Cocoa farming in Ghana. Augustina Frimong collecting fermented cocoa seeds, Ashanti region.

VSO and Mondelēz

Building a better life for cocoa farmers

Since 2012, VSO has been a partner of Mondelez International, one of the world’s largest confectionery companies. Together, we are improving the lives of 205 cocoa growing communities in Ghana.

Mondelez logo


Improving the lives of farmers and their families

More than 800,000 farmers in Ghana rely on cocoa for the majority of their income, which is estimated at just $0.42 per day. Almost all farm on a very small scale – 85% of the world’s cocoa is produced in this way.

Members of a microfinance group in Ghana | VSO
VSO/Purushottam Diwakar
Members of the Village Savings and Loans Association in Odjarde, Ghana. They are one of many groups VSO has supported with training and improved financial management.

We are improving the lives of thousands of farmers and their families by:

  • Helping cocoa farmers access services that help increase their yield
  • Training women on farming, business management and leadership skills
  • Providing access to finance, creating a savings culture and increasing financial literacy through Village Savings and Loan Associations 
  • Empowering communities to lead their own development by implementing action plans
  • Developing young people’s skills to improve employment chances
  • Supporting people to generate income through micro enterprises
  • Training farmers on good agricultural practices

Cocoa Life programme

Women leading their families out of poverty

Women play a vital role in cocoa farming. They labour during the harvest. Between seasons their small businesses provide what may be the family's only source of income.

Through Cocoa Life, female community members are trained by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and VSO. They go on to mentor other women to develop their business, farming and leadership skills.

This is helping to cocoa farming families and so benefits the community as a whole.

I wasn't doing record keeping before so I never knew how much time I was spending on work or how much money I was spending. Now I can see from my income records what profit I have made. It helps me see where things could be improved or where I should do more of the same.

Juliana Aboaagweya,
Cocoa Life woman extension volunteer

Working in partnership

Cocoa Life demonstrates what can be achieved through working in partnership with the private sector, local and international suppliers, non-governental organisations and local and national government.

Staff and volunteers in Ghana supporting Mondelez Cocoa Life programme
Left to right: Barkhisu Aziz, leader of Tutuka women’s enterprise training group, Bernice Nyantaky, Programme Officer, Cocoa Life, Juliana Nasele, member of Tutuka women’s enterprise, Evelyn Okorley, Community Development Facilitator, Cocoa Life

Through Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International is creating empowered and thriving cocoa farming families and ensuring a more sustainable supply of cocoa.

Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture benefits from better productivity, economic growth and improved infrastructure and the communities benefit through increased income and the opportunity to participate in their own development.

VSO helps us meet our business need of ensuring a sustainable cocoa supply. They are a valued partner and through the support of VSO’s unique approach thousands of cocoa farmers and their families will learn the skills and expertise needed to improve their livelihoods, opportunities and future.

Cathy Pieters,
Director Cocoa Life programme, Mondelēz International

Partner with us

Knowledge Exchange is VSO’s corporate employee volunteering offer. Develop your talented employees, while changing lives in the world's poorest communities.

Does your organisation currently run a volunteering programme?

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