In 2011, our CEO Sophi Tranchell and Communications Director Charlotte Borger visited Ghana for its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Read on below to learn more about their experience, as written by Charlotte.
It's AGM time again at Kuapa Kokoo. This is when the 45,000 farmer members get together to hear how the organisation and business is doing, celebrate achievements, and debate future issues. Kuapa’s chocolate company, Divine, is invited annually to report on its progress to its farmer owners.
Kuapa Kokoo organised its Annual General Meeting a bit differently this year. Instead of one enormous event with representatives from all 1,400 villages, members from each of the 54 districts now attend their own AGMs and then send representatives to the final AGM in Kumasi. This way, in smaller forums, more people can take part.
Sophi and I flew to Ghana to attend the final AGM and a week of meetings. I hadn't been to Ghana for 18 months, so I was very happy to see everyone again, and particularly to meet up with the farmers who have visited the UK over the years. Many of them, like Anna Awere and Kojo Aduhene Tano, are now on the National Executive Committee.
The AGM ran over two days at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, a great university campus with space for all the farmers to gather. Members are bussed into town, all looking fantastic in their best Kuapa outfits, and they come with a lot of energy and enthusiasm to participate and celebrate together.
Lots of impressive dignitaries also arrive, and Sophi and I are flanked by very stately men in full costume. There is a full program, including a comprehensive report on all the different parts of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, presentations on issues important to farmers, and a series of breakout workshops where specific issues are debated.
Farmers do not hold back from participating in these workshops and making their ideas and concerns known. Their views are then fed back into a plenary session.
Drummers and dancers entertain us during the breaks. And, slightly bizarrely, 'The Kings Speech' was shown as everyone arrived. And, of course, everyone got to enjoy some Divine Chocolate.
The AGM ended with votes, and Sophi and I were invited by the NEC to a great dinner dance complete with the Hi-Life band. Sophi was voted best dancer.