After a successful day at the Qottaa School, we are heading to Bufeta Gibe, a village close to Limmu, to implement the 2nd social project (i.e. the Energy Break for kids). 

So now that you know everything about Direct Coffee and the mission in Ethiopia (if not, you can get more infos in this previous post), we can get to the heart of the matter without digression.

During coffee harvest time, which last for about a month in Ethiopia (mid-nov to mid-dec), the farmers’ kids at the coffee cooperative often don’t come to school  – even though it’s a fair trade cooperative and child labor is forbidden. Direct Coffee doesn’t want to accept this negative effect of its coffee and therefore launched the SCHOOL MEAL PROJECT to nudge them to school. Last year it was a success and absenteeism dropped sharply. That’s one of the reasons why they call their approach FAIRTRADE 2.0. 

It’s important to say that there is a difference between child labor and family labor. Farmers’ kids help their parents during harvest time all over the world – if it’s an apple farmer in Switzerland or a coffee farmer in Ethiopia. The difference in this case is: The Swiss kid will definitely go to school! That’s what Direct Coffee wants to achieve for the Ethiopian children as well. So during a month, Direct Coffee will distribute a tasty energy breaks – consisting of bread and honey – as an incentive for the children to back to school.

Preparing the bread and honey that will be distributed among the kids during their morning/afternoon break

By the way, I just want to emphasize that all these projects have been proven to work efficiently by the action poverty lab at the MIT. In this case, an experiment made in Kenya by the Harvard economist Michael Kremer and WorldBank economist Cristel Vermeersch showed that school participation raised by 30% in the schools that received subsidized meals compared to the other schools.

Last year experiment that Direct Coffee conducted in a different Ethiopian school helped reducing the drop-out rate by 5 times!!!

So here we are again! Direct coffee will re-produce this social project and offer 1000 bread and roughly 10kgs of honey per day during harvest time! While it might sound like a frugal collation for our Western standards, this will impact greatly the school life of 1000 students!

Arriving at the school, ready and pumped up for the day.

Here after is the story (click to enlarge).