In 2009, Comfort Kumeah, the National Secretary of Kuapa Kokoo, completed a 10-day visit to the United States in order to invite more Americans to become everyday advocates for Divine. She was joined on her visit by Mr. Buah, then-President of Kuapa Kokoo, and Mr. Aduse-Poku, Kuapa’s then-Managing Director.
Here are some of the major highlights from the trip, which included stops in Washington, D.C., Austin, TX, and Chicago:
- Met with the president of Lutheran World Relief, an investor in Divine in the USA
- Met with students at Silver Spring International Middle School -- they had been conducting research projects about Kuapa Kokoo
- Visited St. Austin Catholic Parish -- Elizabeth Cole and the women of St. Austin organized a presentation where Comfort explained how Kuapa Kokoo operates and the impact Kuapa has been able to have in communities through the investment of their Fair Trade premiums.
(In partnership with Catholic Relief Services, Elizabeth traveled to Ghana in 2007 where she met Comfort in her village. Comfort arranged for students in the parish school in TX to exchange letters with school children at the school in Mim.)
- Visited 150+ students at St. Austin and St. Teresa middle schools -- she talked about the hard work required to grow quality cocoa and reminded students that it is up to them to ask for Fair Trade products in the community as a way to ensure farmers get a fair deal.
- Visited Whole Foods Market HQ -- she addressed 50 members on the WFM corporate team. She explained that through Kuapa Kokoo’s commitment to democracy and fairness, women cocoa farmers have been afforded the same opportunities as men.
She also shared that because Kuapa Kokoo owns Divine, she has been able to travel to the USA and the UK to encourage people to support Kuapa Kokoo’s efforts to empower cocoa farmers in Ghana. Comfort made sure the WFM team understood and could pronounce Kuapa Kokoo’s slogan: Papapaa – which means “the best of the best!”
- Met with John Henry Assabill, president of the Ghana National Council (A coalition of eleven Ghanaian associations in the Chicago area) -- The Council sponsors GhanaFest, a local festival bringing people to Washington Park to celebrate Ghana with traditional dance, food and music.
- Visited the Little Black Pearl on the south side of Chicago, a nonprofit community arts center providing opportunities in the arts and business to community youth. Divine Chocolate is sold in their youth-run café.
- Site-seeing at Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, and Barack Obama’s house (Comfort wanted to take a look!)