The Beyond Chocolate Partnership aims to end deforestation linked to cocoa production for the Belgian market. To achieve this goal, the partnership can build on the work done by the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI). This initiative, which is co-facilitated by IDH and WCF, brings together leading chocolate and cocoa companies with producing country governments and local stakeholders with the goal of ending deforestation and restoring forest areas. One of the priorities of CFI is to sensitize landscape stakeholders to ensure that CFI commitments and what they mean in practice, are known and supported. In 2020, the CFI Secretariats in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire organized events that convened and sensitized local CFI stakeholders.
The CFI Landscape Level Forum in Ghana
In September 2020, the IDH Ghana office kicked off a series of landscape forums that had the goal of identifying and sensitizing key stakeholders in four Hotspot Intervention Areas (HIA). Targeted stakeholders included government institutions, traditional authorities, cocoa companies, NGO’s, CSO’s and Farmer groups.
During the forum, the CFI Secretariat provided key updates on the progress of CFI implementation and explained relevant CFI core commitments and their benefits for landscape stakeholders. The Secretariat was also receptive to the landscape stakeholders’ advice on how communication for community level sensitization could be best approached, thus emphasizing the intrinsic role that communities play in forest protection.
Glowen Kyei-Mensah, IDH Program Manager for CFI Ghana who was actively involved in the organization of these forums, states that she is happy with the results: “The forums more than satisfied our expectations. We wanted landscape stakeholders to agree on CFI sensitization messages and channels and replicate these in their daily work and activities. We do feel like at the end of the forums, participants did in fact gain a concrete understanding of their role within CFI and were of mutual agreement that this must be leveraged in order to reach out to the communities. The forums also clearly showed that stakeholders are very interested in the key commitments of CFI. They are eager to engage and contribute to the initiative at landscape level.”
The forums clearly showed that stakeholders are very interested in the key commitments of CFI. They are eager to engage and contribute to the initiative at landscape level.
“This platform CFI creates, brings together diverse stakeholders and facilitates dialogue and collaboration amongst them. This is the strength of the initiative”, Glowen states. “Multi-stakeholder platforms such as Beyond Chocolate have that same strength. They complement the work CFI is doing and accelerate participation and action towards forest protection, sustainable production and farmer livelihood.”
Sensitization Workshops, Côte d’Ivoire
In Côte d’Ivoire, a series of CFI awareness raising workshops was organized by a delegation from the CFI technical secretariat composed of representatives of the Ministry of Water and Forests, the Conseil du Café-Cacao and IDH. The main objective of these workshops was to generate ownership and support from local authorities in the implementation of activities in the CFI priority regions.
In total, more than 279 people participated in these workshops, including administrative and political authorities, village chiefs, youth and women representatives, civil society organizations, representatives of the cocoa and chocolate industry, and members of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Technical Secretariat.
Find out more about the CFI sensitization workshops in Côte d’Ivoire in the video below: