Children in Pokou-Kouamekro, Côte d’Ivoire will no doubt be sporting huge smiles in this New Year for one of the simplest reasons- they can now learn to nurture their hopes and dreams, in a suitable facility built for this purpose.
350 children can now have access to quality education in the rural cocoa growing community, thus decreasing the risk of them engaging in child labour on cocoa farms. The school was built by the Didier Drogba Foundation, with the support of Nestlé and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). The Didier Drogba Foundation, Nestlé and ICI share the common objective of helping children live healthier lives and helping develop thriving resilient communities .
Like any public school, the Didier Drogba school will be handled to the government to run.
The idea is to address the acute shortage of educational facilities in the rural areas of Côte d’Ivoire where children often have to walk several kilometres to the nearest school. For Pokou-Kouamekro, there was already an existing school, but this was made of mud and didn’t have the requisite infrastructure to facilitate learning.
With 6 classrooms, a kindergarten class, a school canteen, school latrines, a football field and 3 teachers’ homes to attract qualified teachers, this refurbished school will contribute to the physical, social and academic performance of the children in the village of Pokou-Kouamekro.
Didier Drogba strongly believes that education is important for the physical and mental development of children, and the support of international companies like Nestlé, to our action, will help make these communities a better place”. Didier Drogba said, “We have been working on this project for the last two years and I am very proud to see it completed. The belief of my foundation has always been if we give children access to health and education, we will build future generations of doctors, scientists, businessmen and women and that is how we build a better Africa. When I started working with Nestlé. I explained our vision and they have given us great logistical help and support on the ground to make the construction of this school a reality”
“We are pleased to collaborate with the Didier Drogba Foundation on this 2-year project because access to quality education is fundamental to securing a better future for children. The Didier Drogba Foundation promotes education, sustainability and sports, as a means to help children have a brighter future Nestlé is tackling child labour by building educational infrastructure. The Didier Drogba Foundation has done great work” said Stanislas Guedj, Country Manager for Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire. “It is an important asset to building resilient and thriving cocoa growing communities as well as eradicating child labour. Every child’s place is in school.”
Speaking at the event, Euphrasie Aka, Regional Representative for West and Central Africa for ICI, stressed its commitment to helping cocoa-farming communities through social protection initiatives to tackle child labour more effectively. “With Nestlé, ICI is strongly committed to addressing child labor because we believe that every child deserves the chance to create its own future”.