The world’s largest cocoa and chocolate companies have joined an international child and youth development program with the goal of transforming education in rural communities. These innovative partnerships launched in 2018 will achieve measurable impact by improving quality of education and enhancing its relevance within industry sustainability strategies.
Under the roof of the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program, Barry Callebaut, Blommer, Caboz, Cargill, Cémoi, Hershey, Mars and Mondelez International will engage in the implementation of the most comprehensive quality education effort to date in Ivory Coast.
The initiative will reach up to 80,000 children and youth in an estimated 150 communities across cocoa growing regions in Ivory Coast over the next four years to provide quality education. Most projects will be implemented by international development organizations, some by local organizations and some by the companies themselves. The total amount committed to this initiative amounts to over USD 8.5 million.
10 models to be tested
The initiative will test 10 proven models from around the world on topics related to education and child development in Ivory Coast. The interventions will address children of all ages and their caregivers as well as youth starting their professional lives. Activities include parenting skills trainings in nutrition, hygiene and play as well as primary school dynamizing and financial literacy courses for youth, among other initiatives. It is a competitive selection of models based on solid evidence, endorsed by the Ivorian Government and monitored by Innovations for Poverty Action.
The parties have committed to scaling the activities that yield good results. The models could be incorporated into the Government’s education policies, and TRECC and the involved cocoa and chocolate companies have also conveyed an engagement to scale up successful models.
Enhanced quality education
Another important goal of these partnerships is to enhance the role of quality education within industry sustainability strategies. TRECC aims for cocoa partners to internalize the business case for quality education and to think of the integration of education into their community development activities.
This is the second set of partnerships TRECC initiated with the chocolate industry. In the previous initiative, Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez International and Barry Callebaut set up similar initiatives in Ivorian cocoa communities. Building on these two sets of partnerships, TRECC is committed to deepening its engagement with Ivorian society by working with the cocoa and chocolate industry. Future collaborations will also bundle effective, evidence-based education models with the industry’s on-going interventions on the ground and contributing to building an ecosystem around quality education in Ivory Coast.
TRECC is a unique collaboration between an industry, a government and several for-purpose organizations to achieve a UN Sustainable Development Goal. The program is meant to transform the education system by testing and promoting innovative interventions and pave the way for a new form of philanthropy.
The program is supported by the Jacobs Foundation, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation.