By Bakah Derick
Rita is amongst over 50 persons who report to work at the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA) Ltd every work day to pick dried coffee cherries. She has been doing this for years after she arrived Bamenda from Boyo Division, of the North West Region. Rita has been displaced by the over six years raging armed conflict like many of her coffee picking colleagues. She has been doing this for over four years now and this has become a major source of livelihood.
"Before God, this has been helping me alot. Just that when we look at the money with the crisis and the prices in the market you just feel like all is not fine but at least something is turning in your pockets and we do not only depend on people but we can do a few things on our own." Rita shares her experience with www.hilltopvoices.com.
Their job is about selecting the best coffee beans for processing. They ensure no foreign object or bad beans goes for roasting. They have to master the details about the physical presentation of good coffee beans and should be careful enough though in need to sort more bags for more pay.
Rita like the rest of her colleagues had no idea they could be part of celebrations marking the International Women's Day and for the leadership of NWCA Ltd to have made them focal point of this year's celebrations means alot to them
"I am so happy that the leaders of NWCA have come to celebrate with us. I didn't know that we also mean something in this company." Rakiatou as we will called her shared her feelings after participating in the women's day event with senior staff of the apex cooperative organization.
Before sharing a common snack including the Kola Coffee transformed from the coffee they sort, the coffee sorters listened to the representative of the General Manager who assured them - majority of whom are internally displaced from different part of the North West by the ongoing armed conflict, that they form an important part of the NWCA Ltd family. Mathew Ngangwa appreciated them for the diligence in the discharge of their duties and reassured them of the institution's commitment to always stand by them.
As users of android phones and other technological devices, the coffee sorters listened to lectures on the theme and how to stay safe online. Speaking on the theme - DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality" the institution's Bookkeeper Acho Hilda Ndagha encouraged the women to make use of the basic technological tools at their disposal and improve themselves. According to her, technology has become an integral part of society and no woman should be left behind.
Guest speaker to the brief commemoration event - an IT expert, shared tips on using the internet profitably and safe. Instead of wasting time sharing irrelevant content, Yembe Nfor of Y'G urged the women to market their skills and products on avenues like WhatsApp status and Facebook stories.
"Never share your personal information like password with anyone and avoid clinking or opening links if you do not trust the sender or the source." Yembe Nfor advised.
The Administrative Assistant to the General Manager-Kah Immaculate challenged the coffee sorters to be strong spirited and be united always as they do their work.
Coffee sorters constitute an important part of the coffee transformation chain considering the importance of the work they do in the processing.
Created in 1950, the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA) Ltd projects a direct source of livelihood for over 35000 farmers and hundreds of employees in including coffee pickers.