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Gitesi Coffee Cow Program

In Rwanda, the origin of our new coffee from the Gitesi Washing Station, cows are a sign of love and unity. 

In 2016, Gitesi Coffee started an Own A Cow Project to improve the lives of Rwandan coffee farming families in Karongi District, in partnership with Tim Williams of Bureau Collective.

Apart from producing numbers of containers of top quality, traceable coffee each year, the gifting of cows to under-resourced households is a practice known as a Girinka program. In the case of these smallholder farmers, the Own a Cow Program is an invaluable resource—providing families with milk for nourishment and sale, as well as organic fertilizer for their crops. 

"When you are appreciating someone you love, you give him a cow," said Alexis Gahizi, co-owner of Gitesi Coffee. "In Rwandan tradition, cows are the most prized belongings for a family. Cows have been the symbol of wealth, social status, source of milk, covenant, meat and hides, and best gifts that one Rwandan could give to a fellow compatriot."

Gitesi distributes cows to local farmers every year to provide an alternative income stream. The first born of each cow is given to another farmer, which is a sign of love and unity among Rwandans. This enhances the unity and post-Genocide reconciliation because a survivor can give a cow to someone who killed his family as a sign of forgiveness and love.

Explore more about the beautiful coffee produced by Gitesi Coffee and our new Rwanda Gitesi Lot 51.