A school canteen in Kouaméblekro to promote schooling
At Valrhona, our fair, sustainable cocoa supply chain is built on the special, beneficial relationships we forge with our cocoa producers. Our involvement means building long-term partnerships with organizations and producers that share our vision.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Valrhona has since 2014 created a special partnership with the Dibobly-Guezon Agricultural Perseverance Cooperative (CAPEDIG). This long-term partnership allows Valrhona to trace 100% of cocoa beans, and simultaneously support projects that bring help to local communities. These projects are carried out by the Valrhona Foundation and meet needs identified and prioritized by the CAPEDIG. With the construction of primary schools, a training center, and more, many projects have already been launched in Côte d’Ivoire thanks to the support of the Valrhona Foundation. The latest project is the construction of a school canteen in the village of Kouaméblekro.
In Côte d’Ivoire, one of the obstacles to children’s education is the lack of lunch facilities, forcing children to return home at lunchtime and walk long distances. Many struggle to return to school in the afternoon. It is also a substantial child labor risk factor for those who return to their parents working in the field or on a plantation.
This new canteen has been in service since the start of the school year in September 2021. It is located opposite the primary school inaugurated in May 2021, itself rebuilt thanks to the Valrhona Foundation. It features a fully-equipped kitchen and a dining area with 120 seats. Meals are prepared on site by 5 women who are part of an association.
In order to guarantee the long-term sustainability of this canteen, our local partner – the CAPEDIG Cooperative – has set up a monitoring committee bringing together members of the cooperative, teachers and parents who ensure that the canteen is well managed and maintained.
Stéphane Sabourin, Cocoa Sourcer at Valrhona, visited the site to see how the canteen works. “The number of students in the school increased from 148 to 211. As for the attendance rate for students in the afternoon, it has increased from 50% to 90% since the canteen opened!”