Cargill and CARE combine in cocoa community project building six Ghanaian schools

Cargill has continued its work with humanitarian charity CARE to support cocoa communities in Ghana with an initiative to build six new schools in the country, reports Neill Barston.

The joint venture is part of ongoing efforts to support core agricultural communities in preventing child labour, investing in education, which is considered a major factor in assisting the delivery of sustainable sourcing in the region.

During the past year, the global agribusiness, which has extensive chocolate confectionery operations, has provided additional support to the region through coronavirus support measures on sanitation, supported by its FarmForce mobile-based mapping system, which it has used to engage with farmers and provide additional education.

The company’s latest education programme is expected to provide facilities for around 700 children once complete. It will include construction of three primary schools, two kindergarten blocks and one junior high school spread across six rural Ghanaian communities: Fahiakobo, Lineso, Fojourkrom, Juabo, Afofiekrom and Adjeikojo. Importantly, the schools arose from needs identified by the local communities themselves. To further ensure their long-term success, Cargill and CARE enlisted the support of Ghana’s Ministry of Education, which will staff the new classrooms with qualified teachers.

Cargill and CARE have a long history of working together to address the root causes of child labor and expand educational opportunities for children, spanning more than a dozen years in Ghana alone. During that time, they have built more than 15 schools in Ghana, helping support the education needs of 1,120 children.

These educational initiatives are a key pillar in Cargill’s broader efforts to build a more sustainable cocoa sector through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, which seeks to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. Working with partners like CARE, Cargill is implementing community-driven initiatives to enhance women’s economic opportunities, increase access to education and improve health and nutrition.

In West Africa, these efforts include establishing 275 community action plans, resulting in more than 160 community infrastructure improvements, such as hydraulic water pumps and school facilities, and creating more than 370 Village Savings Loan Associations, aimed at giving women entrepreneurs access to credit and other critical financial tools..

Aedo van der Weij, managing director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana, welcomed the latest initiative. He said: “We believe the best way to safeguard the future of cocoa is to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of farmers, their families and the communities where they live. Access to quality education is key to that goal, laying the foundation for strong communities and helping to develop the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professional farmers.”

“This project exemplifies our commitment to listening to and supporting the communities where we operate – in this case, by investing in education. In this way, we’re partnering with local leaders to bring long-lasting, meaningful change to cocoa-growers and their families and create a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.”

Commenting on the scheme, Rose Tchwenko, Country Director, CARE International in Ghana, added her support to the venture, which comes amid the UN’s year of eradicating child labour.

She said: “We are thrilled that Cargill has entrusted CARE to oversee this important project and we are proud that by partnering with Cargill to support the efforts of parents and the Government of Ghana to secure a bright and prosperous future for all children through education, we are also contributing to the fulfilment of the Cargill Cocoa Promise, an initiative that is well aligned with CARE’s own vision of a world where poverty has been overcome.”

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