Starbucks Reserve social projects changing lives in coffee communities

Starbucks Reserve® buyer Ann Traumann travels the world to find rare, small-lot coffees. But Starbucks Reserve is about more than just one-of-a-kind coffees. When she’s sourcing coffee, we also identify opportunities to invest in coffee-growing communities.

Since 2015, we’ve helped fund 16 social projects in 12 countries. In the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, we helped repair and rebuild a school for hundreds of children. Another project improved access to quality health care in East Timor through the construction of four health clinics . And in Colombia, the children of Campo Azul Village now have a multi-sport court where they can play.

Because every coffee community faces different challenges, we look to the farmers, producers and suppliers to help shape the project. Many times, the community members even take part in the work.

"We are following the recipients to tell us what the needs are. Every project is different depending on the needs of the community," Traumann said.

When we released Starbucks Reserve® Papua New Guinea Ulya the spring of 2015, we learned about a need in another Papua New Guinea coffee community. The supplier proposed a project benefitting the Moanti coffee network, a group of more than 400 smallholder farmers in the Henganofi district. The Moanti network, named after the woman who manages the supply chain, lacked a clean, local water supply. They had to walk high into the mountains to source clean water.

With the help of the community and local suppliers, we were able to provide a sustainable water source for the Moanti network. A filtration system, water tanks and four community taps were installed.

The project was officially completed in January 2016. The community held a festive celebration to commission the water supply. Now, hundreds of households in the area have access to clean water. Traumann said it’s incredible to see the impact one project can have.

"You can see the happiness of the community to have access to the water," she said.

Our commitment to this region hasn’t stopped. A second phase of the water project is now underway, which will expand the water supply to more communities in the Henganofi district. The project intends to add 12 new water taps, benefitting many more coffee farming families in the area.

Six other social projects are underway in countries where Starbucks Reserve® coffees are sourced. It’s one of the many ways we’re investing in coffee communities around the world.

"Our unreasonable passion to seek the best quality on the globe is parallel to our commitment to the communities whose hands and hearts are clearly etched on every product," said Arthur Karuletwa, Starbucks director of traceability.

Starbucks director of traceability Arthur Karuletwa explains how we worked with farmers in Ethiopia to repair and rebuild a school in the Yirgacheffe region.

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