No 30

Kachalú, Educating a New Generation of Coffee Growers

June, 2014

100% NOTEWORTHY

Kachalú, Educating a New Generation of Coffee Growers
In the Kachalú Project, the Delicias School has become the epicenter of the coffee-growing community, radiating knowledge, well-being and sustainable development.

Photo: http://www.eficofoundation.org/

In the language of the Poima indigenous people, Kachalú means “new hope”. And with this spirit, the project has helped a new generation of coffee-growing children and young people to understand importance of sustainable coffee farming.

Kachalú is an educational project that started in 2002 in the Puente Nacional municipality, Santander, in northern Colombia, with the support of Café de Colombia, through de Santander Departmental Coffee Growers Committee, the Efico Foundation and the Belgian retail chain Colruyt.

In 2005 began the renovation of the Delicias rural school and now it features computer lab, dining hall, kitchen, bathrooms and electricity. It was also equipped with computers, an overhead projector, a printer and furniture, and the web page of the school was designed (a Moodle platform for virtual education).

Besides receiving Spanish-English bilingual education, primary and secondary students have attended courses on coffee crop production and sustainability (as well as complementary crops), informatics and for development of entrepreneurial skills that allow them to manage their own business. All this has contributed to reduce drop-out rates.

The community, teachers and parents have also been trained on the use of computers, nutrition and food security.

With the strong component of food security, the children receive a more nutritious and healthy lunch, and the families have also been inspired to incorporate more vegetables into their daily menu at home, while the school staff has attended workshops about nutrition to improve the children’s diet.

What the Project has achieved up to now

The project has introduced new agricultural systems into the community, which also help coffee growers to restore biodiversity in the region. A total of 65 coffee growers from the rural settlements of influence have attended sustainable business management workshops.

As part of the biodiversity component, biologists in this region keep track of 22 species of migratory birds and more than 120 local birds. Many of the endangered varieties have already shown up again and rare specimens of plants have reappeared.

The Kachalú project has become a reference in neighboring villages and the example of the Delicias school, together with El Bosque rural school (where some field practices took place), is not only being copied in other schools, but has become a synonym for progress and sustainable education.

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And even if the project, with Efico’s support, concluded at the end of 2013, Café de Colombia is still backing the school as part of another agreement with the Santander department government.

Kachalú is one of the projects with high social impact carried out by Café de Colombia with the support of its allies, ensuring welfare of coffee growers and their families with a sustainable approach.

 

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http://www.eficofoundation.org/


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