Our Approach

Hands-on experiences for convincing solutions


Achieving change is a complex and lengthy process. It is based on two concepts: the change of mind-set and knowledge of people, and the change of framework conditions in which they act. We think of ourselves as drivers of change, addressing both concepts in our work as developers but equally as implementers of project interventions. Next to this, we contribute to the work of third party implementers as multipliers and change agents in coffee and cocoa producing countries as well as in projects in Northern Germany.

Our approach builds on the ownership of the people concerned. It builds on promoting entrepreneurship. We believe in empowerment as key to success, and encourage effective self-help. We establish partnerships at a level playing field and strive for long-term solutions.

At the level of smallholder farmers that we work with, we developed participatory methods for supporting them in the assessment of their situation, for understanding risks and opportunities and for developing visions for improvement. This inclusion of the farmers is a crucial element in our approach, as sustainable and long-term development can only happen when driven by the individuals themselves. The trainings we provide are thus embedded into development pathways.

“Step by step, we keep moving forward. When people ask me why the microcredit fund is so important, I say: It gave me the tools that have permitted my family to take our coffee production to the next level.“  Dona Maria Dora Bravo, a coffee farmer from Colombia

We systematically assess experiences and share learnings with both, the farming community and our project partners. This provides the basis for boosting impact and supporting efficient scaling within and beyond project regions.  

We follow a similar approach in our projects in Northern Germany, where we thoroughly assess the experience and commitment of parties and partners we support. We engage in joint learnings eager to continuously improve on performance and its impact.

Our approach, our mission, our promise:

  • Support smallholder farmers on their path to becoming economically self-sufficient and enabling them to become strong and competitive business people in coffee and cocoa by strengthening their entrepreneurial skills and organizations
  • Initiate, implement and scale-up best practice projects in tropical agricultural communities worldwide
  • Contribute to the protection of natural resources and address the challenges associated with climate change and protecting biodiversity
  • Contribute to the establishment of improved economic, environmental and social conditions on both a national and international level
  • Be a sector-wide and inclusive initiative, emphasizing joint learning and collaboration with all parties involved


We are in this for the long haul.

Even with ongoing urbanization worldwide, smallholder agriculture will play a key role in the economies of developing countries for at least another 20 years. For most low-wealth households, including in the coffee sector, any improvement in income will depend on generating more and better jobs in rural areas through long-term, creative solutions and improved farming techniques. Within the coming decades, small-farm economies will be transformed. The pathways of transformation will differ by region and will take decades. The success of these transformations will depend on how well farmers are able to mitigate challenges, such as variable climate, fluctuating world market prices, and their limited bargaining power. We are committed to providing the needed support in the change processes.



» Find out more about our partnerships
» Find out how we measure progress at our impact page