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Sweet Berry Project Update

We started the Sweet Berry Project back in 2021 as a means of giving back to the communities from which we buy coffee. The aim of the project is to use part of the premium to fund clean water initiatives in Ethiopia. According to WaterAid, almost four in ten of the country’s 99 million don’t have clean water [WaterAid]. Lack of this, alongside poor sanitation can lead to a whole host of preventable diseases. It is estimated that up to 80% of infectious disease cases in Ethiopia, and up to 15% of child deaths are caused by this [UNICEF].

This year, we are happy to partner with local Ethiopian coffee exporter, BNT, to provide clean water to Idido Village in Yirgacheffe region. The Village itself sits at the top of the hill, with most villages living alongside the road on the ridge. At the end of 2023 we visited Idido village to see how we could use this project to help them. After touring their washing station and sitting in on a town hall session, we tried to visit some contributing farms but our 4×4 got stuck in the mud before we could get that far. A stark reminder of some of the issues these villagers face daily.

A clean groundwater source exists in the washing station at the bottom of the hill, but this is both hard to access and not always available. While villagers can access free clean water during washing station hours, the shed housing the groundwater pump is closed after hours. Even after retrieving the water, they must battle a steep uphill trek back to the village, which can be difficult especially when carrying a heavy vessel of water. Because of this, many villagers resort to collecting rainwater from their roof, or from the river that runs through Yirgacheffe and many other towns.

The groundwater pump at the bottom of the hill

In February 2024, with the help of BNT and the premium we paid for these coffees, a pump was installed from the groundwater source at the foot of the hill up to the village square. We have raised a total of $8201.11 so far, all of which has gone towards the $19,491.21 installation. Now, all the villagers have 24/7 access to clean drinking water in the heart of the village, a short flat walk from most of their homes.

Part of the walk back to the village

While the construction of the pump has been completed; there are still running costs, maintenance and improvements that can be made. We hope by running this project that we will be able to give back to the community which grows the coffee. Thank you to all the roasters who have helped make this possible and a shoutout to BNT for partnering with us on the ground to see this project through! You can support this project through the purchase of the Sweet Berry coffee featured below.

The village town hall

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