21 April 2020

Farmer cooperative representative and human rights leader join ICI Board

Collaboration with District Authorities (Ghana)

New experts joining the ICI Board, including the President of a cocoa farming cooperative and a representative from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will strengthen the organization’s position as a multi-stakeholder leader in the fight against child labour in the cocoa sector.

Mr Abou Camille, the President of Camaye Cooperative in Côte d’Ivoire, is a new individual Board member on the industry side whose appointment represents a symbolic landmark for the organization.

“To have our beneficiaries represented so directly on our Board is a very important principle for our organization. We work very closely with cocoa farmers and cocoa farming cooperatives in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in tackling child labour. Having the experience, expertise and perspective of an Ivorian farmer added to those of Ghanaian agricultural workers (already represented through GAWU on the ICI Board) and fed into the highest decision-making body of the Foundation is a huge step forward,” explained Nick Weatherill, ICI Executive Director.

As President of the Camaye Cooperative, which has been operating since 2008 and counts over 2000 members, Mr Abou has significant experience as a farmer working with his members to improve cocoa production, awareness of child labour, knowledge of crop diversification, agroforestry and the transformation of cocoa beans as a means to build sustainable livelihoods.

“First and foremost, I am a farmer. I am looking forward to being able to represent the reality of life as a cocoa farmer, to speak for farmers within the ICI Board” Mr Abou said about his appointment.

“I am also thrilled to have Ms Lene Wendland (Chief of Business and Human Rights) join us as a new Advisor to the Board, representing the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Given the growing centrality of human rights due diligence in our work with companies and governments, we look forward to benefitting from Ms Wendland’s expertise and the thought-leadership of OHCHR in this critical space,” Weatherill explained.

“I am delighted to join the Board of ICI as an Advisor. This will provide an excellent opportunity to advance the practical application of relevant standards in the cocoa sector, notably on human rights due diligence, in the challenging contexts where ICI operates to the benefit of children at risk,” Lene Wendland said of her appointment.

These two new Board appointments come at a time when the organization is developing its new five-year strategy from 2021. “The new direction for the organization will be discussed by the ICI Board in June and I am confident that Mr Abou and Ms Wendland’s participation will help ensure it is as relevant and impactful as possible.” Weatherill concluded.

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