In 1450, Sufi monks in Yemen were the first to cultivate coffee plants and brew the drink we know today as coffee.
Coffee traveled from Yemen's highlands by camel.
Yemen monopolized world coffee trade for 200 years, shipping tons of sterile beans from the port of Al Mokha.
Drinking coffee gained popularity worldwide, with coffee shops opening in Europe beginning in 1650.
Coffee is grown on terraces carved into Yemen's rugged terrain.
Ripened coffee cherries are hand-picked on small family farms.
Cherries are dried on rooftops, revealing the coffee seeds within.
Author (on right) in Nyarugusu, Tanzania, during a project for the International Rescue Committee
As a development economist with interests that are a little outside the norm, I spend a lot of my day thinking about how to measure unmeasurable things. How prevalent is a certain belief? And how does it affect people’s behavior? Can one violent event, or experience, be objectively seen as worse or more violent than another? And if so, what determines that violence—scope, tenor, frequency? How do we fix it?
So, when Anda told me he wanted to start thinking more about impact and measurement at Al Mokha, I jumped up and down with glee. From the moment he and I first talked development and coffee in Cambridge almost a year ago, I’d been questioning, "cool, but how do you measure that?"Read More
This post is Part 2 of a five-part series on measuring Al Mokha's impact in Yemen.
Author conducting research for the IRC in Nyarugusu, Tanzania
In Part I, Anda wrote about the perils of trying to be a salesperson / academic, and how that duality plays out in the business: investors want to see sales growth whereas economists (me!) want to see real, measureable change in things like poverty levels, in coffee production, in anything we can quantify with data.
So we're working towards that. In this post, Part 2, I introduce myself and in parts III- V we tackle some tough questions.
Well, who am I? If you're here frequently you know Anda and you've heard mention of some of his advisors (as he spins tales of sinking all his time into a startup). I'm the nerdy PhD obsessed with data and development. I have a doctoral degree in economics. I spend most of my time reading and writing papers on violence against women and children and female labor force participation. I spend a lot of time thinking about very economist-y things like incentives.Read More