Nestlé has launched a series of workshops this week in Côte d’Ivoire, from where it sources much of the cocoa for its chocolate, aimed at helping increase women’s participation in the country’s cocoa industry.
The workshops are part of Nestlé’s broader goals to raise awareness of gender issues through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which seeks to improve the lives of cocoa farmers, eliminate child labour and improve cocoa productivity.
Those attending the workshops, including cocoa producers, community leaders and the head of women’s associations, are discussing ideas and strategies to increase the role and participation of women in the country’s cocoa co-operatives.
The workshops are also an opportunity for participants to better understand the gender concept in the cocoa supply chain and to discuss ways to overcome social and cultural barriers, which tend to consider cocoa as a male-only business in Côte d’Ivoire.
The first training session is taking place at Nestlé's Experimental Farm at Zambakro, near the capital, Yamoussoukro.
The workshops stem from a recent Action Plan (pdf, 546 Kb) created by Nestlé to improve the lives of women working in the cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire.
Nestlé believes that when women are empowered, they raise healthier families and their children are more likely to go to school rather than work on cocoa farms.
Watch a video on how Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan is empowering women in Côte d’Ivoire.