Swiss Water has long been a supporter of Grounds for Health, an organization dedicated to women's health in coffee-growing regions. We believe in their efforts so strongly, both the company and our employees contribute. In 2018, our corporate and individual contributions totaled more than $48,000 CAD. The tenth annual Grounds for Health Auction will take place this week, June 12–13, 2019, and Swiss Water has donated three bags of coffee in support. We had the pleasure of sitting down virtually with Lisa Espenshade, Director of Donor Relations, to share more of the GFH story.
Please tell us a little bit about the origin of your organization—how did you choose the coffee lens through which to view the global crisis of women's reproductive health?
In 1996, Grounds for Health was founded by a coffee executive, Dan Cox of Coffee Enterprises
, and his physician friend, Dr. Francis Fote. They were inspired by their realization that women in coffee communities were dying from cervical cancer and had little access to preventive care. Over the years, funding from the coffee industry—which has such a strong sense of social responsibility—has given us the resources to grow from a small program in Mexico to a leader in cervical cancer prevention in Latin America and East Africa.
Women receiving services from Grounds for Health are a largely underserved population who live predominantly in coffee-growing regions. These communities are in some of the most remote regions of the world, where 85% percent of all cervical cancer deaths occur simply because women do not have access to effective prevention and treatment services. We are working to change that. Cervical cancer is one of the few preventable
cancers and yet in the next 15 years it is expected to kill 6 million women, most of whom live in developing countries. This is one of the great inequities in health care. Our work makes a huge difference in the lives of women, their families, and their communities.