When Gorongosa Coffee launched in 2015, its goal was to restore the rainforest of Mozambique’s Mount Gorongosa region that had been ravaged by a 17-year civil war and institute sustainable farming methods for locals to support their families and their communities. Now, the company is turning its attention towards education and aims to put every young woman who lives in the Gorongosa National Park zone through high school within the next 15 years.
The company’s coffee sells for $17 a bag and the profits go towards wildlife conservation, preventing deforestation, and now, towards building 100 schools, giving 20,000 girls access to after-school programs, and providing 500 high school scholarships for girls in the communities where the farmers producing the coffee live.
More than half of girls enrolled in a primary school in Mozambique drop out by the fifth grade and only 11 percent continue to secondary education. It costs $500 a year to send a girl to a secondary boarding school in Mozambique, but most of the families in the region make less than $1 a day. The coffee company is also supporting teacher training and runs an after-school club to offer a safe space for women to discuss relevant issues in their communities including sexual health and gender-based violence.
Eric Wilburn, director of Gorongosa Coffee, was inspired to start the community-conscious company after volunteering with the Peace Corps in the region. He hopes to collaborate with community leaders and create holistic community development. Women’s education is a key solution to creating a more equitable society and lifting families out of poverty.