Careers in Cocoa takes a look at some of the different backgrounds of those who make up the World Cocoa Foundation. From the work they do, to the paths they took to get where they are today, learn about our team, and how they are using their skills and experiences to further the WCF mission. This is the third piece in a five-part series.
At a young age Priscilla Sogah discovered her curiosity about things that surrounded her.
“I used to ask a lot of questions to understand why things were not done in a certain way. I loved to watch news and I admired presenters on TV. On radio, voices of my popular news anchors never stopped reverberating in my ears. I was also wowed by how journalists hobnobbed around influential personalities to get the stories behind the news. — In fact, I liked the media.”
After graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, development reporting led Priscilla to an opportunity with global non-governmental organization, CARE International, as a media officer.
“At CARE, I was part of a team that worked on projects in cocoa and, interestingly enough, the project I was working on was funded by two of WCF’s company members,” said Priscilla.
Motivated to learn skills beyond her role as a media officer, she took part in project planning meetings, field activities, and contributed to the process of project design. She also dedicated herself to exploring her interests in gender studies, community mobilization and engagement.
“Since I really wanted to contribute more to helping people be better off, I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Development, Policy and Planning. I felt that once I understood the fundamentals of development planning and policy formulation, I’ll be in a better position to leverage my communications skills to advocate for better policies and also be able to actually inform what goes into policy and change the lives of vulnerable populations. Hence my specialization in social development planning.”
Priscilla believes that her time at CARE helped her to be a better team member at WCF after accepting the role of social development associate.
“For social development, our focus is to make sure that we champion the empowered community pillar of the WCF pathway to sustainable cocoa,” she described. “Under that, there are issues of child labor, community governance, and how you mobilize these communities to be able to take charge of their own development.”
Priscilla works closely with Community Development leads of WCF company members as part of the Social Development team to provide technical assistance in community development and integration of gender in companies’ sustainability programming by building company capacity in gender and supporting the development of gender responsive programming.
“WCF has a collection of gender resources that help company members to assess the gender sensitivity of their sustainability programs to ensure that interventions prioritize the different needs of both women and men without creating more barriers between men and women and further widen the gender gap,” she explained.
Her background in journalism assisted her when interacting with female cocoa farmers who were beneficiaries of the development interventions and received first-hand information about the impact of the interventions on their livelihoods. Good communication and writing skills were beneficial to Priscilla when reporting on the engagement activities that she took part in.
As a young person in the industry, Priscilla takes pride in developing and mentoring other young people and offers advice to those who want to pursue careers in the cocoa supply chain.
“There are a lot of opportunities around us, but it is up to us to make people see our potential and create opportunities for us to take advantage of.”
Priscilla went on to explain what inspires her work at WCF.
“I am inspired by the commitment of our hard-working farmers who work tirelessly to sustain the cocoa industry. The work of the cocoa farmer keeps me employed and it is my responsibility to ensure that farmers are empowered to build resilient communities with adequate access to social services.”