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JavaJog Makes Big Strides in Second Year, Awarding $35,000 for DRC Projects

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JavaJog for a Cause 2014 in Seattle

The annual JavaJog for a Cause, one of specialty coffee’s truly altruistic events raising money for women in coffee-producing communities, raised $35,000 in its second year from the collections of the nearly 200 runners involved, up from $7,000 in its 2013 debut.

The JavaJog organizers recently announced the beneficiaries of this year’s grant money, including three organizations working on the ground in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: The Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), Virunga Coffee and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.

(related: From the ‘Rape Capital of the World,’ A Story of Coffee and Hope)

Grant proposals from each of those groups — see the proposal guidelines here — were reviewed in a two-part evaluation process by a review committee composed of: Charlene Farmer, (Food4Farmers), Craig Holt (Atlas Coffee), Marjoleine Motz (Fair & Sustainable Consulting), Nate Schaffran (Root Capital) and George Watane (4C Association, Nairobi).

(related: Just Coffee Launches ‘Ugandan Pride’ to Help Fight Anti-Homosexuality Law)

Here’s more straight from JavaJog on exactly how much money is going where and for what:

The Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI): $11,500 for Small Business Development for Congolese Cooperatives.

The eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo has enormous potential to produce specialty coffee. Today, with peace and a bright economic outlook, Congolese coffee farmers are driven to increase the quality of their production to provide the international marketplace with specialty Congolese coffee. ECI and the Kahawa Bora Ya Kivu (Fine Coffee of Kivu) coffee project work with three cooperatives, investing in business development throughout the entire value chain. Through JavaJog’s grant, 30 cooperative members will have the chance to travel to successful cooperatives in East Africa, learning from different business models, which can be applicable in DRC, forming strong businesses that can reliably provide quality coffee.

The DRC chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance: $20,000 to support 750 women coffee growers of Lubarika and Ndolera village, and Uvira Territory who struggle daily to establish their rights and position within society.

The grant money will be used to purchase equipment and provide infrastructure support for processing and packaging of coffee, which will help the women further meet their goal of establishing their rights and position within society through economic empowerment.

Virunga Coffee Company: $3,500 for efforts to improve working conditions for women, specifically supporting the improvement of conditions for the women who sort coffee by hand.

Typically, throughout most African countries, thousands of tons of coffee beans are hand sorted by women working for a few dollars per day, often in very basic working conditions. Through this grant, Virunga Coffee will make initial investments in the infrastructure, and provide these women in the DRC with a higher salary, a free lunch, and better the working environment which will include new tables, stools and good lighting.

Plans are already underway for the 3rd Annual Race to take place in Seattle, April 10th, in conjunction with the SCAA Event. For more info, visit JavaJog for a Cause or email javajog@gmail.com.

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