Raising awareness on human rights in cocoa farming communities is the mission given to members of Human Rights Committees, created within the framework of The Hershey Company's Cocoa for Good strategy, in partnership with the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, set up and implemented on the ground by Barry Callebaut, and trained with the support of ICI.
In an effort to ensure long-term sustainability of the system and promote autonomy at the cooperative level, the Human Rights Committees were set up so that cooperatives can manage their child labour monitoring and remediation systems independently and have been designed to help ensure that human rights risks in the cocoa supply chain, the most salient of which are the worst forms of child labour, are identified and addressed.
Established in 2022, the committees, made up of cooperative delegates and members, will help monitor and ensure that human rights are respected in cocoa-growing communities. To this end, members of the Human Rights Committees from twenty cooperatives were trained on the themes of labour law, workers' rights, violence and harassment at work, child labour, forced labour and awareness raising techniques, among other subjects, at workshops held in Divo, Soubré, Duékué, Adzopé and Daloa in Côte d'Ivoire.
"This training was an opportunity for us to have all the information necessary to make these human rights committees function well within our cooperatives," said Konan N'Guessan Alphonse, member of the Human Rights Committee of the Yamoussoukro Coffee-Cocoa Producers' Cooperative (SOCOPROY-CA).
In the same vein, Gnéba Fabienne, member of the Human Rights Committee of the Agricultural Producers' Cooperative of Cacaokro of Diès (COOP-CA CPACD) underlined the importance of the training: "We are in a rural area and for many of us, we do not know our rights. Today, having been trained, I am now ready to return to the section to train these people so that they can also know their rights."
The Hershey Company, The Cocoa Horizons Foundation and Barry Callebaut have committed to take action on human rights. The Human Rights Committees have been set up to strengthen human rights due diligence (HRDD) at the cooperative level. This project also puts the organisations in pole position as it already addresses the requirements of the upcoming EU legislation, which obliges companies to set up systems to identify, prevent, mitigate, respond and report on human rights risks and impacts related to their operations and supply chains. Following the training, the participants will continue with awareness raising activities in their communities using the tools provided.