Sharing the love for chocolate: From Côte d'Ivoire to the birthplace of Belgian chocolate
Important role models in women’s empowerment
The visit of Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu is no coincidence. The two female cooperative managers belong to the key elements driving women’s empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire, the world leader in the production and export of cocoa beans. They are important role models in a country where tradition and culture still very much dictate a woman’s role in the family. Women for example face inequalities when it comes to land ownership. It is not uncommon for the cocoa plantation to be handed over to the husband’s family if he dies – leading to women losing their homes and livelihoods.
A source of great inspiration!
Barry Callebaut also actively lobbies for more women’s empowerment in the cocoa industry: women’s inclusion in training, farmer group administrative and management activities, and other business development opportunities is a key priority. The chocolate-maker also supports literacy and business skills training, and works together with women and community-based women’s groups to create income generating opportunities for them.
“Barry Callebaut is happy to have the opportunity to bring people together and providing a forum to share knowledge and expertise. Strong women such as Mrs. Marie Zae Zea and Mrs. N’Goran née Brou Oussu are a great inspiration, not only for us, but for everybody. They show that there is a way for women in the cocoa industry to be financially independent, and to be strong and proud,” says Erika De Vos, HR Director of Barry Callebaut Belgium.