Located in Mushubati Sector, Rutsiro District, in the Western Province on the Congo Nile Crest. Rutsiro features many tourism attractions on the shores of Lake Kivu. KOPAKAMA CWS processes coffee from trees grown on steep hills at high altitudes by cooperative members and neighbors. With KOPAKAMA cooperatives, the members can benefit from getting jobs at the CWS in addition to supplying cherries. KOPAKAMA exports its coffee through Misozi, a co-operative owned Rwandan export union.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide left thousands of widows and orphans to provide for their families. In 2008, a group of 180 women from the KOPAKAMA Co-operative came together to form a Women’s Group. The focal point of the group was to share in the challenge of rehabilitating coffee fields in order to earn a better living in the absence of their husbands. The women raise funds through their coffee sales to plant a collective coffee field called Ejo Heza, or A Beautiful Tomorrow. The money has also been invested in water access for the community and has been used to help poor members buy cows. The co-op has 247 women members who contribute through their individual and collective farms.
Today, Kopakama has over 600 members, expertly growing and processing their coffee using two washing stations, one full-scale and one micro, and employing the skills of a trained coffee cupper. Typical plot sizes are 0.5 to 2 hectares. Kopakama’s farmers are committed to improving their local communities. So far, they have brought in gravity-fed water to serve the community and used the Fair Trade premium to access electricity. They have also bought the co-operative’s Conference Hall. Their vision is to move together towards a more stable price and market for their coffee.