After my Coca Cola emergency in this cocoa tropical paradise, my colleagues took me to see a newly built school funded by Godiva Chocolates.
In 2007, nearly one in two children did not attend primary school in Cote d’Ivoire. Lack of infrastructure, inadequate facilities and a shortage of teachers resulted in low school enrollment.
Also, because cocoa production is labor intensive and farm wages are low, the use of child labor is widespread, keeping children out in the fields working with their parents rather than in school. .
Over the past decade, however, Cote d’Ivoire has made huge strides to eradicate child labor in the cocoa regions and to increase child education, especially for girls. In fact, in recent years the government has implemented a series of ambitious reforms, including a 2015 law that made school attendance compulsory for all children ages 6-16 and significantly increased education spending.
Now, according to UNICEF, 89 percent of girls transition successfully from primary to secondary school. That’s an impressive outcome.
Investing in girls education transforms lives. All lives. Including the boys they raise. Talk about girl power!