In addition to its excellent product, Dukunde Kawa is a well-run organization led by a democratically elected president, administrative board, management team, and general assembly. This group has steadily improved the organization’s agronomic and processing practices, as well as focused on social projects. As a result, Dukunde Kawa today produces extraordinary lots and institutes high-quality environmental and social programs. In 2012 the co-op won the prestigious Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America for its efforts in realizing the benefits of shade-grown coffee and restorative replanting.
Dukunde Kawa’s member base has grown substantially since its 2003 formation, expanding from 300 coffee growers to more than 2,000. In the same period the co-op became Fair Trade certified, using the premiums its coffee commands to invest in its farmers, the cooperative, and the community. Eighty percent of Dukunde Kawa’s members are women; they market their coffee separately as women-grown coffee, garnering earnings that go toward child education and improvements that directly affect the lives of community members. The women have also established a sewing association and have implemented a program to produce and export traditional Rwandan baskets, broadening the co-op’s trade skills.