Cargill has commissioned and handed over six schools to the Ministry of Education as part of its sustainability program. The schools comprise of 3 six-unit primary classrooms blocks, 2 two-units kindergarten blocks and 1 3-unit Junior High School block.
Five of the schools, are located in the cocoa growing belts of the Western and Western North Regions while one school block is located in Tema (Adjeikojo) where the company has its processing factory. In all, the schools will serve over thousand school-going children within these two areas for generations to come.
Commissioning the projects, the Director of Research at COCOBOD, Dr Francis Baah, who represented the CEO of COCOBOD, commended Cargill for the initiative and stressed the need for partnerships to improve educational infrastructure especially in deprived areas.
“What Cargill has done today is a demonstration of what we can do to improve the lots of children in deprived areas when government collaborates effectively with the private sector. I am particularly excited that the project targets vulnerable communities and provide the children of the farmers hope for a brighter future” Dr Baah remarked in a keynote address.
Cargill Ghana’s Managing Director, Aedo van der Weij, who underscored the purpose of the projects said Cargill view education as the foundation for the community, country and continent and wants to help set up children for a better future as it works to continuously reduce the risk of child labour. He thanked project partners, CARE International in Ghana, the Ministry of Education, COCOBOD and traditional authorities for their collaboration and assistance.
“Through our Cargill Cocoa Promise, we are focused on driving long term solutions with our partners to benefit farmers, their communities and natural ecosystems. The schools project under our community well-being strategy is critical in working towards thriving cocoa growing communities” Mr van der Weij said.
Every year, Cargill trains about 50 National Service persons at its plant in Tema. The school in Adjeikojo, Tema, is a further demonstration of the company’s desire to tap into the potential of education to build the foundation for transforming Tema into a food processing hub in West Africa.
For the five schools newly commissioned in the cocoa belts of the Western and Western North Regions, the aim is to help use education to support a better start in life for children in these cocoa growing communities.
Nana Bafour Awuah, Chief of Lineso, one of the beneficiary communities, expressed his appreciation to Cargill and emphasised how the project in his community opens up educational opportunities for his people.
“This building, I believe is going to let parents see the significance of education. I really appreciate the work that Cargill has done for my community” Nana Bafuor said.
Sustainability Country Lead of Cargill Ghana, Samuel Apana, who is responsible for implementing the company’s sustainability programs, explained that the schools project was born out of the company’s desire to provide value for the communities where they operate as well as a real need to target the children in these areas.
“As sustainability lead directly interacting with farmers, I am confronted with the gaps in school infrastructure in these areas and I know how this intervention is critical to the future of the children of cocoa farmers. These schools are part of the Cargill Cocoa promise which ultimate aim is to improve the livelihood of farmers. Working with our partners we dedicated ourselves to this project to make sure that the people of the cocoa growing areas in the Western and Western North and its environs as well as Adjeikojo can have decent school infrastructure for the next generation to benefit from” Mr Apana commented.
At two different commissioning ceremonies, the first being at Juabo in the Western Region and the second in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, the company used the opportunity to stress the importance of education as well as the dangers of child labour in the cocoa sector. It highlighted efforts being made together with relevant stakeholders to address the root cause of the problem which includes partnering with CARE International to tackle the development of school related infrastructure, rehabilitation and child labour sensitization.
With its Cargill Cocoa Promise program, the company continues to drive progress in the areas of farmer resilience, community well-being, environment, and transparency, delivering lasting impact across the value chain. Earlier this year, Cargill constructed and handed over ten (10) mechanized solar water systems to 10 cocoa growing communities in the Western North Region.
Cargill has also focused on farmer empowerment and together with government, supported and trained about 3000 farmers this calendar year to create 156 cooperatives working together to better address challenges.
In attendance at the commissioning ceremony in Tema was the Member of Parliament for Tema West, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, who inaugurated the Adjeikojo primary block and Rose Tchwenko, Country Director, CARE International in Ghana and Bram Wits, Agricultural Counsellor of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana and Nigeria. The Deputy Managing Director (Marketing), of the Cocoa Marketing Company, Fred Amponsah-Doku, also graced the occasion.
At Juabo, Gloria Biney-Gontor, Wassa Amenfi Central District Education Director; Omanhene of the Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area, Nana Tetrete Okuamoah Sakyim; Nana Bafour Awuah, Chief of Lineso; Nana Yaw Asuman, Chief of Fahiakobo; Nana Kwabena Armah, Chief of Fojourkrom; Nana Kwasi Sapaku, Chief of Afofiekrom; officials from COCOBOD; the implementation partner, CARE International in Ghana, Mercy Sika Krow, Programme Team Leader, Social and Women Economic Justice + Health Equity and Rights were present.