Tweredua (B/R), Sept. 20, GNA- CARE International, a non-governmental organisation, has held a graduation ceremony for 213 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in the Bono and Ahafo Regions under its Women for Change Project (W4C).
Mars Wrigley, an international organization with support from Tuoton Cocoa, is funding the implementation of the W4C programme, spanning October 2020 to September 2025 with the overall objective of expanding the village savings and loan initiative in Mars supplier cocoa communities.
It is being implemented in seven regions, including Bono, Ahafo, Western, Western North, Central, Eastern and Ashanti and it is expected to reach 27,000 cocoa farmers with 80 per cent of them being women.
The implementation of the project further sought not only to improve gender equity within households and communities, but also to achieve tangible benefits like increased savings, skill enhancement and income growth.
It, therefore, supported the VSLAs, with most of the beneficiaries engaged in soap and liquid soap production, snail rearing, mushroom production and pastries making and offered intensive training on some income generating activities, healthy family nutrition and financial literacy education.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony held at Tweredua, a farming community, near Antwikrom in the Sunyani Municipality, Mrs. Berlinda Addison-Ansah, the Cocoa Sustainability Officer, Mars Wrigley, commended the VSLAs and advised them to save more to expand their economic activities and improve their socio-economic lives.
The implementation of the W4C model, which originated in Côte d’Ivoire focuses on four key areas – financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, gender equity and healthy families.
Mrs. Addison-Ansah said Mars believed empowering women and girls in cocoa supply chains remained critical to transforming the cocoa supply chain as it catalyzed progress towards increasing incomes, protecting human rights and preserving forests.
“The well-being of women in cocoa communities is a critical link to family food security and nutrition, education and health. Put simply, when we empower women and when we support the livelihoods of women, communities can benefit and build resilience, including issues like
food insecurity,” she stated.
“Mars envisions a world where cocoa farming is truly inclusive, where resources are offered in a non-discriminatory manner and accessible to all cocoa farmers regardless of gender, and where women and girls in cocoa farming communities can reach their full potential,” Mrs. Addison-Ansah added.
To achieve the overall objectives of the W4C Project, CARE International rolled-out the W4C model to benefit 27,000 people within cocoa farming communities cutting across the supply chain of Mars.
According to CARE the VSLAs were seen as effective in empowering women and providing access to financial resources that families needed.
By supporting cocoa farming families to improve their income, CARE will contribute to reducing human rights risks in the supply chain, while also contributing to women’s social and economic empowerment.
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