by Mary Linnell-Simmons, Marketing & Communications Manager
How does Fairtrade change the lives of farmers? Well, coffee farmers set up the first virtual university in Honduras using their Fairtrade Premium.
The first class at the Virtual Rural University boasts 25 students. In this co-op/university partnership, the Universidad Nacional de Honduras (UNAH) creates and manages the curriculum, while Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL) contributes the maintenance of two classrooms and the computer equipment.
In addition to the Fairtrade Premium, a Scottish coffee roaster, Matthew Algie, and a Northern Irish espresso bar, Ground, contributed funding - a great way to deepen their relationships with the farmers that grow their coffee!
Even better, the university is open to both members and non-members of the cooperative, making a real difference to the educational prospects of this rural community. The students use an online platform to follow their classes and get in touch with their lecturers, who are many miles away.
"We are proud and grateful with the Fairtrade certification as it has been largely thanks to it that we have been able to successfully complete the facilities." -Omar Rodriguez, COCAFCAL