At 31 years old, Ms. Sonethana Jikphaboun, lives in Khounxay Village, Dakchueng District, Sekong Province with her family of four. She has two children, a son and a daughter. Her main occupation is farming, but her secondary occupation, coffee plantation, is her true passion. Sonethana also has a duty to her community as the president of the women’s union and the accountant for the coffee production group in her village.
Sonethana is one of the applicants to become a member of the SuPER WE Coffee Project, a coffee production group aimed at empowering women in working in coffee plantations. Her dream is to make a coffee plantation as the main occupation and have more income from selling coffee. At the beginning of June 2023, the project had an activity to empower women in the community to take part in exchange program between two coffee producer groups, Khounxay Coffee and Geo Shat Coffee in Xiengkhuang province, about two days drive from Sonethana’s home. Because of her development and strong desire to learn, there is agreement and support within the group to represent her in the study tour.

Due to this exchange program, Sonethana learned a lot of lessons when visiting model families. She learned the technique of using a white coffee washing machine, the process to establishing a coffee group, coffee husk waste management, and the correct way to plant shade trees in the coffee plantation to maintain the ecosystem and prevent soil erosion. She also learned marketing and coffee packaging design skills to increase the attractiveness and value of the product for export to domestic and international markets.

Sonethana feels proud of her participation in the project. “I am very happy to go on this exchange program because it gave me new knowledge that I have never learned anywhere before,” she says. “I will take the lesson learned from the program and share it with the coffee producer group in the village. I will improve the coffee plantation with integrated planting and plant shade trees in my one-hectare garden in the first year. Then I hope to expand the coffee plantation and grow more and more.”

SuPER WE Coffee Project staff are excited to work with more women like Sonethana in the future.