As part of a new public-private partnership between Conseil du Café, CARE, andCargill, the three groups have enabled 14 cocoa farmer cooperatives to build 11 new schools and three new health centers in Côte d’Ivoire.

The schools will provide education for more than 1,650 children and the health centers will improve access to healthcare for 25,000 people.

Bringing together investment from farmer cooperatives and the private and public partners, the $1.9-million program has enabled the 14 cooperatives to make their own decisions about investments in facilities that can benefit their communities.

Using the premium payments for certified cocoa paid to cooperatives under the Cargill Cocoa Promise, each cooperative also has benefitted from additional funding from the Conseil du Café-Cacao and Cargill, as well as the expertise of CARE to build the new schools and health centers. CARE also has helped communities to adopt project management processes and good governance principles during the program.

“The investment in new schools and clinics clearly demonstrate the critical role farmer cooperatives play in improving the education and living standards in their  communities,” says Lionel Soulard, managing director - West Africa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “By bringing together the resources and expertise of public-private partners it is empowering farmer cooperatives and supporting a sustainable future for cocoa growing communities.”

The first schools and health center were officially inaugurated on June 11 at a ceremony in Manzannouan, Côte d’Ivoire, attended by the managing director of Conseil du Café Cacao and representatives from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

“Through this partnership we are supporting our farmers and enabling them to be part of the solution to improve their well-being. Farmers are now able to have a direct influence on the livelihood of their own communities,” says Massandjé Touré Litsé, managing director, Conseil du Café Cacao.

Each brick school contains three classrooms, one house for the school director, three houses for school teachers, a canteen, restrooms, and access to water.

The dispensary clinics include a clinic, necessary equipment, and a house for the doctor.

The construction for all schools and healthcare centers is complete. Schools will open to their first students this October and the clinics will soon be offering healthcare in their local communities.

In addition, plans are underway to extend the program to enable ten additional farmer cooperatives to build facilities to support their local communities.

Cargill provides food, agricultural products, financial and industrial products and services throughout the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, they help people thrive by applying our knowledge and approximately 150 years of experience.

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.