Speaking with coffee producers and workers during our visits to Nicaragua in 2019 and 2020 we discovered that one of the largest challenges for women and families working on coffee farms was that of childcare during the coffee harvest. Many pickers who travel to coffee growing areas for work during harvest are left with no choice but to take their children with them, and often a lack of childcare facilities or strict anti-child labour policies create barriers to employment.
Coffee picking communities are some of the poorest communities in Nicaragua and often have the added burden of childcare during harvest season as schools are closed in-between terms. Historically child labour has been a problem within agricultural work in Nicaragua, and there are now extensive much-needed policies at government and farm level to eradicate this. However, as workers are often left with no other option but to travel with their children, due to policy restrictions and without access to childcare facilities many are unable to work on coffee farms, which can lead to unemployment and exacerbate underdevelopment in coffee picking communities.
In partnership with Sajonia Estate Coffee we are identifying specific areas within the Matagalpa coffee growing community that have an immediate need for an out-of-term school and nursery. Our aim is to build a coffee camp project that can support coffee workers during harvest by offering free childcare, creating a safe, fun, and stimulating space for pickers to leave their children while they work in the field. This will create more freedom for workers to access employment, without the barriers or burden of childcare during their working day, and increase access to education, community, and development for the future of coffee growing communities in Nicaragua.