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Kinini Project Update 2022

Kinini began life as the charity, ‘A New Beginning’, in 2008. Working in the Rulindo District of Rwanda, the charity helps Rwandan citizens displaced during the 1994 genocide. During its infancy, the charity built a school and health post to provide access to education and healthcare for the community.

In March 2012, Jacqueline and Malcolm established R&B Import Export Ltd to provide a sustainable revenue stream for A New Beginning. They decided that coffee farming was the perfect vehicle to achieve this change. This was established through:

  • Collaboration with the Rulindo District Government
  • Construction of the Kinini Washing Station to offer local processing solutions.
  • Allocation of 252 hectares of smallholder plots, guaranteed to local farmers for 30+ years.
  • Investment and distribution of 500,000 coffee seedlings.
  • Development of local infrastructure to support with quality, finance and growth.

Over a decade on, the Kinini project and A New Beginning are flourishing. Kinini has developed a global reputation for the speciality coffees they produce and have become synonymous with positive impact in Rwanda. We caught up with Jacquie to delve a little deeper into the recent developments:

Jacqueline Turner

Sustainability

Kinini associated producers have taken a keen interest in organic coffee production in recent years. To help with this development, DRWakefield introduced the senior management team to one of our key suppliers in Honduras. Cocafelol have a long history of producing exceptional organic coffees. This knowledge exchange resulted in the implementation of a worm composting project. Organic fertiliser from the worm farms is used in place of traditional fertilisers to improve soil health and control disease. This is supplemented by the distribution of goats across the community, providing access to organic manure. These steps have enabled farmers to reduce costs and install cyclical and sustainable farming methods. Jacquie emphasises the importance of this change due to the limited support offered by NAEB (National Agricultural Export Development Board).

Kinini Washing Station

New water treatment facilities at the washing station prevent pollution into local water sources. Kinini has also started to harvest spring water for processing and rainwater for fermentation. This has had a positive effect on quality whilst also reducing reliance on alternative water sources. On the hardware side, Kinini Washing Station is awaiting planning consent to build staff accommodation and a warehouse for a new hulling machine. It also distributed over 100,000 seedlings in 2022 with plans to replicate this number in 2023.

KCRS Coop

There are now 6 female cooperatives and 3 mixed cooperatives that contribute to Kinini Washing Station. Jacquie places particular emphasis on supporting women in the community. She is a key member of the International Women’s Coffee Association (IWCA).

In her words “My coffee journey started in 2012 after completing the first phase of the community centre and Health post. I realised that there was a need to support vulnerable women as well as widows and orphans. After meeting with these women, I found that their husbands were often not supportive. This made my goal easier. I wanted to empower women to become self-sustainable using coffee farming. Especially as women are more productive in everything they do. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome but as time went on, the projects started to come together. The best route was to form female-only cooperatives and help each producer open private bank accounts and access financing. It didn’t take long before their husbands noticed the difference at home.”

DRWakefield has been buying from the KCRS Cooperative, made up of 180 female producers from 6 different sectors, for 3 years. It is one of the most popular and tasty coffees on our menu.

Cocatu Coop

The Cocatu washing station was founded in 2007 by 20 producers in a neighbouring district. At its peak, it grew to incorporate 6,000 smallholders. However, the global financial crisis caused considerable difficulties that saw the group shrink. In 2017, representatives from Cocatu asked Jacquie for help due to the positive reputation Kinini had developed. Now comprised of 260 smallholders, the coop deliver cherries to the Kinini washing station due to its increased efficiency. Kinini also help with financial advice. In collaboration with Rulindo District officials, experienced producers offer their savings as profitable loans to neighbouring farms- a system they call “A Cocatu Microfinance”. This has helped the coop to expand; over 30,000 new coffee seedlings were planted in 2022. Most of the smallholder plots are in the high mountains of Tumba.

A New Beginning

In 2022, over 300 children between the ages of 4 and 11 attended the school in Kinini. The charity funded books and teaching aids in 2022 and hope to continue this support throughout 2023. The year also saw the sponsorship of 5 top performing pupils into senior schooling and university. At the health post, a new toilet project is close to completion. The site has been particularly busy in recent times due to Covid and increased Malaria infections. Moving forwards, Jacquie has plans to build a cancer treatment and maternity centre on site. However, this project will require a substantial donation to get underway.

As you can tell, DRWakefield are huge fans of the work that Jacquie and Malcolm do. Year on year, the development projects continue to grow, and quality continues to improve. We will be visiting Rwanda in the Summer of 2023 to see the work first hand. If you are interested in joining, feel free to reach out to the trade team.