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Why volunteer groups?

Oikocredit Support Associations are collectives of volunteers whose members are engaged in promoting Oikocredit’s mission. Volunteer associations are part of a long-standing tradition in Oikocredit’s work. In addition to being active volunteers for Oikocredit, Support Associations are members of the Oikocredit International cooperative.

Oikocredit has two Support Associations based in the US – the Western Pennsylvania Support Association and the Oikocredit Northwest Support Association based in Seattle. Click on the regions to learn more about how you can get involved in your local Support Association.

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Oikocredit presents Coffee Excellence Awards

excellence.jpgJune 28 2016

On the evening of Friday 24 June, the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) held its annual Excellence Awards in Dublin, Ireland as part of the 2016 World of Coffee event. This year’s awards were sponsored by Oikocredit.

Investor relations and social performance director of Oikocredit International, Ging Ledesma, represented Oikocredit at the ceremony, handing out the five coveted industry awards.

“Oikocredit is one of the leading social investors in financing coffee,” she said. “Our sponsorship of these awards reflects our commitment to supporting and promoting sustainable practices within the coffee industry.”

The Excellence Awards were presented to members of the coffee community who have excelled in a particular area of the industry. The SCAE International Development Committee selected the five winners from 192 entries worldwide.

The five awards went to:

  • Young Entrepreneur Award: Henry Wilson, The Perfect Grind

Henry Wilson is the founder and CEO of Perfect Daily Grind.com, a digital coffee publication dedicated to increasing the awareness of specialty coffee and the work that goes into producing it.

  • Passionate Educator Award: Chiara Bergonzi, independent trainer

Chiara Bergonzi is a well-regarded independent trainer who has worked in the coffee industry for many years. Her role as trainer allows her to share her knowledge, passion and energy for coffee.

  • Innovation Award: Pete Southern, Creator of the PUSH Tamper

Pete Southern invented the PUSH Tamper, a device that helps baristas tamp better, thereby improving the quality of the beverage. Tamping is the process of compacting ground coffee before brewing.

  • Working Towards Sustainability Award: Benjamin Weiner, Gold Mountain Coffee GrowersLLC

Benjamin Weiner is the President/CEO of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers LLC, a direct-trade social enterprise which connects coffee producers in Nicaragua with US and European coffee roasters.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Edy Bieker, COO and head of the quality and training departments at Sandalj

Edy Bieker received this award in recognition of his long-standing career at Sandalj, his experience and knowledge of the trade, and his lifelong focus on the promotion of quality.

For over 40 years Oikocredit has been financing agricultural partners which provide support to smallholder farmers. By 31 December 2015, Oikocredit’s agricultural portfolio had reached € 113.3 million, with coffee as the largest commodity in terms of financing. Oikocredit not only provides loans and equity investments but also provides capacity building for its agricultural partners.

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