Rainforest Alliance, an international non-governmental organization, along with its partners, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad Ghana, supported beneficiaries residing in seven communities: Asakyiri, Dejanso, Kusease, Subriso Savior, Asokore, Bodoma, and Aboaso in the Bekwai cocoa district in the Ashanti Region. This support, funded by NORAD, aimed to empower individuals to start their businesses, enhance living standards among vulnerable parents, diminish child labor in farming communities, and address school dropouts due to financial constraints.
Through the Baako Ye Cooperative, the support included starter packs for business initiation, as well as school bags, exercise books, pens, pencils, and cash for academically talented but financially needy students. These efforts were part of the “Ye Ne Yen Mmofra No Nti” project, which introduced the Human Rights Due Diligence Toolkit for cocoa cooperatives, mining firms, gold associations, and groups operating in the cocoa and gold sectors of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and globally.
Baako Ye Cooperative, having piloted the HRDD tool, identified individuals vulnerable to forced and child labor. Mr. Opoku Acheampong, President of Baako Ye cocoa farmers’ cooperative and marketing union, emphasized their focus on improving living conditions and health in under-served cocoa farming communities. He urged beneficiaries to responsibly use the donated items and funds for business, assuring consistent monitoring for project success.
Isaac Arhin, the union’s administrator, explained that support was tailored based on specific community or individual needs. Evelyn Babine, a board member, encouraged farmers in cocoa-growing communities to join beneficiary associations like Baako Ye to enhance their welfare, emphasizing the cooperative’s vision to uplift people out of poverty.
Joyce Poku-Marboah, Senior Project Manager of Ye Ne Yen Mmofra No Nti Project, expressed excitement about progress in eradicating child labor. She highlighted the project’s goal to create awareness, build resilience among vulnerable populations, and ensure sustained education by providing knowledge, skills, and resources for financial and social independence.
The Chiefs of the supported communities expressed gratitude to the Rainforest Alliance and partners for aiding vulnerable individuals and the community at large. They voiced hope that with continued support, they could generate income to support their families and train others for self-sufficiency.