8 September 2020

“Our participation in the literacy and numeracy classes has brought great improvement into our lives”

The International Cocoa Initiative set up literacy and numeracy classes in Ghana with the support of the Non-Formal Education Secretariat as part of the Community Development Programme in 2016. It aimed to ensure that community members like Eunice from Mpaem, Mary from Abease and Aishiatu from Yawboadi were able to read, write and carry out simple calculations together with 249 other beneficiaries. Most of these men and women never attended school or had to stop along the way due to lack of support.

With the help of ICI’s Community Development Programme, they gained a second opportunity to acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills. Whereas carrying out simple tasks like storing phone numbers or jotting down notes may come easily to a lot of people, this is not always the case for those in cocoa-growing communities who have not had the benefit of formal education.

The situation has now changed for participants who now have the ability to write, spell and make simple calculations. Armed with this knowledge, they can now confidently save numbers and take other contact information; read the scale when selling cocoa beans and other farm produce; write down the names of agrochemical products and read the instructions on the bottles, as well as carry out bank transactions without aid.


According to Eunice Appiah, a participant from Mpaem, the classes helped her in both her business as a seamstress and her home life. She can now take better measurements of her clients without relying on guess work. This means their clothes fit better. She also sees herself as a better mother now.

“My involvement in the adult literacy class has really improved my life. I can now even assist my children with their homework and also help them with their studies when my husband is not around. Now I can understand and speak simple English,” she explained. “I can also calculate simple arithmetic because I have been taught how to do this. For those of us in the communities, going to school is not a priority, but through this adult literacy class, we have seen a great improvement in our ability to read, write and do simple calculations which has benefited us in many ways.”

In all, literacy classes were organized in nine communities in Ghana benefiting 201 women and 51 men. The average number of participants in each of these communities was 20 people. Some of the classes had as many as 33 adults participating in a single session.

ICI’s Community Development Programme supported 75 cocoa-growing communities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana between 2015 and 2018. Communities were empowered to take an active role in their development and to prioritise child protection. Preliminary analysis indicates that the Programme led to a 20-30% decrease in child labour in assisted communities. Learn more in our 2019 annual report.

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