Cocoa farming in Ghana

Cocoa Life is an ambitious programme that is redefining how business, local institutions and international NGOs can work together to blend business sustainability and community development programmes. Led by Mondelēz International , this unique partnership is improving the livelihoods and living conditions of more than 200,000 cocoa farmers and around one million people in cocoa farming communities around the world.

VSO has managed Cocoa Life in the Eastern Region of Ghana since 2010. International and national volunteers are involved in improving the capabilities of government institutions and they support the delivery of Cocoa Life activities at a community level.

Work focuses on developing the business expertise and production techniques of farmers in order to increase their yields, supporting women and young people to become more involved in farming and to build their own businesses, developing community infrastructure, eliminating child labour and protecting the environment.

We were commissioned by VSO to produce a set of stories that brought these objectives to life and demonstrated the impact Cocoa Life is having. With stories of people like Freddy, whose increased yield means his children can now go to school, Grace, who has been trained to mentor women who are running small businesses, and Calvin, an ambitious graduate who wants more young people to go into farming, we put the human face on the strategic objectives.

Commenting on the stories Michael Mapstone, Head of Corporate Partnerships at VSO UK said:

“The stories that Catherine and Ben gathered illustrate just what sustainability and development mean in reality, for the people living in the cocoa communities. By using real people’s stories they have brought to life a complex partnership and helped to show in a meaningful way just how effective change can be when NGOs and business work together.”