ECHOES Meeting in Accra, Ghana
Entry: Bill Guyton
On March 9th, Charlie Feezel from World Cocoa Foundation met with our partners in Accra, Ghana to discuss progress on the "Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions" (ECHOES) program. This public-private partnership is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with private sector support from Mars Incorporated, Kraft Foods, The Hershey Company, Starbucks Coffee Company, ED&F Man, Olam International Ltd, Fazer Chocolate, Norwegian Association of Chocolate Manufacturers, and teh Jacobs Foundation. We are pleased to partner with IFESH and Winrock in the implementation of the program, and to have the active support from Ministries of Education in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Below is an article written in the Ghanaian Journal, with highlights from the meeting. Our special thanks to Mrs. Josephine Kuffour-Duah, National Community Participation Coordinator of the Basic Education Division of the Ghana Education Service (GES), for helping to host the meeting.
By William Beeko
The World Cocoa Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Winrock International and ECHOES (Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions), has held a stakeholders meeting in Accra, with the aim of strengthening cocoa growing communities by expanding opportunities for the youth and young adults through relevant cocoa farming education.
The meeting brought together participants from the Non Governmental Organization sector and high profiled people who are concerned about the plight of cocoa farmers and cocoa production in West Africa.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by the National Community Participation Coordinator of the Basic Education Division of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs. Josephine Kuffour-Duah, the Minister of Education Mr. Tetteh Enyo said since the year 2007, the Basic Education Division (BED) of the Ghana Education Service has been collaborating with ECHOES to access the ECHOES programme in Ghana.
She said the BED involved itself greatly in the initial stages of the inception of the laudable ECHOES programme.
She indicated that the division has watched it carefully to grow and nurturing it into a successful and useful programme for some selected schools in some communities of the cocoa growing areas in Ghana.
“ECHOES has been established in two pilot countries, Ghana and La Cote D’ ivoire and I must say that the coordination has been excellent,” Mrs. Josephine Kuffour-Duah said, adding that, “indeed, the integration of basic education with the livelihood education has really proved itself as a workable model that has been cherished in the fortunate selected schools and their perspective communities.”
She noted that there has been tremendous improvement in the relationship between ECHOES staffs and the government officials in the concerned ministries.
“Much recognition has been given by our service and contributed in granting permission to implementers to carry out activities in the selected schools; and we hope this fruitful step will go a long way for sustainability,” she intimated.
In an interview with the media, the Education Program Director of the World Cocoa Foundation, Mr. Charlie Feezle underscored the need for the youth in West Africa to get actively involved in cocoa farming since it is a lucrative venture.
“We the major stakeholders of the industry would ensure that the capacity of the youth is well built to execute this task to perfection; we therefore need everybody’s contribution whether NGOs, corporate organizations and traditional rulers as an effort to achieve this goal,” he pointed out.