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Four chocolate giants invest $5m in Ivorian education program

By Oliver Nieburg+

25-Oct-2016
Last updated on 31-Oct-2016 at 15:47 GMT2016-10-31T15:47:48Z

Three-year project led by the Jacobs Foundation to focus on youth and women's education. ©iStock/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer
Three-year project led by the Jacobs Foundation to focus on youth and women's education. ©iStock/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer

Mondelēz International, Mars, Nestlé and Barry Callebaut have joined forces on a community development and education program in Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with the Jacobs Foundation.

The Jacobs Foundation’s Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program hopes to reach at least 72,000 adults and 16,000 children and youth in the next three years.

The companies – all members of the World Cocoa Foundation’s CocoaAction sustainability platform – will jointly invest CHF 5m ($5m) to implement the initiative over three years.

The Jacobs Foundation has committed to invest a further CHF 3.78m ($3.8m) when project goals are reached.

Low primary school completion rates

The organization has already been working with the WCF for a $52m education program for cocoa growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire, backed by CocoaAction members.

Around 62% of 15-24 year-olds in the world’s premier cocoa-producing country never completed primary school, according to the Education Policy and Data Center.

A study published last year by Tulane University also estimated around 2.03m children in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were found to be working in hazardous cocoa-related activities in 2013/14.

Partner actions

Under the TERCC program, Nestlé is aiming to combat unlawful child labor with implementing partner the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).

It will provide classes for out-of-school children aged 9-13 as well as support for children at risk of dropping out and supplementary literacy training for adult women farmers.

Mars will team with implementing partner CARE International under the TERCC program to establish savings and credit facilities in 24 communities to help women borrow and save funds.

Mondelēz has paired with World Education Inc. to establish childcare centres for children aged 3-5 in Côte d’Ivoire and will support female farmers with literacy training and credit access.

Chocolate and cocoa ingredients supplier Barry Callebaut will set up youth vocational training in rural, cocoa-growing communities – such as fertilizer application and pruning - as part of the TRECC project.

The project was announced shortly before WCF’s partnership meeting in Abijan from October 26 to 28.

ConfectioneryNews will be reporting from the event this Thursday.

Further reading...interview with new WCF president Richard Scobey, published October 18, 2016.

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