Program Officer with Initiative Rescue Cacao Mr. Hamed Diarasouba has whispered that effective cooperatives are key to a healthy and sustainable cocoa industry.
Mr. Diarasouba indicated that effective cooperatives benefit both men and women producers in the cocoa industry.
“our sector partnership program implementing partner, Initiative Rescue Cacao, enhanced the capacity of 5 cocoa Coops under the joint cooperative improved training model pilot project that facilitates gender inclusiveness in coop management,” he said.
Mr. Diarasouba made these remarks during a donation to 5 coops in Côte d’Ivoire organized by Initiative Rescue Cacao (IRC) in partnership with Sector Partnership program.
He indicated that because of the COVID19 pandemic Coops have been forced to suspend their regular activities to preserving themselves but also their communities due to restrictions measures. Mr. Diarasouba said in order to help the 5 coops to continue their activities in a safe manner, Initiative Rescue Cacao (IRC) donated to the 5 coops with sanitary materials including washing kits, face maks and Bottles of Hydroalcoholic gels.
Mr. Diarasouba explained that strengthening cocoa cooperative operations in Côte d’Ivoire builds a more stable, high-quality supply of cocoa for global manufacturers and directly improves the livelihoods of the estimated 800,000 smallholder farmer Ivoirians who depend on the sector.
“Through research and experience implementing cooperative training programs in the cocoa sector, our joint partners, TECHNOSERVE and IRC have confirmed that gender integration and financial management are critical in building competitive cooperatives” he added.
The Program Officer said the capacity building activities are focused on improved training modules in gender and finance for coop managers, women, and youth but also training and coaching on how to develop mainstream gender approach in the cooperative strategic plans.
“While implementing this new model, the pilot project is developing an improved gender and access to finance training modules, a facilitator guide, and a monitoring and evaluation approach to be used in future projects at scale” he added.
According to him, the coaching session held this month was around what gender and financial management concepts mean for coop members and how those concepts can be integrated.
“Themes like the basics of meeting conducting and association governance; the setting up of VSLA for the empowerment of women in cocoa-producing regions to help their husbands, support children were also discussed” he pointed out.