“You Can’t Make Coffee Without Clean Water.” That’s the slogan that headlined Coffee Week in the UK earlier this month. It’s actually a fund-raiser to support clean water projects for communities in the developing world. It’s a worthy cause. Should we be celebrating Coffee Week here, too?
Sure! I mean, availability of clean drinking water is one of the most serious problems facing developing nations these days. In fact, they’re in the middle of another killing drought in Ethiopia, the worst since the 1983-85 famine which set millions of Ethiopians in motion, migrating to neighbouring Sudan where they thought conditions would be better. Both Ethiopia and parts of Sudan have suffered droughts of lesser magnitude frequently in the intervening years. With Global Warming, droughts are only going to get more frequent and more severe in the equatorial regions.
I could have used other countries as examples, but Ethiopia is a great one, because the Coffee Week campaign is focused on helping Coffee-producing countries.
The UK effort
Coffee Week in the UK is a simple proposition: Coffee shops which agree to participate can run fundraising events or donate 5p to the relief fund from every coffee sold. 100 per cent of the funds raised goes to Project Waterfall, the group that’s doing the work. The group already has projects under way in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Many other aid organizations are running clean water projects in the developing world. One of the biggest is CARE, which has branches in many developed countries to raise funds for its development projects. CARE believes that providing clean water to communities in need is the first step in putting them on the road to self-sufficiency and, eventually, prosperity. That’s a noble sentiment, but it’s proven true time after time in developing countries when CARE works for over 40 years.
The demand for clean water assistance far outweighs the supply! Which is why we should bring programs like Coffee Week to our own communities.
I particularly like the symmetry of the concept: Clean Water makes good Coffee and Coffee can make Clean Water!
~ Maggie J.