Quality education and clean water for the children in Petit Sentier
The children of the cocoa-growing community Petit Sentier (Méagui, Côte d’Ivoire) recently became the beneficiaries of a modern school granting them access to quality education. The keys to this brand new facility, which includes seven classrooms, a kindergarten, a headmaster’s office, toilets, a canteen, a water tower providing access to safe drinking water, and seven teacher’s accommodations, were officially handed over the day after the celebration of World Day Against Child Labour by the International Cocoa Initiative and its partners. The project was funded by the Ivorian Conseil Café-Cacao, ICI-member Hershey’s and the cooperative CoopCA-CPSL, with the support of ICI-member Cargill West Africa.
In order to support school enrolment and farmers’ families, a number of structures have been installed by ICI in parallel to the school construction. Among others, a women’s group was set up that will be responsible for running the school canteen. A Community Service Group (CSG) composed of adults was also created, in order to provide farmers with affordable adult labour, as well as a Community Development Committee that coordinated the school construction.
“Establishing schools is a relevant response to the issue of child labour in Côte d’Ivoire (…) For us, education gives children the opportunity to find their way in life. The child’s place is not in work, but in school,” said Martin Nguettia, Director of the Fight against Child Labour on behalf of the Minister of Employment and Social Protection and the Chief of Staff of the First Lady and the National Committee for the Monitoring of Actions to Combat Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labour (CNS).
The decision to build a school in Petit Sentier was made after identifying, assessing and prioritising the needs of four communities in this area of intervention of the Conseil Café-Cacao, in a participatory and inclusive approach, which allowed communities to give their views on the infrastructure to be built.