Tony’s Chocolonely joins TRECC to improve quality education in cocoa communities

Dutch chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely and TRECC will work together to improve literacy and numeracy skills in Ivorian cocoa communities. With this new partnership, Tony’s has become the 10th company to join TRECC following Barry Callebaut, Blommer, Cargill, Cémoi, Caboz, Hershey’s, Mars, Mondelez International and Nestlé.

Together with J-PAL Europe and the Ivorian Government, Tony’s Chocolonely will implement a teaching at the right level model to boost literacy and numeracy at primary school level. The program has been evaluated by a series of randomized evaluations in India, Kenya and Ghana, showing that teaching to the level of the child results in large, strong, positive impacts on children’s learning outcomes.

The intervention works by testing students’ levels and then regrouping them based on these levels, supplying appropriate material and adopting a new pedagogical style so as to make classes more interactive. The model is meant to give teachers the tools to lead more dynamic lessons where children are educated with activities that are engaging and suitable to their actual level, helping them to catch up. During a first phase, the initiative will be piloted in 25 schools around the town of Méagui, in south-west Ivory Coast. Around 2,600 children will participate in the intervention.

The importance of quality education in cocoa sustainability

“The mission of Tony’s Chocolonely is to make 100% slave free the norm in the chocolate industry. And we believe that access to quality education is a crucial component of any strategy to eliminate modern slavery and child labor in cocoa production”, says Henk Veldman, manager of the Chocolonely Foundation. “We hope that through the program parents and the communities in Méagui will experience that education in their region has improved and that they are convinced that their children will have a better future by attending school. For us that is very important in realizing our mission as we hope that communities experience that education is a better future for children than working long hours in cocoa.”

As part of TRECC’s policy efforts, the Ivorian Government will be highly implicated in this project as the main implementer. According to Henk Veldman, this constitutes a beneficial feature of the project: “For any long lasting impact, the government should be on board. We are really happy to see that the Ministry is committed to make this a success.”

Header image: Tony’s Chocolonely/Flickr CC-BY-NC