Helping women can benefit entire cocoa-growing communities
to improve the livelihoods of cocoa-farming families
aim to empower over 60,000 people by 2025
in women’s economic empowerment
Cocoa is not only one of the key ingredients of our world-renowned chocolate brands, but it also is central to the livelihoods of an estimated 350,000 cocoa farmers in the global cocoa supply chain. We depend on cocoa farming communities, and this drives us to continuously strive for a responsible cocoa supply chain where human rights are respected, the environment is protected and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Starting in 2016, we have worked with the international humanitarian organisation CARE to help improve the livelihoods of cocoa farming families through increased access to savings, loans and other income generating support.
Numerous studies demonstrate that enabling greater participation of women in businesses, communities and economies delivers measurable benefits. Women can influence the household quality of life and play a key role in their children’s welfare and education, food security, nutrition and health, helping to drive the long-term prospects for a future of thriving cocoa farming households and communities. Therefore, programs that promote women’s empowerment and capacity building are vital to helping them develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect their children and provide them with experiences and opportunities to learn and grow.
Building a foundation
We knew we could help. In 2016, together with CARE, we developed a Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) model, designed to economically empower women by promoting financial inclusion and innovation.
The VSLAs are self-managed groups that provide a safe place for women (and men) to save money and access small loans to help them develop their businesses. They also help members develop leadership, financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills, and gain the confidence to secure larger loans to make their businesses thrive.
Even a relatively small loan can be enough to buy fertiliser for the family farm, help grow a small business, or pay for healthcare and education expenses.
VSLAs are now operating in 88 communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and 75% of the VSLA members are women. VSLA membership has significantly grown since we started, touching the lives of more than 24,000 households so far, and our data has shown that within 3 years, a typical member could have more than doubled their individual savings.
A loan of just US$20-$50 offers women the chance to buy fertiliser for the family farm, help grow a small business, or pay for healthcare and education expenses.
Meet Madame Dogbo
After Madame Dogbo lost her farm to a fire, the VSLA allowed her to access the loans she needed to keep her children in school and rebuild a thriving business.
We’re proud to partner with CARE
CARE is a leading humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development projects. CARE is a global confederation of 14 members working together to fight poverty in 95 countries.