Reframed, cocoa & color by Joshua Kissi
In Tony’s Open Chain we are all connected.
From the cocoa farmers in West Africa to the serious friends who buy our chocolate. We know everyone by name.
We introduce to you Sarah, Jérôme, Eugénie, Didier, Martin, Assata, Emmanuel, Gaah, Romeo, Faustina, George, Daouda, Abraham and Stephen. Inspiring, successful, vibrant people working in cocoa in Ghana and Ivory Coast. And Rachid.. Sarah’s 6 year old son, who loves football and dancing.
They are Tony’s Chocolonely ambassadors for a more equally divided cocoa chain without child labour and modern slavery.
Abraham Gyimah Bugyei is Manager at SED Consult in Ghana. SED stands for ‘Sustainable Empowerment and Development’. He completed a Master of Philosophy in social work at the university of Ghana.
He has always felt very strong about orphans who are often not well looked after. Putting children in foster homes can be a solution but it’s better to look for solutions within their families or communities as this makes them less vulnerable to be exposed to child labour or other hurtful treatments.
Abraham works closely with Tony’s Chocolonely and their partner coop ABOCFA. He organizes capability building trainings for the board as well as the farmers and a financial literacy training for the farmers. Last year, he has set up a farmer saving program, so they don’t depend too much on cocoa.
He is a married man with two adopted children. ‘Life is all about making impact’, he says.
‘You don’t wait for your own children before you impact lives. We share our experiences with them, so they can become responsible adults.’
Assata Doumbia is the president of Tony’s Chocolonely’s partner coop ECAM in Ivory Coast. She cultivates cocoa and rubber herself.
‘I have a passion for setting-up projects that give women more authority in the communities. I travel often to find new partners so that we are financially independent and can realize all our plans.’
Her favorite project is the one that stimulates male members to handover part of their land to their wives to make the women more financially independent.
She is also running several projects to fight against child labour. Apart from the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), she has set up a school fund together with the Chocolonely Foundation. In addition, she has used the Tony’s premium to construct a school and distributed thousands of school kits and uniforms to stimulate the education of children.
‘We also do a lot of awareness-raising activities at schools and in communities through theatre shows. This is done by women, as there is a higher trust level. For children it’s like their mum is talking to them.’
George Odei Awuku is cocoa farmer and member of Tony’s Chocolonely’s partner coop ABOCFA in Ghana. He is involved in many other businesses, like wood carving, to earn a living. He also works as a midwife in his community, just like his mom. So far, he has delivered about 500 babies.
‘One of your hands cannot close the eyes of God.’
Which means that in life you must focus on multiple activities. He is part of the farmer group ‘Do-good’. They have many other business ideas that could positively impact the environment. Together, they created their own ‘go to hell’ tool, which is a farming tool that can be used to harvest cocoa. They will seek for ways to sell it on the market.
He uses the premium paid by Tony’s Chocolonely to take care of the family. Recently, the coop funded a clinic with premium money. Ever since, George has been less busy as a midwife.
‘Personally, I would love to open a herbal clinic.’
Stephen Ashia is manager of Tony’s Chocolonely’s partner coop ABOCFA in Ghana. His dad taught him to farm cocoa. His mum was a teacher and inspired him to go to teacher training college.
His passion for farming triggered him to go to the University of Cape Coast to study Agriculture. It’s tough… science, chemistry, biology and so much more.
‘But hey…, most of us have good jobs now. Some work for Cocobod, in the banking sector or abroad.’
Since a few years, he is the manager of a cocoa cooperative. It was a new position. The farmers are responsible for paying his salary of Tony’s premium. He was doubtful whether they were willing to do so. Now, years later he has achieved so much.
‘I am proud of the increase in members, productivity and the professionalization of the coop. We went from producing 50 tons to more than 1000 tons of cocoa a year. We have done some amazing projects together with Tony’s.’
Especially the rehabilitation of schools and the 100 weeks projects to stimulate female entrepreneurship had a great impact in the communities.
Joshua Kissi, NYC born photographer with Ghanaian roots, whose work is known for breaking with stereotypes and inequality, went to Ghana and Ivory Coast and reframed cocoa & color. The colorful frames symbolize the openness and different perspectives of the people in Tony’s Open Chain. We framed power, positivity and progress.
Next to all ambassadors captured by Joshua’s camera, the crew who made Reframed possible consisted of Joshua Kissi, assistant/stylist Nana Kwasi Wiafe, filmmaker David Boanuh, and Diara and Pascal from Tony’s Chocolonely
With African beats we danced at the cocoa farms, in the streets of Accra and Abidjan, in the cocoa warehouse in the harbour. We laughed, we learned and made many new friends.Wanna join in?