International Women's Day is celebrated each year on 8th March to recognise the importance of women all over the world.
For 2019 the theme is #BalanceforBetter, which aims to highlight the positive ways in which we can all help to forge a more gender-balanced world.
With this in mind we wanted to share with you some of the ways in which our chocolate supplier is helping to empower female cocoa farmers through the Cocoa Horizons initiative.
The Cocoa Horizons initiative is an independent, non-profit organisation which focuses on helping to build self-sustaining farming communities and cocoa farmer prosperity.
Much of the world's cocoa is typically produced in West Africa by small holder farms in remote equatorial areas. The effects of climate change combined with aging farms and depleted soil nutrients in this area, often means that crops aren't guaranteed year on year which in turn means that a farmer's income also isn't guaranteed.
According to the Cocoa Horizon's website: "Cocoa communities often lack basic infrastructure and services, including schools, literacy and vocational training, access to safe water, and basic healthcare services. Gender imbalance also affects the sustainability of cocoa farming communities, with women having limited opportunities to build skills and generate income."
Fortunately, part of the revenue of the chocolate we use across all our chocolate pizzas and gifts, is invested in training programmes for women in West Africa, under the Cocoa Horizons Initiative. These programmes empower women in turning their entrepreneurial dreams into real business and become successful cocoa farmers. In turn, these women-farmers become financially independent and can support their families better.
The most recent impact report published by the Cocoa Horizons initiative for the year 2017/2018, shows that there are now approximately 18, 541 women who are Cocoa Horizon registered farmers, which makes up approximately 20% of the total - a massive 61% increase from the previous year. Furthermore, there are now 208 women in governance positions within Cocoa Horizons Farmer Groups - up by 58%.
Obviously, there's still a long way to go and whilst we're still waiting on the report for 2018/2019, we don't yet know how much further progress has been made to improve the lives of our female cocoa farmers, but with last year's figures in mind the future is definitely looking more positive to help shift the #BalanceforBetter.
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