work with my farmers and expose them to modern farming techniques and practises that were within the economic, social and environmental limits? Are they willing to tell the story and plight of our coffee producers as it is? i worry....

Our work is based on the direct and transparent relationships with the farmers who produce our coffee.Where we make sure that our clients can trace every package of coffee back to the village it was harvested, where we believe that its economic opportunities and not Aid that transforms communities.

To continue supporting these communities we are currently offering Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill late crop 2013-2014 F.O.T Bremen, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract.

For clients interested in already roasted coffees kindly purchase from our Online Shop.
To Nicole and Heinz; thanks for giving my people the chance to rebuild their lives, for letting their children go to school without a worry of where to sit on, or on what to write on or read, for putting smiles back on their faces.
To the Roasters and other clients who have been with us on this journey, thankyou for being part of the KEDOVO/ Chania Coffee family- for being in the forefront of supporting my coffee producers to rebuild their lives.We still have a lot of work infront of us, our journey hasnt still come to an end, survival for my people is not enough, lets us make it happen.

So long


Kedovo's project on Access to clean water

We all take for granted how easily it is to turn that tap of water and have fresh clean water flowing freely.
Everyday people from my village spend billions of hours every year walking for water. They bear the burden of walking for many kilometres to gather water from streams, rivers and ponds that are sometimes contaminated.

Clean water for my community means health, income and education. How??
Time spent walking to the river, resulting diseases keeping them from school, work and taking care of their families. All this affects the potentiality of the women in the community.When the children are freed from gathering water, they return to classes or do their homework easily and become more productive in school.
Access to clean water breaks the cycle of poverty.
Technologies in accessing clean water vary and so do costs. For my community we teamed up with a group of our coffee producers and the Kedovo gang in Kenya to determine the most sustainable means to provide access to clean and safe water. We settled on rain catchment that will have a long term impact and use a holistic approach and accountable over time.
Together with our funding partners; Bingo Projektförderung Schleswig Holstein - the Kedovo Wasertanks für Nyeri project began in Nov 2014 for a period of 1 year. The project is targeting 20 homesteads and 1 primary school within Kiganjo , Nyeri .

We engage the community in planning and installations of the watertanks that will be used for rain water catchment and storage. This may sound simple but in the bigger picture, our project contributes to an ambitious plan—the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)—that pledges to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.

Ndurutu Village located between the Mt Kenya and The Aberdares receives enough rainfall that can be utilised as a means of safe clean water, not only for domestic use but also for setting up small garden/ vertical gardens to provide the communities with vegetables throught the year.
Ndurutu villagers spend hours each day retrieving water their families need to survive.As my people rely on coffee farming, the time-consuming retrieval process also diverts efforts from activities crucial to sustainable development, such as education and farming.

As a child , i grew up walking 1.5 kilometres to the Chania River to collect more than 40 litres of water everday. With the rest of the Kedovo gang, we struggled in the hot tropical sun, in the muddy november weather with 20 litres jericans strapped at our backs.
Three decades later, most of the kids from my village still struggle uphill with water jericans strapped at their backs. At Kedovo, we believe that creating acess to safe drinking water is the most powerful way to improve my community.

We educate communities so they can embrace clean water solutions.
By improving access to clean water we Improve sanitation.

Clean water transforms a communities......

Without our partners Nicole Boedtger and Heinz Papenhagen, this would not have been possible. And for this i thank them wholeheartedly from my heart.

And for Bingo funding- our sincere gratitude.

To all the great people who continue following us on our journey, thankyou for being part of the Kedovo/ Chania Coffee family, without you all this journey would have been so much harder.

To continue supporting our work,we are currently offeering coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill, available F.O.T Bremen, transport to other destinations within the EU arrangable at extra cost. Pease contact Nicole Boedtger or Soni Schneidewind for Pricing, Samples and Contracting.

Our journey continues.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kedovo and The Millennium Development Goals

 Its been a long time since i updated our Blog. Well  i travelled to Kenya at the beginning of November to visit our Local partner organisation and plan on the way forward for our community development projects.

The last couple of weeks have seen the International community very active in making assessments regarding the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals. What are the Millenium Development Goals? These are goals which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.

 Kedovo has been focusing on some of these goals that include the Achievement of universal primary education, Ensure Environmental sustainability, Promote ender equality and empower women, Eradict extreme poverty and hunger as well as Develop a global partnership for development.
We have been advocating and facilitating projects in Nyeri Kenya for the last 1 and half years, projects aimed towards the achievement of the MDG's, projects aimed at the achievement of self reliance for the communities of the Aberdare mountains.
We teamed up with a group of journalists from journalists. network Germany, and braced the rain, the muddy paths of Ndurutu village in Nyeri, the village of my birth, and visited my people. The plan was to visit the grassroot communities of my village and showcase the work of Kedovo towards the achievement and implementation of the MDG's. How far are we? are these goals achievable by the year 2015?

Read our story here:Mit Kaffee aus der Armut

Our work has been to train my community towards self reliance, as i only believe that communities can only develop if they are facilitated with the necessary tools, the necessary information, the networks to take control of their lives. In my new country of residence we call this Hilfe für Selbstshilfe.
Our work has not been easy, our work is based on the transparent cultivation of coffee in a sustainable manner, and using the coffee as a resource to get my community out of the cycle of poverty, unemployment, disease and hunger. May the force be with us.
Our believe and promise in Kedovo and Chania Coffee  is to make the production of coffee for my community, economically sustainable.This can only happen if our coffee producers are able to meet their basic needs ! This can only be achieved if we bring in knowledge and resources and networks to these coffee producers; that is when their economic stability begins; that is when their jouney towards self reliance begins, thats when we give their children chances beyond primary education, thats when we head towards the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals.....Share our story.

This journey would not have been possible without our partners Nicole Boedgter and Heinz Papenhagen of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen. For their partnership, friendship, trust and patience we will always be grateful. 

The journey would have been difficult without the Roasters in Germany who have and continue believing in us; Kira, Connie,Jonas, Daniel, Thimo, Pingo, Burg just to mention a few. Asante sana.

To the Roasters in Germany, remember with the purchase of our coffee, you give hope to the kids of my village, hope beyond  primary schools, hope to dare to dream and to see the world....Purchase of our coffees facilitates Access to clean water for my people...As usual lets make it happen.

We are currently offerring coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill - Rutuma Cooperative Nyeri, late harvest 2013/ 2014 F.O.T Bremen- transport to other destination within Germany arrangable at a cost. 
Please contact Nicole Boedtger or Soni Schneidewind for samples, price quoatations and contracting.

The journey continues...