World Cocoa Foundation Welcomes University of Arkansas Intern
Entry: Mike Norton, University of Arkansas
When I got off the plane in Accra in late June, I did not quite know what to expect. Never having been to Africa, I had no clue what my expectations should be. Nonetheless, over the past eight weeks I have been able to experience Ghana and Africa in a way that few twenty-year-olds can attest to. I was able to see some of the more remote villages in Ghana while conducting a farmer impact study with the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program’s Monitor and Evaluation Team and see WCF programs “in the bush” by observing a CLP Farmer Business School in Asekyerewa for a week. After entering and analyzing the data from the impact study, I have seen the numbers that represent the successes of the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program and know the next few years hold high possibilities for West & Central African cocoa production and cocoa farmers.
I have also been able to head east to the Wli Falls and Mt. Afadjato near the Togo border, and west to Cape Coast and the beaches of Akwidaa not far from Côte d’Ivoire. My internship experience in Ghana is interesting in that it adds two layers of experience, one based on the career and academic skills of the internship useful for future endeavors in sustainability, and another based on open-mindedness and cultural-sensitivity that will be useful in all walks of life. There is no doubt that I will use what I gleaned from the internship in the years ahead and continue to tell and re-tell stories of how I spent a summer in cocoa regions of Africa. It sure beats sitting in a classroom.
Pictured: WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program Farmer Business School Graduates