The local youth of the town of Subirana continue to surprise the coffee sector. Operating the world’s first off-grid processing and export center, these highly trained young men and women are also setting the bar in coffee preparation and quality control. The Honduran Coffee Institute recently recognized their achievement by inviting the cooperative to prepare micro lot samples for the country’s prestigious “Cup of Excellence” competition.
In the face of tremendous adversity—fierce competition from the largest processors/exporters; insufficient credit availability to purchase coffee from its members, and having to turn away clients as a result—the cooperative has demonstrated resolve and determination in developing a highly competitive organization. You might be inclined to think, as we have, that success in the area of forest-friendly production, clean processing using renewable energy, and women’s empowerment just might result in additional resources from organizations such as the US Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank and others with programs to assist the introduction of renewable energy and rural development. So far, these organizations say they have other priorities and limited capacity to take on more projects.
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Cooperative COMISUYL members Orbeli and Cindy (shown in photo) are also administering the distance learning program of the Honduran Institute for Education through Radio (Instituto Hondureño de Educación por Radio (IHER)) for the surrounding communities. The IHER program has been providing distance learning since 1989 and its “Teacher in the House” program offers a comprehensive system of education and self-pace classes using text and accompanying radio programs for all ages.