The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership has instituted the Cadbury Cocoa Ambassadors Programme that seeks to bring together groups of young and dynamic students in tertiary institutions to mentor other young people in cocoa growing communities.
The programme, which is a cocoa sustainability initiative of Kraft Foods, came into being after a study revealed that young people were losing interest in cocoa production,
It therefore became necessary to rally up young people who will pick up the mantle of educating their peers about the importance of cocoa production in both their tertiary institutions and the cocoa growing communities.
Currently, there are 10 Cocoa ambassadors from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University of Ghana Legon, the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS), the Garden City University College (GCUC) and Central University College (CUC).
Master Joseph Opoku and Miss Audrey Karen Gambrah, work in the Mpohor Wassa East District of the Western Region, Mr Isaac Asempah in the Fanteakwa District, Mr Calvin Doe in the New Juaben and Mr Ebenezer Annoh and Priscilla Oppong in the Amansie West District.
The rest are Miss Harriet Serwaa, working in Suhum Kraboa, and Nana Ama Addae-Boahene and Heather Asare-Awuku in the Asunafo North Municipality, where they are already making significant impact on the youth of the areas.
The main duty of the Cadbury Cocoa ambassadors is to create awareness about the cocoa value chain and the importance of cocoa production in both their schools and the communities in which they work.
The ambassadors are required to interact with the youth in both their schools and also go into the communities to talk to the students as well.
Some of the major activities undertaken by the ambassadors include the creation of awareness about cocoa through seminars in various schools and organising vacation work camps for tertiary students in the cocoa growing communities.
“By this, our ambassadors give opportunity to the students who have spent most of their life in the big cities to experience life in the cocoa growing communities. We also organised vacation schools for the pupils and the volunteer ambassadors try their best to teach, interact and mentor the pupils,” Ms Anita Adomako Ampofoa, Business Development Manager said.
The cocoa reading clubs in schools is also another initiative of the Cadbury Cocoa ambassadors formed across all the schools in the communities that the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership operates.
“We realised that reading was a major problem in almost all the schools in these communities. It was, therefore, important for the ambassadors to form a club where all the students can come together to learn how to read and also learn to express themselves better,” Ms Adomako stated.
Such reading clubs, had helped a great deal in dealing with some of the thorny issues such as the elimination of child labour in these communities, boost the pupils’ interest in cocoa production and also equip them with reading skills.
The voluntary cocoa ambassadors have also donated reading books to all participating schools to improve the reading skills of the students.
“By such modest interventions, we have really impacted the lives of most of the children because they now have personal books of their own to help them to learn how to read. Teachers have volunteered to serve as patrons of these clubs,” Ms Nana Ama Addae-
The ambassadors have also organised quizzes in all the seven districts and a major national quiz in Koforidua which was broadcast live on Radio Ghana.
The ambassadors have again helped the various schools in the cocoa growing areas to cultivate demonstration farms, where extension officers come round and educate them about good farming practices. This is also to whip up interests of the youth in the cocoa growing areas and also educate them more on the importance of cocoa.