These women are carrying out the meticulous process of hand-sorting the washed coffee beans - the final step in the coffee cleaning and sorting process - before they are graded.
Olam employs 800 women work in the coffee sorting facility in the Isale region of the Democratic Republic of Congo Their working conditions have improved significantly over the last 4 years since Virunga Coffee (an Olam subsidiary) focused on employing vulnerable women, with no income or land to farm, from the nearby villages.
“In the beginning we were not too excited by the new tables and stools. We have been sorting coffee the traditional way by sitting on the floor. Honestly, the new furniture makes our jobs easier and very comfortable. I don’t have to worry about getting up to stretch my legs often or back pains”. Marianne, Coffee Sorter, Butembo.
Providing the women with everything from daily free lunches, more comfortable work stations and better lighting, to a radio to listen to, is helping to uplift what could typically be characterised as a particularly mundane and painstaking job.