Educating Young People in Honduras with Matthew Algie and COCAFCAL

Some of the most rewarding work we do at Matthew Algie is support our Fairtrade producers to improve education for young people. It makes sense – these young minds are the future of the local communities and coffee industry. We want to support families to give them a better quality of life.


COCAFCAL and Fairtrade

We source coffee from three Fairtrade cooperatives in Honduras. One of these is COCAFCAL, who we have been sourcing coffee from since 2001. It was founded by Omar Rodriguez Interiano in 1999. His family had owned the farmland for over 100 years and have been producing tobacco as well as coffee. As Rodriguez became more experienced working in coffee production, he decided to share his knowledge with other local coffee growers and so the coop was born.

COCAFCAL became Fairtrade certified in 2009 because they recognised the value it could add to the lives of small-scale producers.

The cooperative has invested their Fairtrade Premium in many projects over the years – from a local health centre, to building and repairing local housing to updating coffee processing machinery. One theme that COCAFCAL has been proactive in addressing is educating members’ children.


Educational initiatives for young people

In order to promote education, the organisation has used the Premium to fund scholarships for members’ children pursuing higher education and has helped build a sports field for a local education centre.

COCAFCAL has invested funds from the Fairtrade Premium in the development of a virtual library for students in the community.

The virtual library was a considerable project which required further investment from other partners. We were delighted that our customer, Ground Espresso Bars, were keen to contribute towards its development.

We travelled to Capucas with Ground for the inauguration ceremony, which was a fantastic celebration of the partnership. The computer centre is equipped with 30 new computers which are used for IT classes for local school children, something we take for granted but is still relatively unique in Honduras. Furthermore, the centre’s partnership with the University of Honduras means that young people in this rural community can now undertake distance learning higher education courses for the first time.

Omar Rodriguez says “Young people here don’t have access to university and so this is a big step for them, an improvement for the community, and this is the first rural university in Honduras. Also the courses are focused on careers that are involved in coffee, like technical skills to administrate the coffee business. So, this is really nice and very effective. Our members were very impressed with how the industry was worried about how to educate our people. Now we have 30 students that are learning different things and we’re very happy that this project is completed – thank you for helping us!”

Omar Rodriguez


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