Gorilla Conservation Coffee: saving gorillas through improving livelihoods of coffee farmers living next to gorilla habitats

Gorilla Conservation Coffee promotes gorilla conservation by improving access to markets for rural farmers living around gorilla habitats

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Gorilla Conservation Coffee

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Uganda

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Uganda: Kanungu District, Entebbe, Kampala



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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

All gorillas in Africa are critically endangered and threatened by impoverished people living around their habitat who have limited access to social services including health care, livelihood options and access to markets for their agricultural products. This prevents coffee farmers from having viable livelihoods, which in turn leads them to degrade forests where gorillas live to collect bush meat and firewood to meet basic family needs. There is also a lack of sustainable financing for conservation and agriculture.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

We work with coffee farmers in sub counties bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by training them to grow good coffee that can collect a premium price above the market price. The increased income offers an alternative livelihood away from depending on the forest to meet basic family needs. Furthermore this enables the farmers to employ youth who help with coffee harvesting and processing, providing jobs and more meaningful livelihoods. A portion of the sales of coffee goes to support the work of Conservation Through Public Health, an NGO, that created the Gorilla Conservation Coffee social enterprise to improve community health, gorilla health and conservation so that gorillas and local communities can coexist. By providing access to markets for Bwindi coffee farmers, we are creating a global coffee brand directly linked to gorilla conservation that is providing sustainable financing for conservation and development efforts on the ground through supporting rural livelihoods.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

75 farmers' income has increased through offering premium prices for good coffee. Bwindi Coffee Growers Cooperative has been created to enable the farmers to have a recognised group for training and market access and to become shareholders in the Gorilla Conservation Coffee social enterprise Jobs have been created for youth on the farms There is reduced dependency of coffee farmers on the gorillas’ habitat to meet basic needs for firewood and food because they have a viable alternative livelihood through greater access to markets Gorillas are less threatened because coffee farmers have greater support for the national park because of improvement of their quality of life and their communities who share the fragile habitat with the mountain gorillas. More farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture on the coffee farms where they are trained in Good Agricultural Practices, Post Harvest Handing and record keeping, which in turn reduces further threats to the gorillas’ habitat.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

This initiative was first supported by a convertible loan from World Wildlife Fund Switzerland through their Impact Investment for Conservation program, after providing training for Gorilla Conservation Coffee (GCC) Founder and CEO to establish a for profit social enterprise. GCC is a company limited by shareholding with the aim of becoming self-sustaining through local and international sales of coffee and branded GCC merchandise. We aim to become self sustaining within five years through investment primarily in the form of equity and debt to support production, operations and marketing and suitable grants to grow our enterprise. We plan to scale the impact of this model to other countries in Africa where gorillas are found and coffee farmers live adjacent to these gorilla habitats.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We are building a global differentiated consumer brand that is directly linked to gorilla conservation efforts on the ground through the sale of traceable, single origin, premium Arabica coffee from farmers adjacent to gorilla habitats. Other organizations that have put gorillas on their coffee bags do not directly support coffee farmers living alongside gorillas. Gorilla Conservation Coffee is not only providing premium prices to farmers, but also improving health care for people and gorillas.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

When Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a Veterinary doctor and Ashoka Fellow who founded Conservation Through Public Health, an award winning NGO that improves the health and livelihoods of communities living around the gorilla habitat, thought of ways to keep the impoverished community from encroaching on the forest for resources, she realized that the community had coffee farmers who were not being given a fair price by traders. This resulted in Gorilla Conservation Coffee being founded to offer the farmers a better price for their coffee above the normal market price so that they can keep fully engaged on their farms, improving yield and quality, which will in turn enable them to increase their income and have a viable and meaningful livelihood where they can afford to buy food and use alternative cooking methods instead of depending on the gorilla habitat to meet their basic family needs.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact


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