Equipping youth with skills to thrive in the cocoa business

As part of TRECC’s partnership with The Hershey Company and its Cocoa For Good program, youth in rural communities will be supported to increase their professional prospects and to realize their potential in order to live healthy, prosperous lives.

“Young people need to know themselves and their abilities as well as guidance in their lives. If we want to have cocoa farmers who see their farm as a business – since Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer in cocoa – we need proper life skills and financial education,” says Parfait Asseman.

He will be training youth to thrive thanks to stronger financial, entrepreneurial and life skills. In order to provide them with skills required to increase their prospects as part of the cocoa industry, Aflatoun International will be working with youth in Marféré (Eastern Ivory Coast) with the support of TRECC and The Hershey Company (“Hershey”) and in partnership with Barry Callebaut and INADES-Formation on the ground.

Young Ivorians face precarious conditions in the labor market. 44% of rural youth are not in education, employment or training. Under the Cocoa For Good program, Hershey is addressing poverty, poor nutrition, youth at risk and vulnerable ecosystems in cocoa communities.

“Hershey has joined TRECC to focus on improving quality of education and equipping today’s youth with skills to become tomorrow’s leaders. This stems back to the legacy of our founder, Milton Hershey, who created a school for disadvantaged kids more than a century ago and who inspires our work today to give underserved children around the world the support they need to succeed in life,” states Beatrice Moulianitaki, Head of Sustainable Sourcing at Hershey.

Hershey and TRECC aim to have a positive impact on young people’s lives, where they have the tools not only to survive, but to thrive in their communities. The project will combine financial education with agricultural training, social education, access to savings accounts, and life skills in order to have a positive impact in different spheres around young people’s lives. Participants will be able to recognize and invest in their own potential, partner with like-minded people, gain market connections, plan for the future and ultimately secure a sustainable livelihood.

Several of the project’s facilitators received training earlier this month in Abidjan by Aflatoun International. They were instructed on techniques to boost young people’s financial and life skills. Yao N’Guessan, one of the participants, elaborated, “I had been looking forward to this training. I work with farmers’ cooperatives, where members have started to age. Now we have to train youth so they can take over and better manage their finances and learn how to save, spend and plan. We will also raise awareness on child labor issues. I am very satisfied to have received this training”.

Photo: a facilitator simulates and activity on financial planning