Nov 10, 2022
#49: Exposing the Producer’s Gaze & the Success Paradox with Vava Angwenyi
In this episode we talk about:
* Coffee production in Kenya
* The similarities between latin and african coffee production
* How we consumers perceive coffee producers vs how coffee producers would like to be seen
* The success paradox, when too much financial success can turn off some buyers
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A bit about Vava Angwenyi...
*In 2009, Vava Angwenyi started VAVA COFFEE – a Benefit Corporation (B-corp) with a Social enterprise model that exports, roasts and consults on coffee value chains, the organization aims to contribute to better future prospects for coffee communities and the industry as a whole. The company ensures sustainable livelihoods for the people and communities in which it works.
Vava is also the co-founder and director of business development & fundraising at GENTE DEL FUTURO (People of the Future). GDF formed in 2017 is an organization born out of a partnership between African Plantations Kilimanjaro, Vava Coffee and Oro Molido three private sector players within the coffee sector to tackle two of the main problems we face as an industry - Producer profitability and Next generation involvement. Gente Del Futuro’s focus is to amplify the voices of youth by creating economic empowerment, choices and sustainability for the coffee industry. The organization offers young people a unique and one of a kind learning opportunity by fusing coffee cultures and knowledge from three different growing origins : Tanzania, Kenya and Colombia.
Vava holds a Masters degree-Msc in International Finance and Management from University of Groningen as well as Certificate in Global Asset Management from Warrington College of Business, UF and a BSC in Statistics & Actuarial Science from University of Western Ontario- Canada. Vava’s vision is to challenge the status quo and promote positive social disruption within the Coffee industry. This vision comes from an inborn passion for transformative change and a drive to promote the sustainable production of coffee at various origins by tracing the production of high quality coffee beans to the independent smallholder coffee farmer, who works day in and day out, against major obstacles and with meager resources to produce some of the world’s best tasting coffees, often without an understanding or appreciation of the final fruits of their labor.
Vava is also a Q grader and was part of the 2015 IVLP program a prestigious State Department sponsored program. Vava Coffee has also been recognized over the years for its grassroots initiatives and contribution to smallholder farming communities and Youth in agriculture. Vava served on the SCA board 2019- 2020 on the Finance and Sustainability Committees. In 2019 Vava Coffee was recognized as a Best for the world community Honoree - B Corp.
Vava recently authored the book “Coffee Milk Blood”. Coffee Milk Blood is a project and book inspired by her own experience as an African woman in the industry and the theme of the book touches on appropriate storytelling/depiction of producers - how producers want to be seen beyond the coffee and as Women , the African woman, the culture of the place as well as underpinnings of Colonialism that are the structures we still operate within in our indust