Update: Thank you to everybody that donated! Though this campaign has closed, we continue to build climate-event resilience and economic freedom for coffee producers through our work at Muraho and Raw Material. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.
WATCH: Rebuilding the houses that were destroyed (phase 2):
WATCH: Delivering emergency supplies (phase 1):
CLICK "READ MORE" just slightly down and to the left to see how your donation will help to rebuild these communities and lives.
“These floods and mudslides were the worst catastrophic event in our lifetimes. 28 people lost their lives. Almost everyone is affected; houses, roads, bridges, crops, and animals were all impacted.”
- Evariste Hagumimana, manager of Shyira coffee washing station
Communities have lost loved ones, and their livelihoods.
The physical losses from these recent mudslides and flooding include
- At least 325 homes (including 38 homes of Shyira and Vunga coffee families) with many more farmers displaced
- Farmers' coffee trees, livestock, and other crops
- Community infrastructure, including 36 classrooms, 12 community churches, 10 administrative posts, a healthcare centre and the Vunga market
- Electrical infrastructure and critical water supply infrastructure
The destroyed crops and livestock were truly essential to daily life. In this region:
- Farming families rely on coffee for 65% of their income.
- Families typically own 0.4 Ha & produce about 1200-1400kg of coffee cherries per annum.
- Most household incomes are less than USD$700/annum.
This is on top of the impacts of COVID-19 that were already reducing incomes this season.
While the government is working to the best of its capability to respond in the current economic environment, additional support for farmers is critically needed.
Left to Right: Nzabonimpa Theophille, Uwimana Daphrose (president of Vunga cooperative), and Nturanyenabo Celestin at the Vunga Coffee Washing Station (2018)
Please consider giving
We are painfully aware that this is a difficult time for many of you reading this. That said, is there an amount you could give that wouldn’t cause you any significant stress?
If you work in a cafe or roastery, is there a way that you could raise funds alongside your customers or team?
If you have access to other funding channels please reach out directly through the contact link below.
What exactly are we funding?
Major infrastructure is being rebuilt by the government. Our support is needed on a more personal level. The complete plan with much more detail is live on the Google Sheet here .
Phase 1: Meet immediate needs
Final cost: AUD $35,467
- Support removal of debris and isolate risks of further landslides
- Deliver food and potable water
- Provide clothing, blankets and basic hygiene products for those in need
Phase 2: Support recovery
Cost estimate: AUD $168,000
Status: Fundraising currently
- Rebuild houses (e.g., roofing sheets, concrete, reinforcing steel)
- Replant crops (e.g., coffee seedlings, fertilizer, preparing the land)
- Replace livestock and related infrastructure (e.g., fencing, sheds)
- Provide food and income support while livelihoods recover
Phase 3: Build resilience.
Cost estimate: AUD $254,500
Status: Initial quotes received. Engaging with agronomists and landslide experts to improve the plan.
- Upgrade housing to improve health and safety (e.g., sealed floors - dirt floors are the norm and our baseline for phase 2, gas cooking stoves - eliminate smoke and related illness, solar power, etc)
- Invest in certified seeds, plants, inputs needed to improve resilience to landslides (e.g., reforestation)
- Provide training on practices to improve land management (e.g., terracing, drainage)
- Support to help restore community emotional wellbeing through social events
From left to right; Ayingeneye Marceline, Usaniwabo Christine, Usabimana Evariste, Kamariza Jacqueline, Nakure Josiane, and Nyirasugira Beatrice at the Shyira Coffee Washing Station (2017)
Please give what you can comfortably afford to, and please share this message directly with people you know who could help.
Together we can not only help the families of Nyabihu right now, but we can mitigate the cycle of these disasters going forward.
"Thank you for showing us that we are not alone"
- Mbarushima Alphonse
Let’s do this.
Further details for deep-divers including
Who we are
Investments will be prioritised based on the level of funding we can achieve and community-identified needs. All planning, management, and work is being carried out with local community members at all stages. You can watch the developments you fund, details, faces, and any changes through the google sheet linked above and social media (@murahotradingco & @rawmaterial.coffee)
Raw Material is a social enterprise focused on impact for coffee farming communities worldwide. 100% of the profit they generate goes to producers, directly through payments for coffee and through community-level investments. Raw Material works with a network of smallholder farmers and dedicated global coffee buyers to facilitate trade at stable, sustainable prices while improving coffee quality, yields and community outcomes. A little bit famous in underground development circles for extremely low-cost, high-impact investments.
Muraho is a specialty coffee producing company run by Gaudam and Karthick Anbalagan - two brothers that call Rwanda home. Shyira coffee washing station is one out of four owned by Muraho. The company has also developed partnerships with other stations across Rwanda such as Vunga cooperative in 2017. Muraho is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of Rwandans and Rwanda through coffee, and works with partners locally and globally to achieve this.
Raw Material and Muraho are working in coordination with the Shyira sector office of the Local Government to ensure funds are directed to where they are most required.
