Empowerment Plan for Female Farmers
3rd June 2015 Paul Andrews
Family owned Mars Chocolate announces two new partnerships.
Mars Chocolate has announced plans to work with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and CARE International on two new projects to empower women in cocoa communities. The partnerships are part of the Mars Women’s Empowerment Plan , which has specific commitments to empower women economically and socially.
This project with CARE will work in over 25 cocoa communities to provide loans and access to finance for women. Within these communities, the project will also focus on engaging the entire community in dialogues to change the way women are culturally treated within the household and the community.
“Our pending partnership with Mars Chocolate will not only empower women, but also will engage men and boys on gender equality. This builds on our research and experience that to reach transformative change, we have to tackle the underlying causes that limit women’s empowerment, and influence the structures which inhibit their participation in cocoa farming communities,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, CEO and President of CARE.
Beginning in June 2015, ICRW will study global evidence on what works to empower women economically, with a focus on agricultural supply chains. They will also help Mars Chocolate develop a framework for monitoring progress on women’s empowerment as we transition and scale up these programs.
“Mars is committed to improving the lives of women cocoa farmers and strengthening and broadening the impact of their programs. As the world’s leading applied research institute focusing on women and girls, ICRW is excited to partner with Mars to monitor and measure the impact of their women’s empowerment plan,” said Katherine Fritz, Director of Global Health and Development at ICRW.
The Women’s Empowerment Plan focuses on communities participating in the flagship demonstration project Vision for Change (V4C), in Côte d'Ivoire. The plan includes commitments on training women, helping them diversify their incomes, increasing their leadership and participation in community development and engaging the broader community to support women.
“The challenges for women in sustainable agriculture and cocoa in West Africa, particularly, are complex,” said Sarah Schaefer, Director of Sustainability at Mars Chocolate. ”As we work to deliver mutual benefits throughout our supply chain, gender empowerment needs to be one of our key strategies. We are thrilled to partner with CARE International and International Center for Research on Women, who will bring their expertise to our programs to ensure that we can make a meaningful difference and deliver impact on the ground.”
About Vision for Change (V4C)
V4C is Mars Chocolate’s flagship demonstration program in the Soubré region of Cote d’Ivoire. It helps farmers become more productive, working through our network of Cocoa Development Centers (CDCs) and Cocoa Village Centers (CVCs) in partnership with international donor agencies, governments and suppliers. CDCs serve as a distribution and training hub, providing agricultural training, good quality plants, fertilizers and pesticides to farmers. In some areas, CDCs are linked with CVCs – small independent businesses run by local entrepreneurs trained by a CDC. The CVCs sell approved plants and train smaller farmers.
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world including M&M’S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN’S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 75,000 Associates across 73 countries are united by the company’s Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company.