Cargill has strengthened its program with CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, in Côte d'Ivoire to launch a $2.4 million partnership with the Conseil du Café-Cacao and 14 cocoa farmer cooperatives. The partnership will improve the availability of healthcare and increase the number of children with access to good quality educational facilities across 14 local communities.
This first of its kind partnership in Côte d'Ivoire brings together investment from cooperatives and the private/public partners to enable cocoa farmer cooperatives to initiate larger scale projects that will benefit their local communities. Each cooperative will have access to funding in addition to its own investment, which cooperatives receive as a direct result of premium payments for certified cocoa achieved under the Cargill Cocoa Promise. This will mean more investment and better facilities that will benefit more farmers and more families in these communities.
“The role of cooperatives in this project is essential. Not only do they benefit from additional funding from Conseil du Café-Cacao and Cargill but with the expertise of CARE, they are able to take ownership of how their money is invested to improve the living standards of their communities. This program will deliver a strong message to the communities of the role that cooperatives can play and incentivize other farmers to join their local cooperatives in order to contribute to the social wellbeing of their communities,” said Lionel Soulard, Managing Director, West Africa, Cargill.
Each cocoa cooperative has worked with CARE to assess the critical needs of its community and as a result, the program will directly support the development of 11 schools for over 1,500 children and three dispensary clinics providing healthcare for 25,000 people. Each school project will include three classrooms, one house for the school director, two houses for school teachers, a canteen, latrines, and access to water. The dispensary clinic projects will include the clinic, equipment, and a house for the doctor. In addition to these substantial infrastructure projects, training sessions have been completed in the communities on topics such as gender, credit systems, child labor, literacy, and maintenance of their new facilities.
This is the first phase of the program and there are plans to scale up this project to reach over 100 communities across the country, helping cooperatives to take an active role in the future of their communities. Building work for the projects is expected to start in the coming weeks; each cooperative will manage the building process. By October 2014 all projects should be complete.