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Initiative Rescue Cacao builds Cooperative Members Capacity on gender and finance for cocoa farmers.

Program Officer of Initiative Rescue Cacao, Mr. Hamed Diarasouba has expressed that effective cooperatives are the key to healthy sustainability in the cocoa industry.

He made these remarks during a donation to 5 Cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire which was organized by Initiative Rescue Cacao (IRC) in partnership with the Sector Partnership program.

Mr. Diarasouba indicated that effective cooperatives would benefit both men and women in the cocoa production industry.

“The Sector Partnership Program together with our implementation partner, Initiative Rescue Cacao has enhanced the capacity of 5 cocoa Cooperatives under the joint cooperative which has improved training model pilot project to facilitate gender inclusiveness in Cooperatives management,” he said.

He indicated that because of the COVID-19 pandemic Coops have been forced to suspend their regular activities to preserve themselves and their communities due to the safety protocols. Mr. Diarasouba said in order to help the 5 Coops to continue their activities in a safe manner, Initiative Rescue Cacao (IRC) has donated sanitary materials including washing kits, face masks, 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.

“Although there are research and experience implementation 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 not only 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 to develop 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 a larger 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 and support their children were also discussed” he pointed out.