April 13-19, 2015: Nicaragua

The first internal capacity building exchange of CAN’s network this year took place the week of April 13-19, 2015.  More than 25 women and youth leaders from CAN’s partner organizations VIDA AC in Veracruz, Mexico, PRODECOOP and CII-ASDENIC in Las Segovias, Nicaragua, and the UCA San Ramón in San Ramón, Nicaragua joined together for 7 days of exchange and training around building sustainable food systems in coffee-growing communities. The exchange, which included activities in both San Ramón and Las Segovias, Nicaragua, built on the themes covered during the Intercambio event held in Santa Cruz, California in February 2015. The exchange included workshops and activities related to the topics of:

  • building artisanal water cisterns for water catchment and storage;
  • making organic fertilizers like effective microorganisms, biomineral applications, and other soil fertility preparations to help combat la roya agroecologically;
  • women-led rural enterprises, including the experience of the women’s coffee-roasting business and women’s café in San Ramon;
  • crop diversification in coffee forests;
  • natural medicine using garden plants; and
  • community-based rural tourism experiences.

Important outcomes of the exchange included 12 cooperative youth leaders trained in the construction of artisanal water cisterns; more than 20 women trained in making natural medicines from plants found in home gardens; increased knowledge of the potentials of community-based rural tourism, coffee-forest diversification, and innovative soil fertility techniques in building resilient families and communities.

An early outcome of this exchange was the drafting of a resolution consolidating the group’s commitment to agroecological coffee as a sustainable food system, with the following collective objectives identified:

  1. Initiate a dialogue about the definition of Agroecological Coffee;
  2. Receive feedback and support from CAN to generate a collective identity regarding an Agroecological Coffee Farmer;
  3. Analyze the importance of an Participatory Agroecological Certification as a strategy to strengthen the organizations and communities we work with; and
  4. Analyze the idea of creating a collective brand of women’s coffee to promote the economic empowerment of women.

Our partners have specifically requested CAN’s accompaniment in reaching these objectives. CAN is excited to support the furthering of these objectives that will benefit thousands of smallholder coffee growing families in Nicaragua and Mexico.