La Central de Cooperativas de Servicios Multiples (PRODECOOP) is made up of 40 cooperatives located in three areas of northern Nicaragua: Esteli, Madriz and Nueva Segovia. PRODECOOP is a small-holder organization that was created with a mission to help commercialize its members’ products in a highly competitive market. Created in 1993, PRODECOOP represents the interests and well being of its 2,300 members, 30 percent of whom are women. After obtaining Fair Trade certification, PRODECOOP's members have gained better access to the specialty coffee market, earning recognition for their quality coffee. With the use of their Fair Trade premiums, PRODECOOP has been able to offer capacity building programs to develop and strengthen members’ knowledge of coffee production. PRODECOOP has focused on promoting the equality of women in all processes of the cooperative. They require that women hold at least 40 percent of the leadership positions within the structure of the cooperative. Training programs are held on a regular basis to educate both genders about how vital it is to include women in leadership roles, highlighting the important role their voice plays in successful coffee production from harvest to distribution. PRODECOOP distributes Fair Trade premiums to its member organizations and manages the rest for socio-economic projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of producers. There is a General Assembly that holds meetings and democratically votes on how the money will be invested. Annually, they invest 55 percent of Fair Trade premiums in business development, 15 percent in education and scholarship funds, 10 percent in social projects focused on food security and health, 10 percent in member organizations, and 10 percent to support women’s projects.
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