News 21 April 2017

Building school canteens in cocoa-growing communities: the Swiss embassy signs a partnership agreement with ICI

DSC04136

ICI National Coordinator Côte d’Ivoire, Euphrasie Aka, with Swiss Ambassador Thomas Litscher.

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and the Swiss Embassy today signed a partnership agreement for the construction of school canteens in two cocoa-growing communities. These school canteens will be built in the communities of Banguehi (Sub-Prefecture of Khen), in the department of Bangolo, and Kouadio-Langokro (Sub-Prefecture of Bonikro), in the department of Djékanou, supplementing the ongoing initiative to build in each of these schools 7 classrooms using Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEBs).

Beyond the funding of the infrastructures, the document signed by the Swiss Embassy and ICI is a clear indication of the interest of both partners in the development of children in general and the fight against child labour in cocoa-farming areas.

“This is the first time that we have entered into this important field, the cocoa production value chain. And because our means are limited, we like to work where the needs are blatant, and with credible partners who have proved themselves and have a successful working history, such as ICI,” said SEM. Thomas Litscher, the Swiss ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, welcoming this nascent collaboration.

Mrs Euphrasie Aka, the National Coordinator and Regional Representative of ICI, also welcomed the willingness of the Swiss embassy to accompany ICI in the implementation of its activities for the benefit of vulnerable populations in the cocoa-growing communities.

“I would like to thank you for this opportunity that you have offered us. We are impressed by your readiness to take up the challenge of access to education for vulnerable children in cocoa-farming areas. You have made it possible to explore the opportunities for partnership with ICI. We all know how important education is in the fight against child labour and, like you, I am optimistic that today marks the start of a lasting collaboration. Rest assured that we shall make every effort to make this agreement a reality while respecting the required standards in the matter, with regard not only to the management of the funds but also to the quality of the buildings that will be erected for the benefit of the children,” she said.

The project to build the school canteens was launched in April 2017 and is scheduled for completion in August 2017.