Social Justice

Kenco – Coffee vs. Gangs

One of the most exciting trends in recent years has been the rise of philanthropic capitalism – the means by which people can change the world with their everyday consumer decisions. – Whether it is by brushing their teeth or sipping their morning coffee, consumers are increasingly being given the opportunity to turn their everyday habits into something more.

We have already written about how your choice of takeaway coffee can help London’s homeless population, and those who make their coffee at home need not miss out. Kenco – a huge name in coffee beans – has become one of the first major coffee brands to instigate a long-term philanthropy programme – Coffee vs. Gangs.

The homicide rate in Honduras is the highest in the world, with one person murdered almost every hour. Facing crippling poverty and families to take care of, young people are often drawn into dangerous and violent gangs, where they are trained as hit-men, smugglers and thieves. With gangs holding more economic and social power than any other group – including the police – young people are often left with no choice but to join in order to earn money and care for their families.

The Coffee vs. Gangs programme aspires to safeguard young people from being recruited into gangs, and instead train them to become independent coffee farmers. Aside from the technical training, each coffee farmer is also taught the vital skills required to build their own coffee-growing business upon completion of the programme – enabling them to earn a safe and self-sufficient living going into adulthood.

Kenny - 2017 Coffee vs Gangs participant
Kenny – Coffee vs Gangs 2017 Participant

The programme has run since 2014, and has given dozens of young people the opportunity to carve a new path for their futures. Kenny, one participant on the 2017 programme, has used his newly acquired skills to help support his family after the murder of his brother. Larissa – a stay-at-home mother who was robbed by gang members, has joined the programme to improve conditions for her son. Students from previous years are now working on building their own coffee businesses – with critical funding from Kenco helping them to get started.

Larissa – Coffee vs Gangs 2017 Participant

With such a huge influence on the Honduras, the threat of gangs once seemed an insurmountable force to challenge. However, with every purchase of Kenco coffee beans, you are helping to fund a wave of change in the nation – and helping to support countless young lives.