Our team members leading this response include:
Karthick Anbalagan is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Muraho. Growing up in Rwanda, Karthick has extensive experience working in East Africa across Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. He founded Muraho together with his brother in 2015 to realise the enormous potential of Rwandan high-quality coffees. Since then, Muraho has grown into a well-respected, innovative, local company owning 4 coffee washing stations in Western and Northern Rwanda and partnering with several others. Karthick has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with honours from the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Eustache Mutakirwa is the Operations Manager for Muraho. Eustache was born in Nyamasheke in Western Rwanda, and holds a bachelor’s degree in food science technology and agriculture from the University of Rwanda. He joined Muraho in 2016 as the quality controller for the coffee washing station in Nyamasheke, then the washing station manager for Bumbogo in northern Rwanda. Eustache now oversees Muraho’s operations all across Rwanda. Growing up in the countryside, Eustache is well-positioned to understand the critical needs of the families affected by the floods. He is in charge of overseeing the implementation on site of recovery support and providing transparent feedback on the process.
Julia Anbalagan is part of the Muraho team based in Rwanda. Julia has extensive experience working with coffee farming families in East Africa, and finding sustainable solutions to improve their livelihoods. Julia has been responsible for developing and implementing several public-private partnership projects working with organisations such as GIZ, ICO, IDH, ITC, and USAID. She was previously the director of the Kahawatu Foundation, a private foundation established to improve the productivity and quality of coffee in East Africa, and associated socio-economic issues. Julia holds a master’s degree in international business development from the University of Osnabrueck, Germany and is dedicated to supporting economic growth and resilience through project implementation to create long-lasting results.
Matt Graylee is a Founder and Director of Raw Material. Matt has 14 years experience in the coffee sector, focused across agricultural practice transformation, supply chain development, and community infrastructure development. Matt leads the Raw Material team to connect thousands of smallholder farmers across Colombia, Mexico, Rwanda, Burundi, and Timor-Leste to stable and sustainable markets. He has designed and advised coffee sector transformation projects with the Asian Development Bank and the Market Development Facility, and led the implementation of multiple community-led infrastructure development projects globally.
Kai Graylee is a member of Raw Material’s planning and advisory team. Kai has experience working in infrastructure and economic development policy and strategy, and funding strategy to support natural disaster response. She is currently Head of Development at the Paul Ramsay Foundation in Australia, and previously worked with McKinsey & Company on strategy and operations for public and private sector organisations globally. She holds an MPA in international development from Harvard University.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here we will publicly answer questions as they arise.
How much of the money raised makes it to the people who need it?
100% will be spent in the ways outlined above. You can watch it happen through the video updates to supporters, and through the google sheet driving our estimates and logging the actions as they are taken. The people and companies listed above are involved on a volunteer basis.
What about your overheads?
Our overheads are covered by our regular business activities (both Muraho and Raw Material produce and sell coffee to fund their operations).
Why are there some differences in dollar values?
Costs on the ground are in RWF. The ever-changing exchange rates used to find USD and AUS estimates create fluctuations across time. This Go Fund Me campaign requires that we collect donations in AUD. RWF isn't an option, USD is only an option for those living in the USA.
Why is this "hosted by Matt Graylee", not Raw Material or Muraho?
Raw Material is registered as a CIC (community interest company) and Muraho is a private company. While most of our team members are giving their time to run this campaign, we aren't registered charities, and this isn't our usual mode of operation. Therefore, we can't set up as a charity on the GFM platform. There are geography/currency constraints that make running this from Australia the best option, hence Matt. For transparency reasons GFM don’t allow the “hosted by” message to be toggled off.
Where can I download a media kit, so I can build promotional material or publish an article?
Here is a link to the first images and logos.
Here is a live Google album with photo and video updates as they happen.
For inspiration, our friends at Daily Coffee News, Sprudge, and Bean Scene have covered this disaster and relief effort.
Please see @rawmaterial.coffee on Instagram for portrait video content for reposting in stories.
I run a coffee roastery/café. What can I do?
So far, we have been informed of over 25 different satellite events hosted by coffee companies to raise funds. Please email [email redacted]fee to get ideas, to let us know your plans so we can promote them, and to join the round table with other roasters and cafes to collaborate.
"I have been working with Raw Material for nearly 5 years as a coffee buyer, supporting projects in every country of origin they manage operations in. The genuine nature of their operating ethos is an example of supply chains creating true value for all stakeholders and signals a profound shift for the wider speciality coffee value chain model. I have no question that the objectives of this go fund me will be efficiently implemented with absolute transparency and efficacy. I would urge anyone considering to support to support! Hobe, Hobe, Hobe!
- Nick Mabey, Assembly Coffee Works
I have full confidence that Matt Graylee and the team at Raw Material and Muraho will use all donations effectively and will give their own time generously to make this work. I met Matt in 2017 in my capacity as the Asian Development Bank's Timor-Leste country economist. He is a person of great ability and integrity. I have no hesitation in donating to this campaign and hope that they can reach the target. Please support this campaign if you have the means to do so.
- David Freedman, Asian Development Bank