Mondelēz International announced new action plans to accelerate women's empowerment across four cocoa origin countries as part of its new sustainability program, Cocoa Life. The company launched initially launched women's empowerment action plans in Ghana and Cote d'lvoire in 2014, but is now expanding to include Indonesia and the Dominican Republic. The plans are aiming to empower more than 100,000 women in over 1,000 communities.
Based on program learnings, the plans will focus on promoting women's empowerment across five focus areas: farming, community, youth, livelihoods and environment. The plans will then be tailored according to local needs and supported by a change methodology that links resources, activities, outcomes and ultimate impact. All activities will be assessed for opportunities for more sustainable impact.
“As a company, we’re committed to offering snacks that are made the right way and that includes transforming our cocoa supply chain to grow opportunities for farmers and communities,” says Cathy Pieters, Cocoa Life Director. “We believe women’s empowerment plays a crucial role in creating sustainable cocoa communities. Based on our experience, in communities where women’s voices are heard and treated equally, we see rising incomes, better management of family finances and increased school attendance. This translates to greater economic success and more sustainable cocoa farming. Women’s empowerment grows opportunities for all.”
“Women’s empowerment is a top priority for Oxfam and underpins the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” says Sarah Zoen, senior advisor, Private Sector Department, Oxfam America. “We welcome Cocoa Life’s commitment to women’s empowerment and recognize the detailed and locally sensitive nature of their plans. We are very pleased that Mondelēz International is expanding this commitment by taking part in Oxfam’s SIWEE initiative, a multi-stakeholder approach to drive systemic change on women’s economic empowerment across agricultural value chains in Ghana. We call on more businesses to recognize the opportunities inherent in boosting women’s empowerment across their supply chains.”
The existing Cocoa Life action plans have already sparked measurable impact. By expanding access to Village Savings and Loans Associations to women in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, Cocoa Life action plans have already greatly contributed to women’s empowerment, helping women gain greater access to and control over both household and productive resources. The Cocoa Life program provides 50,000 women annually with access to finance to fund education and encourage entrepreneurship, in order to give them a voice and unlock their potential. Over 59,000 community members have also been trained in gender awareness to change perceptions, attitudes and behaviors, and to address gender inequalities.
A full copy of the Women’s Empowerment Action Plans report is available at https://bit.ly/2RildoV