One challenge in West Nile is that many coffee farmers can’t afford school for their children, or do not value education as they are often illiterate themselves. This is a problem since certification to international standards requires all children of school-age to be in school. Kyagalanyi worked with certification organisation Rainforest Alliance/UTZ and other partners to develop strategies to fight child labour including a change in monitoring child labour from zero-tolerance to an ‘assess and address’ approach, focused on prevention, engagement and improvement and going further than simple prohibition in its ability to drive long-lasting change. All our West Nile scheme farmers are UTZ-certified.
In May 2018, Rainforest Alliance recognised Kyagalanyi’s commitment to sustainable development – and particularly its efforts to fight child labour – with a Sustainable Standard-Setter award. Kyagalanyi is the first coffee company in Africa to receive this prestigious award.
Emmanuel was invited to talk about this work at the conference as the Dutch government funds both the existing West Nile project and a new project to promote child education in the Rwenzori and Masaka regions of Uganda.
Emmanuel said, “I was honoured to be invited, and to be given the chance to talk about our projects at this important event. I screened the documentary film we made on West Nile Child Labour and talked about the child labour situation in Uganda, including why children are out of school and the monitoring systems and remediation strategies we use to address the problem.
“The audience asked me to explain the causes of child labour in different regions in Uganda, how we have been able to work in a coalition to address the problem, who owns the data used, the project’s sustainability, the business case and the motivational factor for Kyagalanyi.”
After the conference, and hearing he was in the city, Volcafe’s contacts at JDE invited Emmanuel to speak to their staff about efforts to promote child education. JDE is a key partner on the new child education project. Their sustainability manager Nadia Hoarau-Mwaura, said that Emmanuel “touched their hearts” and promised to give full support to Kyagalanyi to fight child labour in their supply chains.
In the afternoon, Emmanuel visited Rainforest Alliance/UTZ, where he shared his experiences managing an UTZ scheme in Uganda. “I was delighted when UTZ changed the control point for child labour from zero tolerance to continuous improvement because that means I am able to work with households with child labour to eradicate it.” He told the group.
Alistair Sequeira, our General Manager in Uganda, commented “We were very proud that Emmanuel was invited to this prestigious event, and that he was able to showcase the work we are doing. It’s clear that his presentations were received seriously and positively by experts. This reflects well on our coffee business where we want to help our farmers do right in so many ways, not just for short term profit but for the better of the coffee business and for society.”