The Corona virus is spreading on all continents and has landed in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, too. And that is bad news. The number of confirmed cases are in the hundreds, and rising, and governments have taken serious measures. Schools have closed, large gatherings are banned, big cities are in lockdown and travelling within the country is restricted.
In these turbulent times, it is even more important to support each other and reinforce stability, through long term commitments. The offices of the cooperatives and our partners in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have also now closed, just like ours. We are in close contact with the cooperatives and partners we work with in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, and we will navigate through this situation together. The upcoming Annual General Meetings are postponed until further notice and all community awareness sessions on child rights are suspended. Child labour monitoring and remediation activities continue in a limited way, taking all safety precautions into account.
For the cocoa farmers we work with, the corona virus is a real threat. Keeping social distance is even harder if you live in a small house with your extended family and have no way to stock up on groceries for a week. Even simple extra hygienic measures are difficult when you rely on communal water points and soap is a luxury. By putting up posters with health precautions, as well as handing out leaflets and locally-made soaps, we promote and support preventive measures. In addition, we are also leveraging the network of community facilitators and Tony’s ambassadors to raise awareness about the virus. Spread the word, not the virus!
Luckily the main crop season has finished, so the majority of this year’s cocoa has already been sold and shipped. We are paying the cooperatives the additional premium and have aligned with Fairtrade, so cooperatives can spend part of the premium on measures to fight the virus.
In these uncertain times we guarantee continuous long-term support and we remain – for now virtually – side-by-side with all the people we work with.