WASHINGTON — The World Cocoa Foundation and Dominique Ouattara, the first lady of Cote d’Ivoire, have announced a three-year, $3.6 million agreement to develop and implement educational and vocational training programs for cocoa farmers.
The agreement is expected to benefit more than 12,000 Ivorians.
“Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa-producing country, so this agreement is a significant step in the World Cocoa Foundation’s mission to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families,” said Anne Alonzo, W.C.F. chairwoman and vice-president for global public policy at Kraft Foods Inc. “We are going to better share resources, training and know-how to boost development and positive change in more areas, more quickly.”
The collaboration expands access to education, helps provide vocational training for youth and women, and it will mobilize communities, district assemblies, the cocoa industry and others to work together to address development challenges in cocoa communities.
“The place for children is in schools,” Ms. Ouattara said. “Working in partnership with the W.C.F. we will be better able to ensure a brighter future for our children by allowing them to take their places on school benches instead of on cocoa farms. The W.C.F. is the symbol of social development promotion in cocoa growing communities, and I welcome the signature of this memorandum of understanding, which will enable us to harmonize and coordinate our respective programs to fight against child exploitation in cocoa production.”