The ice cream brand makes up 65% of owner Unilever’s total cocoa consumption and says it has a commitment to support more than 5,000 women in Côte d’Ivoire by 2025.
In its update, it said it is well ahead of that target as the AWA programme is set to reach over 3,000 women by the end of this year. The programme is focused on empowering women by supporting them to establish themselves independently, with the aim of delivering social and economic support and development that allows the women to setup and run their own income-generating activities, or enhance already existing ones.
In my father’s region when a woman gives birth to a girl, it is like the worst thing that you can do. So, anything related to women empowerment is key to my heart -- Ghislaine Ada, sustainability manager, Barry Callebaut Group
The programme’s reach has accelerated ‘massively’ by Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest cocoa and chocolate supplier with a significant interest in Cote d’Ivoire, announcing it has also joined AWA by Magnum, which was developed with other cocoa supply partners including Cargill, and NGO partners CARE International and 100WEEKS, a direct giving platform that connects financial donors to women in cocoa farming in need of financial support outside of the cocoa farming season.
Ghislaine Ada, originally from Cameroon, says for the past nine months she has been working at Barry Callebaut as a sustainability manager in Cote d’Ivoire.
“The programme is about the empowerment of women in rural communities, mainly in cocoa communities, and we will be doing that by implementing a couple of actions, including the Village Savings Loans Associations at a community level.
“Sometimes it means that women come together, and they try to do savings on a weekly basis, and usually the idea is that with those savings they are able to have some working capital to start income generating activities.
“Unfortunately, sometimes the savings that they have been able to do are not enough to support the new business that they want to start. That is just one issue the programme is going to tackle, to make sure that women who want to be an entrepreneur have the opportunity to do this.”
Ada says she comes from a family of four girls so the programme is very important on a personal level. “In my father’s region when a woman gives birth to a girl, it is like the worst thing that you can do. So, anything related to women empowerment is key to my heart.”
In July 2022, Magnum celebrated the first 198 women and men from cocoa farming communities graduating from the programme, having set up their own Income Generating Activity (IGA).
Magnum said its Cocoa Strategy focuses on closing the living income gap, halting deforestation and championing forest protection and conservation and eliminating child labour from its supply chain. To promote forest protection, it launched a tree planting programme on International Day of Forests in 2021, supported by a unique arts and radio collaboration which encouraged local farmers to plant new trees and teach them about the Forest Code
“This activity educated farmers on their rights and how they could contribute to preserving and restoring critical habitats. The replanting programme saw approximately 465,000 new native trees planted and will continue to support sustainable land tenure, decent livelihoods and female economic empowerment, so long-term, sustainable solutions are created in Côte d'Ivoire,” it claimed in its Sustainability Factsheet.