“This modern school will make primary education far more accessible for the children of Abokro who today face many challenges,” said Mike Wege, Hershey’s Senior Vice President Chief Growth and Marketing Officer. “Through this innovative project, children will receive a meal at midday, good medical care and instruction from professional teachers. Both our companies are committed to giving back to cocoa communities and the new Abokro school is a great example of what we can achieve together.”
The Abokro primary school is a registered public school and its operation will be managed by the Ministry of Education. The infirmary will be staffed and operated by a professional health worker assigned by the Ministry of Health. Barry Callebaut's local subsidiary SACO will liaise, on behalf of Barry Callebaut and Hershey, with a school committee regarding future development activities. The school committee will be comprised of teachers and community members, including representatives of the Cooperative Agricole de Glibeadji (COOPAGLI).
COOPAGLI, a cocoa-growing cooperative and beneficiary of the project, is a member of the Union des Cooperatives Agricoles (UCAS) in Côte d’Ivoire. The Cooperative consists of nearly 900 farmers, and is one of 20 co-ops in the UCAS union. The union has long been engaged in Barry Callebaut’s Quality Partner Program and projects to improve the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
“The Abokro project is the result of a unique collaboration between Hershey, Barry Callebaut and the farmers of COOPAGLI, and it illustrates our holistic approach in working with cocoa farming communities under the Cocoa Horizons framework,” said Paul De Petter, Vice President Cocoa Africa at Barry Callebaut. “The project integrates agricultural training, which gives farmers the knowledge to increase crops yields and income, and it provides access to education, water and basic healthcare, which improves the livelihoods of farmers and their families.”