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KC14

WS ANEI Colombia Women Weavers Fairtrade Organic

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Story

“We knit the future in community and in harmony with nature”

ANEI was founded by Aurora Izquierdo, one of the first women of her generation to leave the indigenous Arhuaco community of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in pursuit of a higher education. She returned to her community with a commitment to transform coffee cultivation into a source of value for the community and a way to share the message of the importance of respecting and protecting the Earth.

The Arhuaco call the Sierra Nevada, which they say contains every type of ecosystem, from the glacier at the top of the mountain, to tropical landscapes and deserts, the “heart of the world.” All the farming they do is informed by this idea; they would never use chemicals, for example, that could poison the beating heart. Every act is considered and intentional.

Likewise, the community considers the Earth to be female and views women as the stronger gender, with the power to implement important change. Within the coffee organization, then, gender equity has long been natural and valued.

Mujeres Tejedoras

Mujeres Tejedoras translates to women weavers. This nod to the traditional handcraft also acknowledges the way that women’s work is inextricably intertwined with the community, forming its very fabric.

In addition to the agricultural services ANEI provides to all cooperative members, the women’s program offers training workshops to motivate women, teach them food safety and bolster childcare practices. Additionally, it actively supports local traditions, including the sharing of handcrafts.

In terms of commercial support, a connection to the World Bank Productive Alliances Project — which enhances indigenous communities’ access to markets — means the women can participate in trainings to improve infrastructure and conditions for cultivation, as well as to build their business administrative and accounting skills.

Sierra Nevada the "Heart of the World"

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a mountain range in Colombia that constitutes by itself an isolated system of the Andes Mountains on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It rises steeply from the shores of the Caribbean Sea to reach snow-capped peaks at an altitude of 5,775 meters above sea level.

Its highest peak is the Gonawindua , which is also the highest mountain in Colombia, in addition, the Sierra Nevada is the highest coastal mountain system in the world and the highest in the world in the tropical zone. For this reason, it is said that in the Sierra is the best climatic summary of the world, where all the thermal floors are found from the warm beaches of the Caribbean to the glaciers that still exist in the summit.

Being a mountain of more than 5000 meters high, it has several thermal floors, from the warm dry to the one of perpetual snow. Likewise, the climate of the entire region is determined by the trade winds and the elevation with respect to sea level. This is why the temperature ranges from 30 °C in the lower part of the park to 0 °C in the highest peaks of the Sierra. UNESCO declared it a Biosphere Reserve in 1979, given the network of ecosystems that harbor countless life forms and are home to several indigenous communities.

"Our worldview as indigenous communities is to be guardians of the universe and ensure its protection."

ANEI's cosmovision

Since the beginning of the universe all beings that inhabit this planet have the mission to live in harmony, peace and balance with nature in order to achieve a general welfare.

The Arhuaco Cosmovision ANEI keeps our cultural principles, left to us by our parents Kaku Serankwa and Arwawiku from the beginning. That means to harmonize our energies with all the elements of our mother earth Seynekun, who represents the feminine, the fertility.