Nestlé and ICI improve access to education for cocoa farmers’ children
On September 28, 2016, ICI and its partner Nestlé, symbolically opened a newly built school of seven classrooms. Cocoa growing communities in the department of Aboisso were also supplied with 331 school kits and 567 birth certificates.
This will improve access to education for cocoa farmers’ children and members of agricultural cooperatives such as the CNEK, CAYEMA, C3A and CASO cooperatives in Aboisso.
The move comes as part of an action plan developed by Nestlé in the fight against child labor in its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, in line with the country’s national action plan against child labor. This reaffirms Nestlé and ICI’s commitment to support the government program of free and compulsory access to school.
Mrs. Nabi Bouki, mother of three school-age children, welcomed the opening of the school in her village: “In previous years, my children were studying in rather precarious conditions. Today the old buildings that served as classrooms have been replaced by a new building that even gives us the opportunity to have a kindergarten class. We can now dream of a real education and a brighter future for our children.”
Through the partnership with ICI more than 40 cooperatives, with over 44 000 producers as members, joined Nestlé’s system of monitoring and remediation of child labor in late 2015.
The chairman of the board of the CNEK cooperative welcomed the implementation of the project in communities: “We now have a better understanding of child labor and its implications through awareness-raising in the villages,” he said. “This allows us to better measure our responsibility for the education of our children.”
With such a system, Mauricio Alarcon, CEO of Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire, said “We provide comprehensive monitoring, apply corrective measures and provide targeted support to local communities. Thus we get to deploy effective solutions which justify our commitment to eradicate child labor in our supply chain. ”
Under this project, more than 120 000 members of producer communities have been involved in awareness-raising, 42 schools have been built and more than 66 women’s groups have already benefited from income-generating activities.
Ms. Euphrasie Aka, National Coordinator and Regional Representative of ICI, praised the efforts of local authorities to facilitate the distribution of birth certificates: “Thanks to your support, more than 560 children now have the opportunity to complete their primary education without any administrative coercion”.
She subsequently invited people to register their children at birth: “Providing the child with a birth certificate is a must for parents. We must not escape it, the future of these children depends on it.”
Under the school year 2016-2017, 1394 birth certificates and 4000 school Kits will be distributed to cocoa farmers’ children.