Access to basic health care is critical for the wellbeing of rural West African cocoa communities. To help meet the need, The Hershey Company partnered with cocoa suppliers Blommer Chocolate and Olam Cocoa to fund and build a community health center in Cote d’Ivoire in the town of Teapleau on the Western side of the country. Cote d’Ivoire is one of the largest cocoa-producing countries in the world.
The recently opened health center is part of the Hershey Learn to Grow training and cocoa sustainability program that seeks to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and communities in West Africa. “Our programs go beyond helping farmers learn how to grow quality, sustainable cocoa,” said Terry O’Day, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. “We work with our partners to improve the wellbeing of all families through education and development projects that benefit everyone in the community.”
“In addition to the support of the individual farm, providing the opportunities necessary to help build thriving communities is critical to the long-term success of the farming sector. We share Hershey’s vision of benefiting thousands of lives,” said Kip Walk, corporate director for sustainability at Blommer.
Cocoa farmers around the town of Teapleau are part of the CARET Cocoa Cooperative and have been part of the Hershey Learn to Grow program for two years. In partnership with the local community and CARET Cooperative, Hershey, Blommer and Olam Cocoa built the health center based on the community needs as determined by the community members. The health center project was coordinated with the Ivorian government and the government will manage the staffing and long-term management of the facility.
In December, Hershey representatives placed the corner stone of a second health center scheduled for construction in 2016. This second center will be located outside the city of Man in the village of Siambly. This facility is expected to provide access to health services to 3,000 families in six communities.
In related news, Hershey confirmed that it had achieved its goal to source 50 percent of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable sources by the end of 2015, a full year ahead of its original schedule. Given this accelerated progress, the company has set a new target of sourcing 75 percent of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable sources by the end of 2017. Hershey has committed to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020.