Mars Wrigley, chocolate producing company’s fully funded five-year ‘Women for Change’ (W4C) project is making significant gains, financially empowering, particularly women in cocoa growing communities, in seven regions in the country.
Care International, a non-governmental organisation is implementing the W4C project in Bono, Ahafo, Western, Western North, Central, Eastern and Ashanti regions which aimed at strengthening financial literacy, household savings and women income generating activities in the beneficiary regions.
According to CARE the project implementation, spanning October 2020 to September 2025 would benefit 27,000 people, with about 80 percent of them being women.
It targets beneficiaries at Tuoton Cocoa operational areas, a company which buys and supplies Mars with cocoa for chocolate production.
Between October 2020 and December 2022, the project has directly reached 316 communities benefiting 12,805 cocoa farmers comprising 81 percent females and 19 males.
Additionally, it formed 540 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) with the associations saving a total amount of US$1,401,819.33 dollars and disbursing US$1,009,915.06 dollars within the period.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony held at Tweredua a farming community, near Antwikrom in the Sunyani Municipality, Mrs Berlinda Addison-Ansah, the Cocoa Sustainability Officer, Mars Wrigley, said the implementation sought further not only to improve gender equity within households and communities, but also to achieve tangible benefits like increased savings, skill enhancement, and income growth.
CARE organised the graduation which saw the passing out of 213 VSLAs established in the Bono and Ahafo Regions, as part of the W4C project implementation in the two regions with some of the beneficiaries engaged in soap and liquid soap production, snail rearing, mushroom production and pastries and other economic activities.
They successfully went through intensive training on income generating activities, healthy family nutrition and financial literacy education.
Mrs. Addisson-Ansah explained that implementation of the W4C model, which originated in Côte d’Ivoire focuses on four key areas namely financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, gender equity, and healthy families.
“Mars believes empowering women and girls in cocoa supply chains
remains critical to transforming the cocoa supply chain as it catalyzes progress towards increasing incomes, protecting human rights and preserving forests”, she stated.
Some of the beneficiaries lauded the implementation of the project and expressed appreciation to Mars and CARE, saying the project had given them insight and widened their scope of doing business.