The Jacobs Foundation, a charitable foundation which invests in the future of young people, has joined the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) as a Non-Profit Contributing Partner. The objective of the partnership is to promote innovation and knowledge in education and child protection and to increase ICI’s institutional capacity to drive collective learning processes that improve the lives of children and youth in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire.

ICI and the Jacobs Foundation have been working together since 2014, collaborating on child labour research and the roll-out of good practices in quality formal and non-formal education. ICI is an implementing partner for TRECC (Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities), a CHF 60 million Jacobs Foundation initiative. With co-funding from TRECC, Nestlé and Cargill, ICI is establishing bridging classes and vocational training for youth, as well as income-generating activities for women, in Cote d’Ivoire. In 2018, these activities will benefit almost 3000 women and children.

Maria Sawodogo (far right), 16 years old, receives vocational training through the TRECC programme and hopes to become an independent hairdresser.

Under this new CHF 300,000 partnership arrangement, the Jacobs Foundation will also build ICI’s internal capabilities to innovate, test, define and evolve good practices in tackling child labour and promoting children’s’ rights in cocoa. It will reinforce a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation function and will help train ICI’s staff and partners across various disciplines.

“Social transformation is only sustainable if organisations have the capacity, resources, and knowledge to drive them at all levels,” says Fabio Segura, Head of International Programs at the Jacobs Foundation. “Improving quality of education is essential to prevent child labour. ICI is a key partner in the goal of transforming rural livelihoods, and we are committed to supporting them with the resources to design and pursue their own educational agenda.”

“The Jacobs Foundation has over 25 years of first-hand knowledge and experience in promoting child and youth development, and we are extremely honoured to welcome them to our collaborative platform,” says Nick Weatherill, ICI’s Executive Director. “With this strategically focused support, we’ll be able to drive the innovation, collective learning and scale-up of good practices that are needed to address some of the cocoa sector’s most pressing sustainability challenges.”