The Ivorian village Biéby is located about 100 kilometers northeast from the port and business hub Abidjan. We support Biéby through the ECHOES (Empowering Cocoa Households with Educational Solutions) programme established by the World Cocoa Foundation. The programme aims to provide the youth in the farming community with vocational training in cocoa cultivation in connection with other school education. Traditionally, the skills of cocoa farming are passed from generation to generation while working and many children of farming communities who have grown up on cocoa farms become cocoa farmers as adults.
Vocational training in connection with other school education
Fazer has sponsored the Biéby village since 2007. During this time, in accordance with the teaching of the ECHOES programme:
- 560 young people have received training in cocoa farming
- 100,200 cocoa trees have been planted on 55 new cocoa plantations
- Biéby Junior High School has been built and opened its doors to the children of the community.
First secondary school in Biéby
As part of the 90th anniversary of Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate in 2012, Fazer raised 139,000€ to build the first and only secondary school in Biéby. Construction of the school began in the autumn of 2012 and in June 2013, a team of Fazer employees travelled to the Ivory Coast to attend the opening ceremony. Around 1,000 community members and representatives of Fazer, the Ivorian government, World Cocoa Foundation, implementing partners and school leadership took part in the opening ceremony of Biéby Junior High School.
The school has four classrooms, five administrative rooms, two washrooms and four latrines. In addition, the project provided school benches, chairs, desks with drawers and filing cabinets. School also has a small cocoa farm where the student will have the possibility to learn sustainable cocoa farming and correct care of the trees. The secondary school will be part of the public school system of Ivory Coast.
Empowering cocoa communities through education
The first secondary school in Biéby offers the possibility for youth from 12 to 16 year olds to continue studying in their home village. It brings a visible improvement in their school education, as previously there has not been a school for this age group. In Biéby many of the students completing primary school were forced to stay at home instead of continuing their studies as there was no secondary school close to their homes.
WCF ECHOES aims at improving access to education for the children, youth and young adults living in cocoa farming communities in Ivory Coast and Ghana. Being able to continue studying gives the community’s youth an opportunity to learn new skills for future careers, which can lead to higher income levels and better living standards.