For Justina and her husband, coffee has become a source of empowerment and growth for their family and their community. Her husband MacDonald grew a variety of crops before deciding to shift his focus to coffee, now one of the biggest agricultural exports in Malawi. After years of travelling to a distant factory to get his coffee beans processed, he and other farmers decided to join a cooperative in their community that’s supported by the European Union. Membership gave them access to a processing machine that increased their production, and the community worked to raise funds to build a processing plant.
As the cooperative expanded with increased demand, Justina was able to join the business, first by helping her husband and later by managing her own farm. Her success has increased her confidence in contributing to household decision making, and the family’s combined income has allowed them to purchase a cow and solar panels to power their home.
Justina’s story speaks to the changing status of women in her community, who have found their voices in helping to make budget and development decisions. Women now make up 44% of the Mzuzu Coffee Co-operative, and Justina and her husband hope to pass their entrepreneurial spirit on to their children, including their daughters.
Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Malawi