In 2021, we began a new three-year project with a focus on water and sanitation. Kawacom identified that many of the farmers they work with lacked access to clean running water and had to walk long distances to source it, meaning that in turn they had less time to spend on coffee farming, which would ultimately help them gain a greater income. At the same time there was a call to improve eco systems on farms and restore degraded land that would enable farmers to produce more coffee. From this we developed the WASH Project, part funded by Kawacom with a total investment from Taylors of £235,000. The project aimed to support 13,500 farmers (all Rainforest Alliance certified) and their families benefiting women and children who often had to trek at least four kilometres to gather water for their households.
WASH is now entering its third year and has already achieved a lot. In year one we aimed to install clean drinking water sources in 10 villages, and we’ve exceeded this number to reach a total of 16 villages. Included in this work was training to encourage and develop proper hygiene and sanitation for the communities and people who use these systems and these water sources have brought huge change to the lives of these coffee farmers.
In 2022, the second part of the project had a focus on restoring degraded land that could be used for coffee production, creating more opportunities for the farmers of Sipi Falls. Part of this work is to plant shade trees amongst the coffee farms to allow for better quality coffee production and an important element of the project is training and diversification of knowledge. This works to support the new systems and practices put in place for best use in the future.
Looking to 2023 and the final year of this project, the aim is to monitor and evaluate what has been put in place. Committees will be set up to provide leadership and to maintain the systems and training put in place throughout the project. Our work with Kawacom and our other coffee suppliers is on-going. At Taylors we fund and support community projects every year because without these farmers, our industry would cease to exist.