Pay it Forward

By: Susan Heller Evenson

It’s difficult to really encapsulate the dynamic, creative, altruistic power house that is Richard Kaderi. Richard grew up in exile, sent abroad to avoid the civil conflicts (including genocide) which have existed between Tutsi and Hutus in the years since independence. Having traveled the world and worked in many different industries, from textiles to oil, Richard decided to come home and to apply himself to the upliftment of his people through two primary activities: sanitation and increased incomes.

For the first activity, I’ve been instructed not to go into too much detail, but if you ever want to lean about composting toilets and the incredible impact they have on sanitation in the developing world, give us a call.

For the second activity, Richard built the Kavungangoma (“the sound of the drums”) Washing station near his home village of Mwakiro in 2008, which serves coffee farmers from 18 different collines (hills) surrounding the washing station. Kavugangoma WS, with 16 fermentation tanks, 4 soaking tanks, 200 drying tables, and a warehouse that can hold more than 100 tons of parchment, is also a model of sustainability and innovation. It includes a pit for waste-water treatment, solar energy for powering lights, sand pipes for easy access to obtain drinking water, many fruit and agroforestry trees on the property to prevent soil erosion, and ecological ‘dry’ latrines which are suitable for areas with little or no running water.

To supply the washing station, Richard organized the farmers from the area into a coffee-growers association named APROCAME, “Association for the Promotion of the Model Coffee Producers and their Environment”. Richard runs a small demonstration plot next to the washing station to encourage best practices and gives away his high-quality compost to the farmers delivering coffee. He’s also invested his time and money into several local projects including an elementary school, a town park and meeting center with public toilets, a beekeeping project, and infrastructure improvements,.

In 2012 Kavugangoma WS was acknowledged for its effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  In 2015 they received a National Award in the Cup of Excellence Competition.  And, in 2017, Richard decided to rent (free of charge for the first 3 years)  the washing station to former employees, who had formed COPROCAME Cooperative, provided they followed the same, high-quality cherry processing procedures as they had in the past. The group is not only producing high-quality, fully washed coffee, but has also started processing small amounts of honey and natural process as they continue to seek innovation.

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