Funding from a CABOZ Sourcing customer in Germany means we can continue the AVEC/AGR project (savings groups and income-generating activities) we started in 2019 with the support of, first of all, the Jacobs Foundation and then the Rainforest Alliance, as well as CABOZ AG.
We have also begun planning a 14-day trip to Côte d’Ivoire in February 2024, which will include visits to some of CABOZ Action’s projects. If you are interested, please contact Marie-Louise Nussbaumer for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
We were delighted to confirm the election of Markus Berwert as our new treasurer at our committee meeting on 13 July. Markus recently retired as Managing Director of the Central Swiss Football Association, so we are hoping he will inspire some new projects with football for young people.
The highpoint of the month was the inauguration of the new drinking water system for the health clinic in Zougou Kouassikro on 20 June. Once again we were able to rely on the competent work of CK Enterprise in drilling for water and installing a foot pump with good quality drinking water. The health workers as well as the people in Zougou and surrounding villages celebrated this milestone together with the representative of the local sub-prefect and the staff from CABOZ Action and SCOPACI. Many thanks again to our sponsors Vives, Gemeinde Obersiggenthal and the church community in Ftan-Guarda–Ardez for their generous support. The pump means that people, in particular women and girls, no longer have to walk so far to fetch water.
The inauguration took place on the same day as the school prize-giving. Kathrin Heitz Tokpa, the president of our Ivorian counterpart, CABOZ Action Côte d’Ivoire, gave the three best pupils in each class a small gift to encourage them. Her presence was a good opportunity to hold the Associations’s Annual General Meeting, which 13 people attended. They set the membership fee and elected the committee of six.
Back in Switzerland, CABOZ Action had a small stand with our new poster at the Festival of Nations in Nussbaumen on 18 June.
Our 11th AGM took place in Baden on 10 May. We were delighted to welcome Jey Wegner and Nathalie Windlin as new committee members. Nathalie gave an interesting presentation about her Masters project on the attitudes of cocoa farmers to shade trees on their cocoa plantations. Before we rounded off the evening with a fine meal, Kathrin Heitz Tokpa shared her enthusiasm about how well some of our projects are going and told us about plans for the coming year.
Under shade trees – about shade trees:
An interview by Belmando Loukou (translator & sociology PhD student) during a survey of SCOPACI persimmon farmers.
At this year’s SchoggiFestival in Zurich we are organizing a live online interview with Kathrin Heitz Tokpa, the president of CABOZ Action Côte d’Ivoire. On 26 March at 13:00 summer time we will discuss the “Risks of child labour in the cocoa industry – what can be done? (taking place in German) and would love to meet any members and friends in person there. Come and enjoy some very special chocolate and cocoa juice at the festival. And try out some ‘savon noir’, a black soap made from burnt cocoa husks and palm kernel oil by members of one of the savings groups CABOZ Action supports.
The Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs, in French AVECs) have proved to be very popular. With the support of the Rainforest Alliance and CABOZ AG, we were able to help set up 6 new VSLAs at the beginning of the year – 4 in Soubré and 2 in Duekoué. With the groups in Duekoué, we are experimenting with setting up school funds to help parents equip their children with what they need when the school year starts.
Having good relations with the local state authorities is essential for the long-term acceptance of CABOZ Action’s work and is particularly important in preventing the risks of child labour. Our team has therefore informed the Centre for Social Work (Centre Social) of the Platform “Système d’Observation et de Suivi du Travail des Enfants en Côte d’Ivoire” (SOSTECI) and the prefecture in Soubré about our project with the Rainforest Alliance and the new approach we are taking to address this sensitive issue. We are now in a better position to cooperate with state agencies should we encounter human rights violations or cases of hardship.
In November, about 30 CABOZ Action and SCOPACI staff members were trained by specialists from Rainforest Alliance on the basics of child labour prevention and the organisation’s “assess and address” approach. It is based on risk assessment, prevention and constructive problem solving through cooperative-based committees. Accordingly, three committees each will be established in Soubré and Duekoué, over the coming months: (1) Risk Assessment and Mitigation Committee, 2) Gender Issues Committee, 3) Grievance Committee. For the associated baseline study, the trained facilitators have already interviewed 1/3 of the approximately 1600 producers of SCOPACI, using a jointly developed questionnaire for risk assessment at household level.
Following a request from the residents of Marcelinkro, we installed two 6000-L rainwater-collection tanks by the school, and solar panels on the roof to power the pump and UV-lamp kindly donated by Aqua Pura together with their Waterflow microfilter system. With the support of Fulbert, our project manager in the region, the villagers set up a water committee, which helped install the water system and is responsible for maintaining it. The committee also collect the small fees families pay to use the water to cover the cost of repairs. The children and teachers at the school, which the villagers built themselves, now have access to clean drinking water.
We are delighted that Nathalie Windlin and Jey Wegner are happy to be nominated to join the committee and are already helping with CABOZ Action projects. Elections for the committee will, however, not take place until the AGM, which will probably be in May 2023.
resident in Zurich
Nathalie Windlin is an agronomist and works at Bio Suisse on the further development of the guidelines for tropical crops.
Resident in Berlin
J Wegner is a freelance social impact and Media Viability consultant & researcher – Passionate about reimagining the development space.
Start of the Rainforest Alliance project with village savings and loan groups (AVEC), income-generating activities (AGR) and a new programme for reducing the risk of child labour. 8 new facilitators including 2 women have now been selected and trained. We are grateful to the Rainforest Alliance and CABOZ AG for their support.
Visitors to our stand at the Festival of Nations on 12 June in Nussbaumen enjoyed tasting CABOZ cocoa juice made from fresh cocoa pulp. We also sold some Ivorian soap women from Western Côte d’Ivoire made from burnt coffee and cocoa husks. Producing the soap could be a new income generating activity for AVEC (savings and loan groups) participants.
Our 10th annual general meeting took place in Baden on 28 May 2022. Kathrin Heitz Tokpa, who is president of CABOZ Action Côte d’Ivoire and who lives in Abidjan, gave an inspiring talk on our savings and loans groups (AVEC) project, and the income generating activities they have enabled participants to start.
Looking back, we are confident CABOZ Action has had a positive impact in the cocoa villages over the past 10 years. Examples are:
- The drinking-water systems we have installed in five villages. Local committees are now in charge of their maintenance, but can call on our two project officers for support if necessary.
- The income-diversification project has trained over 500 young people in the cocoa villages to set up very small, local businesses. This has led to some exciting new ventures, ranging from selling second-hand clothes to food stands and grinding cassava.
We celebrated these achievements with some delicious Ivorian food and cocoa juice made from fresh CABOZ cocoa. Now we can look forward to continuing our work with the support of CABOZ and the Rainforest Alliance, and to building up the local association of CABOZ Action in Côte d’Ivoire.
Photo (from l to r): Kathrin Heitz-Tokpa, Joel Diet Bohon, Silvia Dingwall and Marie-Louise Nussbaumer.
The Swiss ambassador Anne Lugon-Moulin (L in photo) visited our AVEC savings groups in Cabozkro near Soubré, and learned about some of the very small businesses the group had set up, such as grinding cassava.
Pump (nearly 50 m deep) for drinking-water installed in Diégokro. CABOZ Action Côte d’Ivoire, Kathrin Heitz Tokpa, (President CA CI) visits this and 2 other villages in Duékoué with Lydie, who is responsible for our activities in the region. Kathrin was impressed by the dynamism of the village loan and savings groups.
Latest newsletter: December 2023
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