By: Oluwatosin Adesola
A world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products firm, known as Barry Callebaut Nigeria has donated school kits and learning materials to over 330 pupils in cocoa producing communities in Ondo and Cross river states.
The school project was carried out under Barry Callebaut Back to School kits initiative, as part of its social responsibilities to cocoa farmers and their children.
According to the organisation, the pupils were drawn from five communities in Ondo State and six communities in Cross River state.
The Back to School kits donation through Cocoa Horizon sustainability program, the Barry Callebaut Nigeria Cocoa and Chocolate is kick-starting distribution of school kits to children of cocoa farmers in Ondo and Cross-River states under a community-based child labour protection initiative in cocoa farming communities.
Some of the schools in Ondo State that benefited from the initiative included: St. Williams R.C.M, primary school, Akure; St. James Ang primary school, Oda; CARING HEART MEGA PRIMARY SCHOOL, Akure; St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary School, Elegbeka-Olufa, and MOUNT CARMEL R.C.M PRIMARY SCHOOL, Akure.
During the distribution of the learning materials to the pupils at their various schools in Ondo State on 10th October, 2023, the Sustainability Operations Manager of Barry Callebaut Nigeria, Mr Mujeeb Oniyide said the scheme was targeting at encouraging children’s education in the cocoa producing states.
According to the Sustainability Operations Manager of Barry Callebaut Nigeria, Mr Mujeeb Oniyide, the back to school kits initiative provides quality educational items like school bags, lunch box bags, notebooks, writing materials, mathematical sets, water bottles and sporting items to schools for over 330 children in 11 communities in Ondo and Cross-Rivers states.
Oniyide said with schools and children benefiting from this educational gesture will encourage many farmers and people living in the communities to understand importance of education, encourage their children to attend school regularly and see the reason child labour should be totally discouraged at cocoa farms.
Oniyide said, “through Cocoa Horizon sustainability program, the Barry Callebaut Nigeria Cocoa and Chocolate is kickstarting distribution of school kits to children of cocoa farmers in Ondo and Cross-River states under a community-based child labour protection initiative in cocoa farming communities.
“The back to school (kits) initiative provides quality educational items like school bags, lunch box bags, notebooks, writing materials like pen, pencil, eraser, sharper, ruler, mathematical sets, water bottles and sporting items to schools for over 330 children in 11 communities (5 communities in Ondo State and 6 communities in Cross-Rivers).
“This is a community-centric approach that is essential to create empowered communities, supporting cocoa farmers and making lasting change for the future of the children through the human right due diligence pillar of our Forever Chocolate strategy.
“Forever Chocolate is our plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm across our supply-chain. Launched in 2016, the Forever Chocolate targets for 2025 are unique in terms of ambition in the cocoa and chocolate industry.
“We have sharpened our 2025 target, committing to covering our entire supply chain with Human Rights Due Diligence. This includes the continued monitoring and remediation of child labor cases. At the same time, we are adding a target for 2030, supporting cocoa farming communities to protect child rights and prevent child labor from occurring.
“This approach focuses on the adoption of child- centric due diligence systems in cocoa farming communities, empowering communities to protect child rights.
“This means early recognition of children at risk of being involved in the worst forms of child labor and action to mitigate these risks. Forever Chocolate is focusing on four pillars, addressing the material challenges in the cocoa and chocolate supply chain: Prospering farmers, human rights due diligence, thriving nature and sustainable ingredients.
“Barry Callebaut Nigeria Cocoa and Chocolate is committed to make sustainable chocolate the norm by ensuring future supplies of cocoa and improving farmer livelihoods in rural settlement where cocoa are sourced and at the same time support the national economic plans for the country.
“It is our understanding that schools and children benefiting from this gesture will encourage many farmers and people living in the communities to understand importance of education, encourage their wards to attend school regularly and see the reason child labour should be totally discouraged on our cocoa farms.
“About Barry Callebaut Group:
The Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds.
“The Group runs more than 50 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of more than 9,000 people.
“The Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers.
“The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut and Cacao Barry.The Barry Callebaut Group is committed to sustainable cocoa production to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods.
“It supports the Cocoa Horizons Foundation in its goal to shape a sustainable cocoa and chocolate future. About the Cocoa Horizons (www.cocoahorizons.org): The Cocoa Horizons was formally established in 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland with the mission to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity and community development.
“Cocoa Horizons is Barry Callebaut’s global initiative to ensure sustainable cocoa production by working with farmers to enhance yields and quality, training the next generation of cocoa farmers, and improving access to clean water, quality education and basic healthcare for cocoa farmers and their families,” said Mujeeb Oniyide.
Responding, the Headteacher of St James Anglican Primary School Oda town in Akure South council area, Mrs Janet Ibitoye, expressed appreciation to Barry Callebaut for the gesture.
One of the parents and Parents Teachers Association, PTA Chairman of ST William’s primary school, in Akure South, Mr Bolaluwa Musa described the initiative of Barry Callebaut as timely especially during the current economic situation.