CARE will work in cocoa communities where Dove Chocolate is sourced to set up Village Savings and Loan Associations that offer cocoa farmers a place to save money and access small loans.
The manufacturer described the partnership, announced this week at the 2016 CARE National Conference in Washington, DC, as the latest step in its “ongoing mission to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families, both socially and economically.”
Benefit the next generation
Mars said experience had shown that when women have more income, an increased proportion is invested in family and community, which can also benefit the next generation of cocoa farmers.
The CARE activity is designed to increase women’s access to economic and social opportunities and provide resources that can help women farmers improve yields and incomes.
Mars said the partnership will bring its investment in three key areas - economic, social and empowerment of women - to more than $1m.
What is CARE?
Founded in 1945, CARE says it focuses on working alongside poor girls and women because, “equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.”
“When you empower a girl or woman, she becomes a catalyst, creating ripples of positive change. That’s why girls and women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts.”
“Our efforts with CARE are designed to put programs in place to empower women in the cocoa supply chain and elicit change throughout the industry by enriching and improving farming communities in cocoa-producing regions,” said Berta de Pablos-Barbier, vice president of marketing for Mars Chocolate North America.
CARE said Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) quickly became a hub of a community, promoting group solidarity and learning.
“The VSLA model introduced in 1991 has proven successful in inspiring transformative change among the cocoa communities in which we operate,” added CARE Vice President of Fundraising and Marketing Tolli Love.
Mars has stated it aims to certify 100% of the cocoa it uses as being sustainably produced by 2020.