The Coffeelands Trust

Chapter

Polus has developed a unique partnership with the coffee industry to address victim assistance for coffee-growing communities in Colombia. Since 2008, the Polus Center has administered the Coffeelands Trust, a public-private partnership developed through a grant from PM/WRA, which engages the international coffee industry in victim assistance for coffee communities. The Coffeelands Trust has helped hundreds of coffee farmers who have been impacted by armed conflict with support from major coffee companies and the Federation Nacional De Cafeteros De Colombia (FNC).

With support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), the Polus Center and the Federation Nacional De Cafeteros De Colombia (FNC) piloted a program in 2008 to support landmine victims in remote coffee communities in the Caldas and Nariño departments, helping landmine victims in rural areas access rehabilitation services and economic support.

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A trip with the Polus Center to Caldas, Colombia, assisting victims of conflict who grow coffee in the Caldas region Photo: Stephen Petegorsky
A trip with the Polus Center to Caldas, Colombia, assisting victims of conflict who grow coffee in the Caldas region. Photo: Stephen Petegorsky

Using the FNC’s well-established infrastructure from the national to local level through their regional committees (where agronomists, also called “extensionistas,” work closely with small-hold coffee farmers), the Polus Center uses a person-centered, holistic approach to improve the standard of living for coffee farming communities.

Agronomists were trained to learn specific approaches for outreach to victims and identify their needs, and then to help farmers with fertilizers, new disease-resistant plants, physical rehabilitation, housing and loans to help farmers make it past the “thin months” and much more. Using this model, the Polus Center has provided victim assistance services in the departments of Nariño and Caldas for more than twelve years, supporting hundreds of landmine survivors and their families.

This program is funded by a generous grant from: ITF Enhancing Human Security & the Republic of Ireland

Funding for this grant has been provided by the United States Government