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Fairtrade Africa, Ben & Jerry transform lives of women and youth in Agbengourou



Fairtrade Africa, Ben & Jerry, women, youth, Agbengourou

Fairtrade Africa Programme Manager Chris Oluoch and Head of Region for West Africa, Edward Akapire, paid a field visit to CAPRESSA, a Fairtrade certified producer organisation in Agbengourou Cote d’Ivoire, together with Fairtrade Africa staff, Anne Marie Yao Dje, Sonndia Polneau, and Caroline Sang. Tizie, a representative from the Youth Employment Agency, and Camara Moussa, representative of CEESAP was also present.

CAPRESSA cooperative one of the 4 cooperatives on the Transform Project which is a capacity building and income diversification project for women and youth in Ben & Jerry cooperatives.

The programme is being implemented by CEESAP. Under the programme, the community received a drilling pump with a capacity of 30 m3/h, for potable water for cassava processing and also for household use. Before the construction of the borehole, the women group had started cassava processing but had to stop due to shortage of potable water.

Under the project also, the women have set up a cassava processing unit for making Attiéké (a local Ivorian staple) with the help of an expert and also through a peer- to peer learning approach. Through the project, working capital of 4,312,848 XOF (the equivalent of approximately EUR 6,575) was disbursed by Ben & Jerry for the processing of 5.6 tons of cassava into 2.6 tons of attiéké.

The attiéké processed has a shelf- live of 3 months, which helps in preservation and also ensures that food wastage and resulting income losses is minimised. The processing plant has helped to improve the incomes of the women in the cooperative. Prior to this, even when they had the opportunity to make some attiéké, it couldn’t be kept more than one week because they did not have the best method of processing.

103 women and 80 young people have also been trained on making business plans, business creation and the implementation of income generating activities for 4 cooperatives. For CAPRESSA cooperative, 1 group of 9 women and 12 young people have been trained and financed. Out of 20 young people trained in total.

Women also now know the importance of marketing and are marketing their produce. Through the trainings received, the women have plans to open shop and also export their products. 12 young people also received a total grant of 1,929,239 XOF (the equivalent of approximately EUR 2,941.10)  for financing their income generating activities.

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Addressing the women during the visit, Yao Yao Nestor, Chairman of the cooperative said: “To women and young people, you are role models for your community today. Build your wealth because wealth is not acquired, it is built. Build on all the training you have received through Fairtrade and Ben & Jerry’s”.

In his remarks, Chris Oluoch, Programme Director for Fairtrade Africa said: “Youth empowerment and gender empowerment is about sustainable economic growth. We cannot talk about sustainability without empowerment of these categories’’

Aissata Miningou is one of the youth, representatives said: ‘’Thank you to Fairtrade, Ben&Jerry’s, CEESAP and CAPRESSA for the opportunity you gave us, young people of Abengourou, to fight poverty”

Ben & Jerry is a leading confectionary company sources Fairtrade certified cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire. Fairtrade Africa continues to partner with the company to address issues of living income by empowering women and youth through income and product diversification initiatives.

Fairtrade Africa remains committed to empowering producer organisations in line with its 2021- 2025 strategy which focuses on Product and Market Development; Policy and Advocacy; Sustainable Farming Systems; and Transformed and Strengthened Producer Organisations.