Together with our partners, we take a long-term view, working with farmers to improve cocoa production practices while at the same time addressing critical social challenges in communities where farmers and their families live.
We believe this combined approach offers the best potential to increase farm productivity, increase household incomes, and improve family and community livelihoods.
Rural communities often lack basic infrastructure and services, including access to water, basic healthcare, and schools. Women, who contribute to farm labor as well as managing family and household duties, often have more limited opportunities for education, land ownership, and income generation.
In our Community Development activities we work with communities and farmer groups to ascertain needs and contribute solutions in four key areas: education, child protection, women’s empowerment, and health.
Education is the cornerstone of development. In addition to promoting school enrollment and attendance, we contribute to infrastructure when communities lack adequate primary and secondary school facilities.
This includes building and furnishing classrooms, building and furnishing canteens for school meals, constructing separate latrines for boys and girls, providing solar panels for lighting, and building teacher housing to attract and retain qualified staff. Working to help meet the expressed needs of communities and farmer groups, we aim to provide more accessible, safe, and adequately equipped learning environments for children and youth in cocoa-growing areas.
Our vision of thriving cocoa communities is one in which all children can attend school and are protected from harmful work. Together with partners, we promote the importance of schooling in our farmer training, and work with communities to raise awareness about child labor, better understand its causes, and develop constructive solutions.
Women’s inclusion in training, farmer group administrative and management activities, and other business development opportunities are key priorities. We support literacy and business skills training, and work with women and community-based women’s groups to create income generation opportunities.
I hope to set an example for other women in my village, so that they can see that there’s a way for them to have financial independence and to be strong and proud. When I train other women, and I see the effect it has on them and their confidence and independence, it fills me with pride. Every woman should have the opportunity to feel that way.”
Farmers, families and communities need easy access to clean, safe water. However, this basic life necessity is often elusive in rural communities. We work with communities to provide boreholes in schools, and water filters for schools and households in remote areas. We also build school latrines, promote WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) training, and support initiatives to improve farmer access to basic health care services, including a health insurance program, vaccination campaigns, and free medical check-ups.