THE LEIDENER

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

An internship in times of a global pandemic: part 1

 

Special guest blogger: Marly van den Boom, MA African Studies

Who am I you ask? Let me introduce myself:

Hi all! My name is Marly, and since the beginning of January an intern at Moyee Coffee. Ever since I was little, I have had great affinity with coffee. I can vividly remember the smells from the freshly made batch of filter coffee being made at home. Being typically Dutch, I have always enjoyed a good moment of ‘koffie-leuten’ or ‘een bakkie doen’, which basically means taking a break for an hour from work to spend drinking coffee. Once I started to work with coffee as a barista, I came to realize how unfair and broken the coffee chain actually is.

The master African Studies requires that we do an internship. Due to COVID-19 we were not allowed to travel abroad for our internships. Thus, the majority of us had to find one in the Netherlands. From the get-go I already knew I wanted my internship to relate to coffee. More importantly, a coffee corporation whose main focus is related to sustainability and inclusive development. Although the Netherlands has a variety of corporations to choose from, Moyee is the only one with a radical different approach.

 

What does Moyee do?

I landed my internship at Moyee, a coffee corporation in Amsterdam. Since a few years Moyee has expanded to France, Germany, and Ireland and the United Kingdom. Moyee get its coffee from the country where it is argued that coffee started, namely Ethiopia. They also source coffee from Kenya. Where almost all coffee corporations get green bean coffee from country of origin, to be roasted in country of consumption, Moyee decided to roast coffee in country of origin. Because of this model, 300 percent of value remains in the country where the coffee is roasted.

 

What do I do at Moyee?

In the Guraferda district, which is about 572 km south-west of the capital Addis Ababa, near the town of Mizan Teferi, Moyee is constructing a new coffee plantation. Moyee aspires that at this plantation several smallholder farmers will be able to live peacefully, receive education, and most importantly, grow coffee.

 

 

In this project, I research what the best socio-cultural approaches are for Moyee for targeting the people and farmers in this region. Moreover, my research focusses on how the project can improve youth participation and gender equality. On top of that, but nonetheless very important, I am involved with how this project can eliminate the occurrence of child labour.

The goal of my research is to produce a theoretical approach to improve the abovementioned things. If COVID-19 wasn’t real, starting to wish it wasn’t, I would have been able to do on the ground research and produce targeted results and approaches for Moyee. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and we will just have to work with what we’ve got.

 

What is next?

I am still fully committed to pursuing my research. I am also actively with talks between NGO’s and Moyee to discuss the best approaches to eliminate child labour. Hopefully I have convinced you that we do a lot more work behind the scenes to improve your coffee drinking experience to the most ethical one yet. In my next blog I will, hopefully whilst we both drink our cup of Moyee coffee (my favourite is the Kenya Triple!), discuss more in depth how I go about my research and what type of output I produce. Also, I’ll give you some tips on doing your internship from home, which I’ve discovered is an art form on its own.

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