Water Credits™ (liters of clean water) funded by Coffee for Water: 34,191,000

Monthly Archives: July 2011

  • What is a Social Enterprise?

    Posted on July 25, 2011 by Coffee for Water

    In a nut shell a social enterprise is a business and non-profit hybrid. It runs like a business by selling a product or service in order to make a profit, but it earns the profit for the sake of funding its humanitarian or environmental mission. This is also known as the “double bottom line”, which is in contrast to the single bottom line—to make a profit—that a normal company has.

    One advantage of establishing a social enterprise for the sake of a humanitarian effort, as opposed to the more traditional non-profit, is that it makes championing the effort more convenient. Because a social enterprise incorporates support for their humanitarian effort into the purchase of their product, an individual is able to get involved in the cause while they behave like a normal consumer. This type of aid provides an alternative to non-profits, which have to rely on charitable donations that require people to spend more money on top or in replacement of what they’re already buying.

    Using our own company as an example of a social enterprise in action, if you’re a coffee drinker and you decide to give our Haitian Mountain Blend a try, in addition to satisfying your coffee craving your purchase will also help fund water projects in coffee growing countries. Our product and others like it allow consumers to kill two birds with one stone; they get a product they can use and the chance to help a good cause, all in the same purchase. This type of buying power is what we like to call “empowered consumption”.

    One of the most well-known social enterprises is TOMS. TOMS sells shoes using a one-for-one model, which means that any time a customer buys a pair of their shoes TOMs donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Another popular social enterprise is FEED Projects. They sell a wide range of apparel items, such as hand-bags and T-shirts, and included in every purchase is a set donation that goes towards addressing world hunger. For example, if you purchase their popular “FEED 1 Bag” then in addition to getting a cool bag you’re also providing a single child in Africa with school lunches for an entire year.

    If you’re interested in discovering new ways to participate in empowered consumption then check out Roozt.com. Like popular social buying sites Livingsocial and Groupon, Roozt sells coupons that allow you to purchase items at a significant discount, except that all the items they feature are sold by social enterprises. What’s more, Roozt itself is a social enterprise and uses a portion of its profits to fund a humanitarian effort that changes according to the deal they are featuring.

    Social enterprises are a small but growing category of company that offer a unique opportunity for buyers to exercise their consumptive powers not just for their own good, but for the world’s as well. We think that’s pretty neat, and hope you do to!


    This post was posted in In the News and was tagged with Coffee for Water, Social Enterprise

  • Cholera Still a Problem For Haiti

    Posted on July 19, 2011 by Coffee for Water

    Cholera epidemic in Haiti showing no signs of letting up

    A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the presence of cholera in Haiti, and how the disease is not only still prevalent despite predictions that it should be subsiding, but also likely to get worse as the summer rainy season sets in. Now Mid July, signs are suggesting that this new prediction is likely to be a correct one.

    Richard Knox of NPR recently wrote an article in which he reports on the cholera epidemic in Haiti. He mentions that according to the Haitian health ministry, between April and June there have been a total of 86,000 new cholera cases, or one-fourth of the total number of cases that have appeared since the outbreak began last fall.

    As the disease continues to spread it is placing more and more strain on the aid organizations with operations in Haiti. In June, Partners In Health (PIH), an organization that provides health services to people in poor countries, dealt with over 14,000 cases of cholera at its clinics in Haiti, up from just under 4,000 in April.

    (Check out this report generated by the CDC to get more information about the cholera epidemic in Haiti).

    To make matters worse, as the case count continues to rise, the funds available for treating the epidemic are dwindling. PIH has been one of the most active non-profits in Haiti both before and after the earthquake hit last year, but it is being stretched to its limits with trying to keep the cholera outbreak at bay.

    In a conversation between Cate Oswald, PIH’s Haiti-based coordinator for community health, and NPR’s health blog Shots, Cate talks about the challenges her organization faces: “We have a smaller pool of people responding and similar caseloads to what we were seeing the later part of last year […] So we’re working double-and triple-time with very limited resources. We’re quickly going through dedicated cholera funds”.

    Information Sourced from: Partners in Health and NPR Shots

    This post was posted in In the News and was tagged with Coffee for Water, Cholera, Haiti

  • Brief History Of Haitian Coffee

    Posted on July 7, 2011 by Coffee for Water

    If you've read a little bit about Coffee for Water, then you probably know we sell Haitian coffee. And unless you're a true-blue connoisseur of the craft, chances are good that the phrase “Haitian coffee” came as a surprise when you first saw it.  Of all the Latin American countries that are known for growing coffee, Haiti is certainly one of the least (if not the least) well known today. But while it may be a surprise to many now, there was a time when Haiti's coffee was not so unfamiliar. In fact, at one time Haitian coffee comprised almost 50% of the world’s coffee supply! It was only after Haiti’s coffee industry suffered from a series of political, economic, and environmental blows that it all but vanished.

    In the Past

    Haiti has a long history of coffee production. Coffee has been grown there (off and on) for the past several centuries, getting its start while the country was still under French rule during the 18th century. Spurred on by high demand in countries like France and Italy, within a century of being introduced the coffee plant became a staple of Haitian agriculture, causing production to expand and eventually supply a substantial portion of the world's coffee market.

    However, Haiti’s coffee industry would not retain its world-class status for long. After Haiti gained its independence from France in the early 19th century it lost an essential connection to the world coffee market; as a result of the country's newly earned freedom it estranged a substantial source of international demand for Haitian coffee. Without the high demand to drive production Haiti’s coffee growing capacity fell. Coffee production then took another hit in the 1970s when the price of coffee dropped, which discouraged farmers from growing it.

    Several decades later in the early 1990s, Haitian coffee production declined even further after their largely democratic government was overthrown and replaced by a military regime, causing the U.S. to place a trade embargo on the country. At the same time this was happening, a fungus that kills the coffee plant began to spread throughout the small island nation, virtually extinguishing any coffee production that remained. Haiti's once booming industry was left in ruins.

    Look Towards the Future

    But now after having had time to recover from its setbacks, Haitian coffee is finally ripe to make a resurgence. With the help of Coffee for Water and other organizations with a taste for the unique coffee, Haitian coffee will one-day return to its former prominence, and in doing so help drive Haiti’s economic development. Help us help Haiti and buy our Haitian Coffee today!

    Information sourced from:

    Haiti CoffeeHaiti's Coffee: Will it Make a Comeback?, U.S. Department of State, and HaitiMega

    This post was posted in Coffee from Haiti and was tagged with Coffee for Water, Haitian Coffee

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