Eva McKinsey ’17 and Lucy Marshall ’17 have received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award for their proposal to support education through coffee development in a small Peruvian mountain town.
McKinsey, who was a political science major from Asheville, North Carolina, and Marshall, who was a history and political science major from Ithaca, New York, also worked extensively with Tessa Allen de Oliveira ’16 in developing their project. De Oliveira, who graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with a degree in English and Spanish, will be traveling with McKinsey and Marshall to Peru this summer to work on the project.
“Chaupimonte Community Mill: Supporting Education Through Coffee Development in Oxapampa” has two goals. The first is to provide immediate assistance to the local school in Oxapampa, a town of about 10,000, by installing Internet and purchasing two computers. Longer term goals include the development of a community mill to help promote economic growth and partnership between the coffee economy and the town’s education system.
“We propose to work with the immediate community to develop a mill for the coffee farmers in Oxapampa. This project will empower members of the coffee industry, promote community growth and conflict resolution, and serve as a center for sustainability education both for farmers and local youth,” McKinsey and Marshall write in their proposal.
They plan to build a roof on an existing structure at Chaupimonte Farm, a farm owned by a woman who served as Marshall’s host mother while she studied aboard in Peru. Additionally, they will construct solar drying beds and install washing wells.
“A community-based mill will allow production and processing activity to stay in the local economy and make the coffee more viable for direct trade partnerships, which will increase the value of the product and improve workers’ conditions according to direct trade standards,” they write. “In collaboration with the local school, the mill will also serve as a center for sustainability education and community building. We will hold workshops on sustainable growing practices, direct trade coffee standards, smallholder farm collectives, and workers’ rights and safety.”
Their long-term vision holds that improvements to the coffee operation will not only strengthen community relations but also provide a steadier and flourishing source of economic opportunity that will allow money to be reinvested in the community.