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Africa: Cocoa Life program lauded for strengthening communities

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Two reports by human rights consultancy Embode commend Cocoa Life program’s holistic approach and direct work with cocoa communities in its supply chain.

Embode recognizes the potential the program by Mondelez International have in driving meaningful change at scale by tackling the root causes of child labor.

It recommends that Mondelez International build on its existing approach to strengthen cocoa communities’ capacity to foster the well-being of children.

The two independent assessments of child protection in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana was commissioned by Mondelez International as part of the company’s continuing efforts to empower cocoa-farming communities through its Cocoa Life program.

“We value Embode’s insights and plan to implement the recommendations for our Cocoa Life program,” said Cathy Pieters, director of Cocoa Life.

“We’ll consult with our program partners and government authorities to strengthen existing child protection structures, improve access to education and continue to address root causes like poverty in Cocoa Life communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”

For both countries, Embode’s recommendations to Cocoa Life include:

•Developing and implementing a child protection policy and code, which would explicitly require the reporting and referral of child protection cases, including child labor and child slavery,

•Taking more initiatives aimed at improving children’s access to education,

•Reviewing targets and indicators to measure progress on children’s well-being,

•Working alongside communities with a ‘system-strengthening’ approach to ensure sustainability of outcomes over the long term,

•Working in closer partnership with local and national authorities to align and contribute to governments’ strategies for cocoa sustainability and child well-being, and

•Engaging proactively with the cocoa sector to share Cocoa Life’s distinct approach to cocoa sustainability.