Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) will be taking a holistic approach when creating community development programs that aim to strengthen rural, cocoa-farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire. Resources will be concentrated on three communities in order to obtain maximum impact.
This will help these communities support and drive social change via programs focusing on the promotion of gender equality, women’s education and empowerment, vocational training for young adults, and education regarding balanced daily nutrition, while allowing for a sustainable future for cocoa.
Michiel Hendriksz, director of sustainability, ADM Cocoa, witnessed the complex issues surrounding gender at a rural elementary school in Côte d’Ivoire, where there was an imbalance in attendance, one in which boys significantly outnumbered their female counterparts. He also observed that with each increased grade level, the gender divide deepened.
“It is crucial for the acceleration of economic growth and the reduction of poverty that women and men have equal rights and opportunities,” said Hendriksz. “Women play and will continue to play key roles in establishing and sustaining environments in these rural communities, but they need and deserve our support.”
“WCF has a strong commitment to working with cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. We are especially excited that this new partnership with ADM includes outreach to women, who often form the economic backbone of cocoa-growing communities, and to youth, who will inherit their parents’ farms,” said Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation.
Funding for the start-up of the community development programs is currently at $70,000 with ADM and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) as primary benefactors. ADM is also looking to partner with other companies involved in the sector.