Sara Nuru is known in Germany for winning Germany’s Next Topmodel in 2009, making her the first black woman ever to win the casting show. Together with her sister Sali she decided to found a social coffee company in 2016. Since then, they have achieved remarkable things and changed the image of Ethiopia for many Germans.
Their love for coffee and their home country moved them towards the decision. Coffee and the meaning it has in Ethiopia made the business sector an easy find. Like for many Ethiopians coffee is celebrated and ritualized in their family. Coffee beans are roasted over an open fire, grinded by hand and then brewed in a jebena three times. This brings out a very special taste and the coffee is enjoyed with friends and family.
Through their business they wanted to achieve positive effects for everyone and move away from the standard donation system. Sustainability means that every part of the supply chain is taken care of. This means ecological and economical sustainability, social fairness, decent working conditions, less poverty, an especially the empowerment of woman in Ethiopia. The aims they pursue are inspired and adapted from the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Fair coffee is often more expensive than standard coffee, but for a good reason. Coffee imported under fair condition is bought from cooperatives which unite several coffee farmers allowing them to get better rates for their produce. The Farmers benefit as well, they receive a fair income and improve their livelihood. Normal coffee is usually bought from individual farmers who have less to no power when it comes to pricing their produce.
This is only a part of what nuruCoffee does, they donate 50 percent of their earnings or at least 1€ per kilogram sold to nuruWomen, their own project to empower women in Ethiopia. They donate money into troubled regions of the country, finance projects improving the healthcare situation as well as projects making women financially less dependent.
One part of nuruWomen is to give out microloans so that women can start their own business and join a fair coffee cooperative. This does not only create a benefit for the recipient but enables a future generation to build on that, by being able to afford education and healthcare. A microloan does not simply mean handing put money and wanting it back at a certain point in time.
At the beginning there are trainings for the participants, which then form smaller groups of up to ten women. One hundred of these groups make up a saving and credit cooperative which have democratic elections for important offices. The democratically elected leaders then hand out microloans and receive them back with a little interest, allowing them to hand out bigger loans in the future. This allows the savings and credit cooperatives to grow continuously.
Not only is a purchase of nuruCoffee good for every part of the supply chain, but you get good coffee as well!