Partnership to empower women in cocoa growing communities
DOVE Chocolate and CARE have announced the next phase of their partnership to empower women in the cocoa growing communities of Cote d'Ivoire.
Last week, just days before International Women's Day, the first stone was laid on a new marketplace for women-led businesses in the village of Gueyo, a centrally-located commerce area nestled among the cocoa fields of Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa. The official ceremony was attended by 1,000 women and entrepreneurs, some of whom will have a new space within the market. Also in attendance were local dignitaries.
"It is a monumental day for all of us at DOVE Chocolate as we break ground on a new marketplace in Gueyo," said Leslie Philipsen, Brand Director, DOVE Chocolate. "This effort is a natural evolution of our partnership with CARE, and another step towards realising our vision of financially independent and empowered women, which in turn benefits cocoa communities like Gueyo."
The new marketplace will open in July and provide space for women to sell their goods daily. The reinforced structure will provide protection from the elements, a major improvement from the outdoor stalls used before. Connected to the electricity grid, the marketplace will offer lighting for safety and added longevity should women choose to extend their work day. New meeting space will allow women to organise training, run operational meetings and be available for rent as another form of income. The marketplace infrastructure will also include new latrines and handwashing stations.
"There is a palpable excitement within the Gueyo community as we embark on this market build and opening," said Guillaume Aguettant, Country Director for CARE in Cote d'Ivoire. "As in the United States, International Women's Day is widely celebrated by both the women and men in Cote d'Ivoire. Today is all about the national pride we have for these women and the commitment they've made to themselves to gain financial independence."
The DOVE Chocolate partnership with CARE, a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty, has operated since 2015. The continued partnership between DOVE Chocolate and CARE is part of the commitment by Mars, Incorporated, to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and to achieve its Sustainable in a Generation Plan ambitions.