Nestlé helps to empower female cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire

Aug 21, 2015
Nestlé continues to reinforce its efforts to empower women in the cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire.  Through our collaboration with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) Nestlé has provided machines to grind cassava for more than 200 women from three associations in the localities of Dioligbi, Gazolilié and Sanhoukro, from 11 to 15 August 2015.

This donation will enable these groups of female cocoa farmers to strengthen their operational capacities to generate income. According to Michèle Benson, the Chair of the Women’s association 'Aklaléchué' (Let’s help children) from Dioligbi-Guitry, “This new grinder will help us begin mass production of 'placali' (cassava paste), an increasingly popular local dish. With the support of ICI, last year, we were able to purchase a parcel of land for cassava production. The production from this field is our primary source of supply. We'll also buy the crops of the women in the village. Once the cassava has been transformed into a paste, it will be marketed to certain trading partners”

It is with pride that women of this group presented the first specimen of their new product branded with an original label that echoes their commitment to the fight against child labor.

The women farmers association in the village of Sanhoukro in the southeast of Côte d’Ivoire also received a grinding machine. In addition to their traditional cassava tuber sales, the forty women now have the opportunity to locally make “gari” (dried cassava meal). 

“We appreciate the fantastic momentum started by Nestlé and its partner ICI towards the empowerment of women," said Ms. Leonie Sopi, the leader of the association. “This donation will help us to generate more income to help our husbands support our children’s expenses. We have learnt a lot in our women’s meetings with ICI about how we can contribute to taking care of school children, monitor them at school and establish birth certificates for them” she added.  

In Dioligbi, Gazolilié and Sanhoukro, the women working with Nestlé and ICI participate in sessions entitled Communication for Behaviour Change. During these meetings, several topics are discussed relating to nutrition, health, hygiene, revenue management etc. The objective is to accompany the women in the process of empowerment and equip them to make their voices heard. Some are already contributing to the awareness of other women in their communities who are not association members.

In addition to these donations of cassava grinders, the ICI foundation also facilitated the delivery of birth certificates for the school aged children in these communities. 

Nestlé believes that child labor has no place in its supply chain. The role played by women in the fight against child labor is crucial because of their role in the management of their households and in overseeing the education of their children; particularly in rural areas. Therefore, Nestlé deploys its women empowerment action plan in cocoa communities which promotes equal opportunities, increased revenue and opportunities to make women’s voices heard.

Since 2014, over 50 women's associations of farmers and mothers of child workers have been supported by Nestlé. The day to day management of their activities is done by the ICI foundation, our partner in the eradication of child labour in our Ivorian cocoa supply chain.