It’s International Women’s Day on March 8th – a celebration of women’s triumphs both small and great that have moved them further towards equality, and it's a rallying cry for how much there is still to do before women around the world can enjoy the same opportunities, choices and freedoms as men – one of the key objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Margret

 

women

Our Dark Chocoalte Hazelnut Truffle bar features the Women’s Training Program on the label. Read more about the Women's Training Program here.  

Divine Chocolate invests 2% of its annual turnover in programs and projects that support and empower women through good governance and research into innovative farming techniques.  One of the reasons Divine values and invests in these programs is because in many farming communities like the smallholder cocoa growers in Ghana, two of the key barriers holding women back from contributing and participating fully are lliteracy and innumeracy.  Without these skills, women farmers find it hard to assert themselves and take control over their cocoa sales.  

Last year we highlighted a new program of adult literacy and numeracy classes funded by Divine and implemented by Kuapa Kokoo and Twin, in collaboration with the Ghana Government’s Non-Formal Education department. The classes are very well attended, and even after just a few lessons, the women are already appreciating the impact.  Here’s the story of one of them: Margret Fianko
 
Margret Fianko lives in Aduyaakrom in the western region of Ghana and has been a member of Kuapa for 13 years. She is a mother of three children and shares a 7-acre farm with her husband, where the majority of land is dedicated to cocoa production. Margret says that “the best thing about being a Kuapa member is that they assist women a lot;” something of which she is taking full advantage.
 
Margret never attended school as a child, but  she is now a participant in a Divine-funded numeracy and literacy program managed by Kuapa Kokoo and facilitated by Ghana’s Non Formal Education Division.
 
“Before the course, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t read, and I couldn’t write,” Margret explained. “Now, I can recognize letters, and I can read."
 
She is also putting her newly learned numeracy skills to good use to record the expenditure and income of the market stall she runs. Margret is proud to report that she now knows how much money she makes, and she only spends the profit. Margret’s ambition is to one day be elected as a Kuapa recorder. A recorder is the person who is responsible for buying cocoa from other Kuapa members.  Margret is making good progress towards learning the skills necessary for this position.
 
As a member of a Kuapa women’s group, Margret is also part owner of a 1-acre community farm. When her women’s group first formed two years ago, the members were encouraged by Kuapa to start an income-generating activity. They chose a communal farm where they grow aubergines (eggplant) and okra to sell in the local market. Being a part of a women’s group also means that Margret has received training in the production of liquid soap and screen printing, other income-generating activities that supplement the income she earns from cocoa production.