Alivera Kiiza will make a presentation on her work and life as the first woman manager of the fair-trade coffee cooperative in Karagwe in Northwest Tanzania on Wednesday, March 15 at 12.30 p.m. at the Westport Leisure Park. Alivera joined Bob Geldof at the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight in Dublin and the organisers of the Castlebar Westport Fairtrade Fortnight are delighted to have her make room in her schedule to come to Westport.
Her talk is the highlight of activities to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from March 6th to 19th, in Westport and Castlebar. Both towns are working to achieve Fairtrade Town Status. Alivera will also take time to look at the Fairtrade projects completed by Westport’s primary school children for Fairtrade Fortnight. The projects will be displayed at Westport library.
Last July the 29 year old attended the G8 summit in Scotland. She was one of eight African women (the W8) who went to Edinburgh to tell their stories to the G8 leaders about challenging poverty in their own countries.
Alivera started working as an office assistant in the marketing department of Karagwe District Cooperative Union Ltd (KDCU) in 2000. She quickly moved on to become manager. The Cooperative has 16,000 members, 5,000 of which are women. One of Alivera’s first achievements as manager was to get the coffee cooperative to allow women farmers to own coffee trees so they could become full members of the coffee coop – in many countries coffee is seen as a man’s crop.
"A significant effect of Fairtrade is that is allows KDCU to regularly bid for its own coffee and sell through Fairtrade. Fairtrade provides a reliable income (Premium) for a small proportion of the coffee sold by KDCU each year. This is because the Fairtrade system guarantees a minimum price for coffee," she explained.
The Premium from Fairtrade is used to run the local secondary school and to conduct workshops on strengthening the organisation, in particular strengthening the role of women in the co-operative. Alivera lives with her husband Edgar and their four year old son in a rented house near their cooperative in Tanzania.
The organisers are extending a warm welcome to all who would like to learn more about Alivera’s work and about the Fairtrade programme.