Starbucks partners will be among the people that grow, harvest and produce the coffee in Rwanda

Starbucks partners will be among the people that grow, harvest and produce the coffee in Rwanda


KIGALI, Rwanda, 2017-May-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — They came from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For the next four days, the 35 Starbucks partners from around the world will be immersed in the origin of coffee in the East African nation of Rwanda.

They are all part of a program called the Starbucks Origin Experience, which takes Starbucks partners from behind the store counters or office desks and places them among the people that grow, harvest and produce the coffee.

The annual trips to Costa Rica, Indonesia and Rwanda, three of the world’s coffee growing regions, are designed as a bridge between what Starbucks calls “the first 10 feet” – the coffee farms themselves – and the “last 10 feet,” where a customer orders and consumes a cup.

“Just as it’s important for a partner to put a lid on a cup and connect with a customer, it’s relevant to see farm workers and producers, picking (coffee), removing defects and grading, and rotating coffee during the drying process,” said Sergio Alvarez, a senior coffee specialist for Starbucks who is serving as an educator and trip leader during the Rwanda trip.

During the Origin Experience, the partners will visit farms, tour support centers where farmers learn about sustainability, help plant coffee trees and discover how the beans are processed. They will see drying tables where the coffee is dried and raked by hand by the coffee producers, and meet the people working in the fields. It’s also a chance to experience the pride and passion many people in Rwanda share about the strides they have made in recent decades.

In 1994, a 100-day Rwandan Genocide against Tutsi and moderate Hutu killed an estimated one million people, leaving the nation devastated by catastrophic loss. Since then, Rwanda has made significant strides in its social structure, technology and importantly, reconciliation among its people.

Coffee has been a part of healing, said Starbucks partner Arthur Karuletwa, director of Traceability, Global Coffee. Karuletwa, a native Rwandan, was 17 during the genocide. With many men killed, in prison or fleeing the country, much of the cash crop industry of coffee became the work of women. Coffee has helped revive devastated communities and is providing income to a once-ravaged nation.

Starbucks multimedia journalist Joshua Trujillo is traveling with the partners and will be sharing some of what they see and experience.


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SOURCE: Starbucks Corporation


Starbucks UK raised money to support Send a Cow’s projects in both Rwanda and Ethiopia

LONDON, 2016-Feb-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Aaron Swift returned from an emotional four-day journey in Rwanda with one goal in mind.

“I wanted to find a way to help Rwandan farmers and educate my peers at the same time,” said Swift, a four-year partner (employee) and shift supervisor at a Starbucks store in Manchester, England.

Swift visited Rwanda in 2014 as part of Starbucks Origin Experience, where select partners travel to coffee-growing regions to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for farmers who grow coffee. Having witnessed a cow-giving ceremony while in the city of Kigali, Swift realized providing a cow was an ideal means of giving back to the farmers.

“A cow means that farmers can invest back into their livelihood and in their community,” said Swift. “They can use milk for drinking and selling, the manure to increase the crop yield, and the animal as collateral for a loan to buy farming materials.”

700 Starbucks Stores Raise £40,000

After searching for the ideal charity to help with this endeavor, Swift and fellow partners selected Send a Cow, which works in seven African countries to provide training, tools, seeds and livestock to help those in need lift themselves out of poverty. With the organization in place, Swift invited Starbucks stores in the UK North West to accept donations for a two-week trial in 2014.

Starbucks UK raised enough money to fund the equivalent of 11 cows in the first year. Encouraged by the results, the company initiated The Big Cow Project in 2015 with more than 700 stores participating and an end result of nearly £40,000 (nearly $60,000 USD) in donations. As an added bonus, the total raised will be matched by the UK government to support Send a Cow’s projects in both Rwanda and Ethiopia.

“The Starbucks Big Cow Project was led by one young partner with the passion to make a difference,” said Rhys Iley, vice president operations, Starbucks UK. “Partners across the country have been so inspired to raise funds for farmers in Rwanda and the teams have really enjoyed getting behind this worthwhile cause.”

Overwhelmed by Generosity

“We have been inspired by the enthusiasm of Starbucks partners and their customers,” said Simon Barnes, chief executive of Send a Cow. “Thanks to their fantastic support we have been able to spread the work of Send a Cow to high streets across the UK and Ireland and use the daily Starbucks habit to save lives and ensure futures, not for one day, or even one week, but forever.”

Swift is overwhelmed by Starbucks customers’ generosity.

“It feels great to not only provide cows for Rwandan farmers, but also help so many Rwandan communities,” he said.

The campaign motivated many partners in addition to Swift, most notably Becca Turner, a store manager in London. Due to her exceptional fundraising efforts, Turner was chosen to visit Rwanda this month to witness Send a Cow in action and report back to Starbucks partners about the impact of The Big Cow Project.

“I am incredibly lucky to have the chance to see Send a Cow’s work first-hand in beautiful Rwanda,” said Turner. “This was not achieved alone. It is through my hard-working store partners that I’m able to go and experience something as incredible as this.”

Also taking Swift’s lead, a group of Starbucks partners in Germany have raised enough money to fund their first cow, and the initiative is set to go wider in Europe this year.

Next for Swift is to focus on his work as one of four coffee ambassadors in the UK. He will help coordinate education events for partners as well as the local Coffee Master Program.

“I’ve learned so much from this experience,” added Swift. “I’m sure the campaign will be a yearly tradition for some time to come.”

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom



Starbucks UK raised money to support Send a Cow’s projects in both Rwanda and Ethiopia

Starbucks UK raised money to support Send a Cow’s projects in both Rwanda and Ethiopia