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Casas de la Alegría Project begins, co-financed by the European Union in Costa Rica, to provide better living conditions and decent employment in agriculture for migrant families

23 de junio de 2020

With this project the Cooperative sector reaffirms its commitment to provide better conditions of quality of life and decent employment in agriculture for migrant families

From the first of April 2020, the House of Joy project officially began: Expansion and dissemination of an approach to improve living conditions and decent employment in agriculture for migrant families through cooperatives.

The project will be jointly executed by Cooperatives of the Americas with the Coopetarrazú coffee cooperative and the two members of the International Cooperative Alliance and active members in the Platform of Cooperatives of the Americas for the Development of Costa Rica, Infocoop and Conacoop. The project is co-financed by the European Union in Costa Rica.

La Casa de la Alegría is a Social Responsibility project developed by CoopeTarrazú R.L. and it is part of the solidarity and support that is offered to the community and to the people who work and are involved in coffee activity in the region. CoopeTarrazú R.L. It is the organization that manages and promotes this social project since 2018, the cooperative has invested economic resources from the Fairtrade award, its own financial resources, as well as contributions by government and international institutions.

There, children from 0-12 years old are received who come accompanying their parents who participate in the coffee harvest in the coffee farms of both the cooperative and farms of its associated producers and other nearby farms. Parents can take their children to the Casa de la Alegría during the work day. There, children receive comprehensive care from trained personnel for decent care and balanced nutrition.

This project works in an articulated way between Coopetarrazu and public institutions, for the protection of the early childhood of these families. For example, state institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the Centers for Education and Nutrition and the Children’s Centers for Comprehensive Care (CEN-CINAI) and the Joint Institute for Social Aid, National Children’s Board; as well as UNICEF of Costa Rica.

The objective of the project in its joint phase with Cooperatives of the Americas is to improve the integral conditions of families of migrant gatherers in agriculture, with an emphasis on the coffee production of Los Santos in Costa Rica.

The region is highly dependent on foreign labor for the harvest. Each year approximately 15,000 Panamanian and Nicaraguan migrants arrive in the Los Santos area. Coopetarrazú is the largest coffee cooperative in the region with around 5,000 members. Within the framework of the project, the authorization and operation of three “Houses of joy” are planned, in addition to the 4 houses of joy that the Cooperative has been operating since 2018 and 2019 respectively. These care centers for the children of collectors under the age of 13 were created by Unicef ​​and are now under the supervision of the IMAS - Mixed Institute of Social Aid of Costa Rica.

Cooperatives of the Americas will provide administrative and technical support in terms of creating decent employment through cooperatives. The development of a concept with different strategies for creating or improving decent employment in agricultural cooperatives is foreseen, which will be provided to the Cooperatives of the Americas membership for its dissemination and application. In addition, the financing of 6 mini-projects is planned to improve the conditions of workers and collaborators.

Associates Infocoop and Conacoop accompany the project with their expertise in the cooperative sector in Costa Rica. They also contribute to various activities in favor of the collection families’ access to public and health services.

A cross-cutting theme that has been added to the procedure given the situation caused by the health crisis caused by COVID-19, will be access to health and the creation of necessary hygiene conditions for the families of the collectors.

This requires a coordinated effort by the cooperative, its associates, public entities and partner organizations in this project. Although it has not been raised from the beginning, the project will seek to address this problem in all its facets, to provide the necessary safety, protection and health to all the people involved in the project. The fact that the coffee harvest in the area will begin in November and lasts until February the following year, will allow a time of preparation

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