“These books will help me study well and achieve good grades”
“We are very happy with this donation, it goes straight to our hearts. This will allow children to study well. We count on you for your support in educating our children,” said Mr Mamadou Diabaté, President of the UCODEL cooperative in Lakota, Côte d’Ivoire, on behalf of the farmers, to thank Nestlé Canada and the International Cocoa Initiative for the kits given to the farmers’ children. 59 children secondary school were equipped with the necessary supplies for their education. Children in the first cycle received a Cocoa Plan bag, a French dictionary, two reading books on children’s rights and books on French language tools. As for the children in the 2nd cycle, they received an English-French dictionary, a French language dictionary, two reading books on children’s rights, a universal dictionary and a Nestlé Cocoa Plan bag.
As Yolande Kodjo, Nestlé Project Manager at ICI pointed out, “Nestlé wants to ensure the well-being of producers’ children so that they can feel supported and produce good cocoa”. She also invited students to take care of the books so that “their brothers and sisters can use them as well”. ICI will monitor the school throughout the year in order to record the changes happening thanks to the school kits, for instance by examining the students’ grades.
For Yao Gnepié Arnaud, a student in 2nd grade A class at the Les perles de Lakota school group, the school kit is most welcome, because, he said, “with the books, I will study very well and achieve good average grades”. It is a great joy for his father, Yoga Yao Samson, a producer in the village of Djidje: “We didn’t expect such support. And now my son is coming today with a kit. It makes me happy and it goes straight to my heart,” he said.
Taking the opportunity, Yolande Kodjo urged the producers present to give a favourable welcome to the ICI field officers and to pay attention to their various messages. Their role is to gather more information on the difficulties of producers and to relay them to ICI so that they can be better taken into account and concrete actions can be taken to improve their living environment and the education of their children. An appeal shared by the cooperative’s director, Mamadou Diabaté. According to him, the UCODEL cooperative covers 76 cooperatives with about 3’000 farmers. “Our farmers have been made aware of the child labour issue through ICI – they should continue to work with and listen to the field officers”. He was delighted with this important donation, which comes after the one for primary school children. “Our elementary school children were supported and now it’s our secondary school children’s turn. Parents need to understand that going to school is good and this gift is the result of their efforts because they make good cocoa,” he concluded.