Barry Callebaut promotes community development in remote cocoa growing areas

Rural cocoa communities often lack basic infrastructure and services, including access to water, basic healthcare, and schools. Marina Morari, General Manager Community Development, leads Barry Callebaut’s efforts: “Alongside our aim to improve cocoa farming, we work with communities and farmer groups to ascertain needs and focus on four key areas: education, child protection, women’s empowerment, and health.

Education - Contributing to the educational infrastructure

We contribute to educational infrastructure in communities where facilities are inadequate. This includes building and furnishing classrooms and school canteens, building separate latrines for boys and girls, providing solar panels for lighting, and building teacher housing. In total, more than 4,000 children are already benefiting from our education initiatives.

Since 2011, we have funded 12 school infrastructure projects in several cocoa-growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire, benefiting more than 2,000 children. This year, we built or extended three primary schools to benefit 765 children. 

Child protection - Improving the lives of children

Our vision for prospering cocoa communities is one in which all children can attend school and are protected from harmful work. We believe this is a shared responsibility.

Barry Callebaut works with field experts of the International Cocoa Initiative to provide training and raise awareness about child labor issues. We address Barry Callebaut personnel, as well as the management and administrative staff at farmer organizations.

Together with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), we started in 2016 with the piloting of a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) across over 5,000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. Facilitators on the ground work with communities to track and remediate child labor, as well as pinpoint the factors that contribute to it. Child labor prevention is included in the curriculum of the 115,000 farmers we trained on cocoa sustainability.

Women’s empowerment - Supporting women in cocoa farming and communities

We encourage the participation of women in farmer training and farmer group administration. In addition, we support literacy and business-skills training, and promote opportunities for women to earn income.

In fiscal year 2014/15, we continued our women’s agroforestry training program in collaboration with IDH, the sustainable trade initiative. A total of 34 women, among them Yvonne Konan (pictured right), are participating in the three-year program that comprises training, assistance in planting a diversified plot of land, and coaching.

Through a joint program with the World Cocoa Foundation, 54 women from 54 cooperatives participated in leadership training in 2014/15. In addition, 200 women from two cooperatives are participating in a three-year agricultural and entrepreneurship training program for female farmers.

Health - Promoting basic healthcare

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 and pumps in schools, and distribute water filters to households, schools, and medical clinics in remote areas. In fiscal year 2014/15, we distributed 1,276 family filters and 75 community filters to benefit more than 12,000 people. We provided WASH training (WAter, Sanitation, Hygiene) to each recipient of a water filter.

In addition, we help improve farmer access to basic health care, including health insurance, vaccination campaigns, and free medical checkups. To date, the Cocoa Horizons truck has already provided medical attention to more than 10,000 villagers. 

Category: Sustainability