School opening in a Soubré cocoa-growing community
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) officially handed over the keys of a school, a motorized tricycle and birth certificates to the JeanKouamékro community, in the area of Buyo, in the framework of the implementation of its own activities and in support of the cocoa growing populations. These donations were offered to the remote community during an official ceremony held in the presence of the administrative and educational authorities of the department.
“Previously, the children of JeanKouamékro were obliged to walk to the school in Konankro, a neighbouring village located 3 km away. In the rainy season, they even had to cross a river swimming (those who could), because the floods separated the two villages. Today, all this is over. From now on, the children of JeanKouamékro will go to school in their own community, whatever the weather. “This is a great day for all of us,” explained Euphrasie Aka, ICI National Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire.
The construction of the school began in February 2016 with the support of the community members of JeanKouamékro who provided sand, water and gravel. The building was constructed out of “geo-concrete”. This technology allows the installation of all networks (water, electricity, phone, and internet) without grooving. The geo-concrete blocks, once cured, offer a great resistance against compression and erosion compared to conventional cement. In addition, this innovative approach has an economic advantage (reduction building cost and maintenance) and is a welcome ecological alternative to standard construction material.
The community development approach advocated by ICI in the direct implementation of its activities is a holistic approach which includes, in addition to school equipment and infrastructure, the implementation of remediation actions, training and sensitization of communities for the fight against the worst forms of child labour in cocoa, with the setting up of Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs), Community Service Groups (CSGs) and Women’s Groups For the Development of Income Generating Activities (IGAs).
In 2016, ICI started the construction or rehabilitation of ten schools, two of which have already been completed. For 2017, five schools (equipped with latrine blocks) and the preparation of 400 birth certificates are planned as part of the implementation our core activities in Côte d’Ivoire.