Today I’m proud to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Women, Family, and Children, to strengthen joint efforts on child protection via our Cocoa Life program and work towards the common vision of a child labor-free cocoa sector. This MoU reaffirms our continued efforts in public-private collaboration and reflects our ambition to scale up Cocoa Life in alignment with national strategies to help tackle systemic issues in the cocoa supply chain.
I had the privilege to attend an event to mark the signing of the MoU, which took place in Abidjan. The signing strengthens our ongoing collaboration with the Ivorian government. Connecting with the ministry, which promotes the community approach to child protection, is important because it will help us align our actions with the national strategy. Having this connection is key to help lift local communities; and by joining forces we can work towards better outcomes for children and help set them up for bright futures.
On behalf of Minister Nassénéba Touré, the Director of the Cabinet welcomed this important step by Mondelēz International with its Cocoa Life program, which includes key pillars aimed at improving livelihoods in cocoa farming communities.He subsequently indicated that with this approach, Mondelēz International is working with the Ministry to implement community outreach aimed at helping to protect children and promoting collective behavior change in cocoa communities to fight against the worst forms of child labor.
"To see tangible results for the wellbeing of communities, it is important for us to collaborate with intergovernmental organizations and the private sector and its initiatives."
Diarrassouba Moussa, Director of the Cabinet, Ministry of Women, Family and Children, Côte d’Ivoire
COLLABORATING TO HELP PROTECT CHILDREN IN COCOA LIFE COMMUNITIES
At Cocoa Life, we believe that the work of children is education and play. In 2022, leveraging our 10 years of experience and learnings through the Cocoa Life program, we released our new Cocoa Life Strategy to Help Protect Children. The document details our approach to help enhance child protection systems and improve access to quality education in Cocoa Life communities. Underpinning our strategy is the reality that helping tackle child labor is a shared goal that requires a collaborative process to help enable systemic solutions. The MoU with the Ivorian Ministry aligns with, and brings to life, this very strategy.
"We are determined to play a part and be a solutions-oriented partner as we aim to work toward a child labor free sector. Underpinning our strategy is the reality that helping to tackle child labor is a shared goal and requires strong collaboration with governments, suppliers, communities, NGO partners, peer companies and multi-sector partners, which is why we are keen to maintain and strengthen collaboration with ministries and agencies at all levels. We are pleased to sign an MoU that both defines joint goals to help protect children and aligns with the national child protection strategy."
Cedric van Cutsem, Senior Director Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International
Cocoa Life’s Strategy to Help Protect Children focuses on activities that are broken down into three primary areas of response: prevention efforts, monitoring and remediation, and systemic solutions. Our 2030 key goals across all Cocoa Life communities globally are to:
- Help enhance child protection systems through Child Labor Monitoring & Remediation Systems (CLMRS); and
- Improve access to quality education.
We’re working with local authorities and partners towards a goal to have CLMRS cover 100% Cocoa Life communities in West Africa by 2025. By the end of 2022, we reached ~74% CLMRS coverage in Cocoa Life communities in West Africa1.
A CLOSER LOOK: COCOA LIFE’S PROGRESS IN CHILD PROTECTION IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Cocoa Life has been working with partners in Côte d'Ivoire to help lift people and protect landscapes where cocoa grows since 2013. By the end of 2022, the program reached around 64,000 farmers in over 1,400 cocoa communities in Côte d'Ivoire with our integrated approach2.
To help protect children, we remain focused to help implement and scale Child Labor Monitoring & Remediation Systems in the country. The collaboration with the government of Côte d’Ivoire through the MoU will support our efforts as we work toward our goal of covering 100% Cocoa Life communities in West Africa by 20251.
We also partner with the national child protection authorities to build capacity with community child protection committees, raise awareness within communities and provide support to vulnerable children.
At community level, helping to protect children includes supporting the implementation of the community action plans (CAP), where education and wellbeing of children are usually the top priorities expressed by community stakeholders.
In Côte d’Ivoire we have worked with the Jacobs Foundation, through their Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program, on early childhood development with the aim to build a stronger future for generations to come. As part of this program, we supported the building of 20 Community Animation Centers for Children (CACE), where young children can play and learn while parents work on the farms. Last month, I enjoyed a visit to one of the CACE that we helped build and was impressed by the children’s level of education and skills they presented during the official commissioning ceremony of the CACE.
Building on this initiative, we became part of the Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF), a unique public-private initiative, led by the government of Côte d’Ivoire collaborating with the cocoa and chocolate industry and philanthropic foundations. Together, we invest in quality education so that children and communities can build a better future. The collaboration aims to reach ~4 million children in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire.
As Cocoa Life continues its journey to help make cocoa right, I am encouraged by the progress we are making with partners to help protect children. The signing of this MoU reinforces our collaboration with the Ivorian government, and I look forward to the improvements our strengthened efforts can bring to the lives of children in Cocoa Life communities of Côte d’Ivoire.
- Reported information for the period from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 includes a community as covered by CLMRS if the work of identifying children, if any, in or at risk of child labor has been completed by the end of the year, even if any appropriate remediation and post-remediation follow-up occurs in the following year. CLMRS data is provided by third parties. Includes Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria.">↩
- Reported information covers rounded data from Côte d'Ivoire in the annual reporting period from January 1 to December 31 2022. This data is provided by third parties.">↩