SIFE raises $7.5k for Cameroon village

By on December 9, 2009

The secret’s in the beans.

By simply selling coffee, some Quinnipiac students have raised $7,500 this year for a poor village in Africa.

Café Cameroon President Jonathan Branch said that the village, Bawa, Cameroon, is six miles from the nearest medical center, and the 300 villagers have to make the trip there by foot.

“The average life expectancy there is only 22-23 years old,” Branch said. “And it doesn’t get enough coverage here.”

Café Cameroon, which is a project of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), purchases a crop of coffee, sells it at inexpensive prices to Bawa farmers, and then pays them for their harvest. All profits from the coffee sales go to funding a health center for the village. This year, $6,000 went to farmers, and $1,500 to the health center.

Overall, $5,000 has been sent to fund the health center. The money was used to build the foundation.

Café Cameroon raised $1,500 on Parents’ Weekend alone this semester.

There were rumors that a shipment of coffee had been lost or was somehow unaccounted for, but Branch said this was untrue. They simply switched from shipping by plane to by sea, resulting in significant delays, but cutting their costs by 60 percent.

They were also part of a nationwide SIFE campaign that saw the group featured in Forbes, Fortune and USA Today, as well as becoming a case study in a management textbook published by New York University’s School of Business.

Café Cameroon is located in six states, with two franchises and five retail locations. All of their profits are donated to the Bawa Health Initiative, which is run by Quinnipiac University Biology Professor Dennis Richardson and Bawa native Dr. Blaise Donji.

Branch said that anyone looking to get involved could either e-mail SIFE President Dan Dempsey or visit www.cafecameroon.com.

“I don’t think enough people realize what it’s like over there,” Branch said. “And just by drinking your morning cup of coffee, you can help an entire village, and the surrounding area.”

Comments

About Matt Ciepielowski