SWANSEA, United Kingdom — As the “world’s leading cocoa and cashew producer,” it’s not hard to see why Cote d’Ivoire is one of Africa’s largest economies. There are “an estimated 350,000 cocoa farmers in the global cocoa supply chain” working hard to harvest the cocoa beans that go into all kinds of chocolate and confectionery consumed around the world. However, various issues plague the cocoa sector. In 2020, according to the World Economic Forum, cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire earned just $0.78 per day – placing them well below the extreme poverty line.
In 2022, the Cocoa Barometer also reported that issues such as gender inequality still remain in the sector. While it is not uncommon for women to run cocoa farms, they are often not reimbursed for their work and find difficulty in maintaining their businesses.
Cocoa sustainability programs exist, yet cocoa farming communities ignore women and they do not benefit from programs. Only systemic change in the cocoa industry can challenge these weak points, according to the report.
Dove Chocolate is one of the largest chocolate brands in the United States, offering a wide range of chocolate, candies and ice cream. A large part of Dove’s success comes down to the cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire. For Dove, these cocoa farming communities are at the very heart of every chocolate bar they make.
The brand recognizes the integral role of women in helping cocoa communities to thrive. Women, says Dove, play a key part in ensuring their children have access to education, welfare, food security and health. If the children are thriving, this has positive implications for the future of cocoa farming families and the future of Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa community overall.
Dove has previously partnered with CARE International. In 2016, Dove and CARE collaborated to create a Village Savings and Loans Association. These models provide a space where women can save money and access loans to develop small businesses. Small loans are powerful – helping to buy fertilizer for the family farm, pay for education and healthcare or nurture small businesses. They also provide financial education and entrepreneurial skills.
According to its website, so far 88 communities across Cote d’Ivoire are benefitting from the Village Savings scheme. The scheme also reaches other areas across Africa such as Ghana.
Your Pleasure Has Promise
Now, Dove’s empowerment efforts continue. The chocolate giant has joined a pledge to help 1 million people thrive by 2030. An advertisement campaign, “Your Pleasure Has Promise” is due to begin airing on television across Great Britain and worldwide later in the year. The campaign follows influential women, their community impact, and the wider community benefits thanks to the help of Dove and CARE International.
One such woman is Brittany, who mentors young women and girls in mathematics. Another woman, Juliette, is being helped to grow her small business, whereas female cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, like Ichi, benefit from improved income and education.
Studies suggest that chocolate has the ability to lift the mood, even containing the same chemicals that your brain produces when you fall in love.
Now thanks to Dove Chocolate, that same square of chocolate has a much greater impact – the ability to empower women and help families stay out of poverty. Truly proving that there has never been a better time to tuck into some chocolate.
– Chloe Jenkins