From Commitment to Action: Forging a Public-Private Partnership for Quality Education in Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan/Zurich/Washington. Nine months after Jacobs Foundation announced a USD 52 million commitment to create TRECC: “Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities,” the program has become a growing coalition of public and private stakeholders aligning capital and knowledge to improve the quality of education in Côte d’Ivoire. TRECC will be officially launched on February 17th in Abidjan with the backing of the Ivorian government, the cocoa and chocolate industry, and additional committed partners.

TRECC aims to improve the quality of life of all children and youth in Côte d’Ivoire, while focusing on delivering quality education in cocoa-growing communities. The program was designed and initially financed by the Jacobs Foundation to capitalize on three key opportunities: the high priority the Ivorian Government has set on improving educational outcomes for all children and youth in the country; the unprecedented and aligned commitment of the cocoa and chocolate industry and the Ivorian Government to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers; and on the growing entrepreneurial power of smallholder farmers and civil society organizations to advance quality education at all levels.

In TRECC’s 2020 vision, education in Côte d’Ivoire should enable individuals to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, be able to respond to their own challenges, and pursue goals that they value. This vision is based upon the belief that education must begin at home with parents nurturing creativity and knowledge of their children, go on to ensure the acquisition of foundational skills of literacy and numeracy through primary level, and further build analytical and non-cognitive skills that are essential to improve youth’s livelihoods through quality income generating opportunities.

Realizing this vision requires a strong ecosystem of local, national, and global stakeholders that converge around the common goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education opportunities for all. TRECC conveys a strong conviction in the power of public-private partnerships for social change. The programs’ funding instruments and activities seek to support the interlinkages between public policy, corporate strategies, civil society aspirations, and scientific evidence.

Following its initial presentation at the Clinton Global Initiative in May 2015, TRECC has gained momentum by forging partnerships with government, industry, and other international education funders. First year milestones include the forthcoming implementation of joint education projects co-financed with the cocoa industry; the engagement of Bernard Van Leer Foundation, committing additional capital for an early childhood development component, and the joint design of pilot projects involving educational technologies with the Ministry of Education. As TRECC seeks to facilitate the financial engagement of further stakeholders and funders investing in education, additional funding of USD 50 million is expected to be mobilized over the course of the next five years.

“Through our ongoing engagement in the region we have learned that education for a country’s poorest can only be successful if the necessary conditions are in place within the family, at work and in society. At the same time it is important to highlight that sustainable development cannot be achieved without quality education. We have therefore decided to take our activities in Africa to the next level with the TRECC program, with the goal of promoting sustainable social and economic change in the region,” explains Lavinia Jacobs, chair of the Jacobs Foundation.

Capitalizing synergies: TRECC and CocoaAction

Approximately 8 million Ivoirians depend on cocoa farming, an industry dominated by 800,000 smallholder farmers who live substantially below the poverty line. In rural areas, 45 percent of 6 to 12 year olds are not enrolled in school. Among 15 to 24 year olds, roughly two-thirds (63 percent) have not completed primary school, and one in three youth has never attended school at all.

The Jacobs Foundation entered into a strategic partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) to align the efforts of the industry-wide sustainability strategy CocoaAction and TRECC.

CocoaAction was created by 10 global leaders in the cocoa and chocolate industry to improve the quality of life of cocoa farmers while ensuring the long-term sustainability of cocoa production. Through CocoaAction, these companies have committed to providing access to productivity improvements for some 300,000 cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by the year 2020. At the same time, these activities are being paired with efforts to strengthen farmer’s communities through primary education, eradicating child labor, and empowering women.

“The World Cocoa Foundation is delighted to collaborate with the Jacobs Foundation through CocoaAction to directly benefit the education of 200,000 children in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Tim McCoy, Acting President, World Cocoa Foundation.

Noting that CocoaAction member companies recognize the importance of quality education for the sustainability of the industry, among its other activities, TRECC will work with CocoaAction members to design and implement impactful interventions contributing to socio-economic improvements in rural communities which are vital to the long-term development of Côte d’Ivoire.

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership organization that promotes sustainability in the cocoa sector. WCF provides cocoa farmers with the support they need to grow more quality cocoa and socially and economically strengthen their communities. WCF’s members include cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market. WCF’s programs benefit farmers and their communities in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. For more information, visit or follow us on and