QU Students Launch Cameroon Project

Anna Didio

In the Western Highlands of Cameroon, a unitary republic of central and western Africa, long laborious hours are spent by many workers to produce superior quality coffee. They begin by picking beans from ten-foot high trees grown in volcanic soil and then go through the process of grating, drying and finishing the product by hand. Experts note that this coffee is one of the most unique and full-bodied of its kind, and coffee lovers enjoy the earthy, spicy flavor.

“Cameroon coffee probably has the most going for it of any country in the world,” says Rob Kramer, roaster and founder of Island Coffee and one of the founders of Farmers Cooperative Initiatives

However, while the coffee is special product, the coffee farmers in Cameroon often cannot raise enough income to provide for their families. This hardship is due largely to the country’s struggles with a poor infrastructure, financial desolation, a lack of quality regulation and corrupt ruling bodies within the nation. All of these setbacks factor into the difficulty of consistently producing quality coffee and selling it in impoverished villages.

When Quinnipiac University’s chapter of Students in Free Enterprise caught wind of this story, they devised a plan that would help improve the lives of the residents of a small village in Cameroon that faces this exact problem. The chapter’s endeavor, aptly named Café Cameroon, launched on Apr. 8, 2008. In order to generate profits, Café Cameroon imports and packages coffee from Bawa, a village of about four hundred people in the western province of Cameroon, then sells it here in the United States. They then donate all of their profits to Bawa. The funds are currently going towards the construction of a much-needed health center that will provide proper medical care for the impoverished village.

This small group of students from Quinnipiac University is bringing hope not only to coffee farmers, but to all the residents of Bawa. They raised $2000 in their first month alone, and their business continues to grow. The coffee is available for purchase online at www.cafecameroon.com or from any one of the members involved.