AGROCOEX - Companía Agropromotora del Cotopaxi
The owners of AGROCOEX are motivated to support women, indigenous people and people with disabilities, believing those groups are at the greatest disadvantage during times of social and economic difficulty. As such, AGROCOEX decided to confront these socio-economic issues within their own community by creating objectives that align with the ideals of social justice and Fair Trade.
As a company, AGROCOEX strives to create a safe and just working environment by working to increase the levels of education and well-being of workers, children and community members of its farms. One of the farm’s main governing principles is to foster a standard of living that promotes dignified living conditions for workers.
In 1998, AGROCOEX became Fair Trade Certified in order to establish prices that would cover the cost of sustainable production and fair wages. The workers enjoy participating in Fair Trade because Fair Trade premiums help them invest in projects and programs that they believe better their standard of living. AGROCOEX’s workers collectively decide the use of the community development premiums through a democratic and transparent manner during annual “premium committee” meetings.
From the management’s perspective, Fair Trade is attractive because consumers can buy products that agree with their values and principles. By buying Fair Trade Roses from AGROCOEX, consumers support the workers that fight to better their lives.
The children at the Day Care center feel very safe and they like it. The equipment given by AGROCOEX and the support offered by the Community Development Committee San Francisco – La Victoria lets our children grow. They are being cared for in such a professional manner. They are safer, are learning well and are developing such great skills! Our children are getting the opportunity to socialize in a safe setting, they are getting physical exercise and all of the great things that come with professional childcare services. ”
Liz Rivadeneria, worker at Childcare Center
My parents, because of their precarious economic situation, were not able to support my education. Thanks to the student scholarship I was able to secure financing for my education. With much effort and always thinking about how I was an example for my peers and for my family, I was able to graduate with high honors. Today, I feel more secure, my self esteem has increased, and I am going to continue my studies at university to gain a professional title and secure my future. ”
The information systems course has helped me improve my level of understanding and personal development. This has also allowed me to complete my secondary studies and achieve a higher education with confidence in my capabilities. ”
Music for the Children
A new program was started by AGROCOEX to allow children to learn how to play musical instruments. Learning how to play music is seen as a way to help children develop psychologically as well as a way to teach children discipline and dedication. The members of AGROCOEX believe music can have a positive impact on the community by changing attitudes and changing the way people think and express themselves. The music program has given the children in the community enthusiasm for learning as well as a new way to express themselves.
Acess to Microloans
This year, $13,770 was given out in microloans. There are rules and a formalized agreement that outline the delivery of resources, interest, and repayment. All AGROCOEX workers have the opportunity to receive loans to construct homes, complete home improvement projects, and to invest in their small businesses.
The Joint Body approved the creation of information system workshops and internet access training for workers, workers' children, relatives and other interested community members. A System Engineer teaches the technology workshops and evaluates students weekly to guarantee their academic and personal improvement.
Scholarship Program for Workers
Fair Trade premiums help AGROCOEX workers complete their grade school educations. Often, adult workers do not complete grade school or high school before they start working to support their families. AGROCOEX workers have established a scholarship program, funded by community development premiums, for employees to complete schooling part time. The workers committee in charge of the program have established an agreement with the local education board, the Institución Radiofónico Fe y Alegría, to provide quality educational opportunities for the workers.