Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chania Coffee- The concept

My name is Muthoni Schneidewind, am a Kenyan living and working in Germany. My friends and family call me Soni.

I was born and brought up in the coffee producing communities of The Aberdares and Mt Kenya mountains in Kenya.

I grew up picking coffee as a child. Me and my siblings always formed part of the 'workforce' in my parents coffee shamba during the school holidays or on Saturdays...yes 'coffee picking day' was always put on a saturday !! regardless of the weather conditions; you see in the Aberdares, you might be getting baked under the hot tropical African sun in one minute, and the next it will rain hailstorms! I have  great memories from this...memories of struggle and despair...... i also have fond memories of the place i still call home despite living so many miles away, i have memories of when tomorrow comes...
Some of my childhood friends didnt even come to school during the coffee seasons...their families needed them for labour.
I left my village when i was 17, to go and 'see the world'......
And my people continued picking coffee....

My father struggled to put me and my siblings through to school with the meagre earnings from the coffee the rest of the other families from my community we all lived from hand to mouth- not knowing where the next meal will eventually come from.
The African spirit of not giving up made us stronger each day that passed...

Three decades later, my community still struggles, they are still debased by a poverty that erodes ambition and pride, that sappes a man's spirit and strength and finally makes him surrender. Many of them can hardly afford proper medical care leave alone making ends meet...they toil from dawn to dusk and the proceeds from the coffee sales do not even cover the cost of production.

It is from all these struggles that i have formed Chania Coffee. This is a registered profit making Social Enterprise based in Germany my country of residence.
To make our stratgey work and be transparent in facilitating community development, i founded Kenya- Dorf- Volunteers (KEDOVO e.V) which is a registered Non-Profit Organisation in Germany.
We plan to put a stop to the shrewdness of the middlemen that dominate the coffee supply chain!
Me and my 'gang' will bombard the Roasters and Importers here with our concept and connect these communities to International markets especially in Germany and other parts of Europe. My group of volunteers in our Kenyan Chapter, which is a registered Non-Profit Community Based Organisation (KEDOVO -CBO)  will dwell on Capacity Building to train my coffee producing community on Sustainable coffee farming.
Our core values are Transparency and Honesty. We will make sure that the coffee money filters back to these communities through a transparent model of Direct Trade and Partnership with the communities.
My people will sell their coffee Direct to Germany....may the force be with us.

Through part of the revenue derived from the sale of coffee in Germany via Chania Coffee and the Partnerships that we will form along the journey, Kedovo e.V will undertake the projects of Rural development for the community in Kiganjo, Nyeri, where we will work towards the following areas:

i) Education for Sustainable development
ii) Income Generating Projects- esp for the women & youth
iii) Access to clean water, Health, Hygiene and Sanitation.
iv) Sustainable coffee farming practises that are within the Ecological, Economical & Social limits that will respect the crop, the farmers and the soil.
v) Food Security
vi) Support Orphaned & Vulnerable children in the community.

This blog will be a place where we can start our journey together, it will be a great Adventure where we will share our story and bring hope to these communities. Through this great Adventure we will show them that everything is possible. This is where we will tell Our Story, Our Way..... We want to make sure that the Chania Coffee story and adventure is worth remembering and repeating. Be part of our story......

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