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As a child growing up in Burundi, Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian recalls her mother telling the story of her entire family cultivating coffee in Ngozi Province to pay for school fees. Years later, Jeanine earned an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and enjoyed a 20-plus-year international business career that led her back to Burundi and to coffee. At a “Cup of Excellence” competition, she recognized the potential of the exceptional, but unknown coffees of Burundi and saw the opportunity to promote these coffees in the global market as a means of advancing the farmers, her people.
In 2012, Jeanine founded JNP Coffee. Today we are known for our award-winning specialty coffees and the gender-sensitive development strategies we enable at origin. Jeanine is the only woman majority shareholder of a large Burundian coffee conglomerate – a role model for what a Burundian woman can achieve in her country. As a licensed Q grader, she continues to strengthen the global specialty coffee industry.
Our business model is driven by quality coffee based on strong producer partnerships and shared knowledge in pursuit of several United Nations sustainable development goals. JNP Coffee encourages transformational change for local coffee farmers by promoting gender equality, supporting financial literacy education and developing leadership skills. These efforts to empower the farmers and their families build resilience and expand their coffee production capacity.
JNP Coffee multiplies our efforts by partnering with organizations that promote inclusive development strategies in Burundi. One of these organizations, Burundi Friends International, is a nonprofit organization founded by Jeanine in 2008 to unite and educate youth, women and men for economic empowerment and the creation of self-sustaining communities.
The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) Burundi Chapter works together with JNP Coffee to support and empower women coffee growers. Based on this partnership, JNP Coffee has created a bonus program based on the quality of the harvest that is paid directly to the women and some men of the IWCA Burundi chapter. Today, more than 2,000 women and their families benefit from their share of the quality premium achieved in world markets. With the bonus, women pay for their children’s education, invest in their coffee plantations, and save money for the first time in their lives.