27 March 2020

Covid-19: ICI’s response to protect cocoa communities and staff

Collaboration with District Authorities (Ghana)

This updates our position published March 23rd. 

ICI is active in over 230 cocoa-growing communities in Ghana, the Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroun. While these countries are not yet as severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as many in other regions, it is our responsibility to take measures now to help ensure the safety of the communities we serve and our staff.

For this reason, we have decided for the time being to instruct all ICI staff to work from home and to scale back significantly our work in cocoa-growing communities. This means no longer organizing community awareness sessions, school-based activities or large group training sessions, and prohibiting all staff travel including into cocoa-growing communities.

We plan to continue some elements of our community work through agents based in the communities, but only if it can be done in a group of 5 people or less, respecting social spacing, avoiding all handshaking and close contact, and with regular handwashing. This continuation of our field work is critically important for the 370,000 children and farmers that we currently assist, particularly at a time when school closures imply a heightened risk of child labour.

It will also allow us to use our presence in the communities to promote basic awareness about Covid-19 and its prevention. To this end we are equipping our community facilitators with clear instructions and information they can share with cocoa farmers in their communities to help ensure the advice on the virus and its prevention is understood.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and we are ready to modify this approach if we need to, always with the aim of ensuring the safety of the communities we serve, our staff and their families.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch at info@cocoainitiative.org.

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