WINCC showcases successful examples of women’s impact in cocoa value chain

On the eve of the World Cocoa Foundation partnership meeting in Berlin, Solidaridad hosted another successful event with the Women in Cocoa and Chocolate Network (WINCC). It was a fruitful evening showcasing successful examples of women empowerment in the cocoa sector. These examples illustrate clearly how instrumental it is to invest in the potential of women and youth in the cocoa value chain as well as their significant impact on making the cocoa sector more sustainable.

Ghanaian cocoa farmer and entrepreneur Mawuse Hotor shared her inspiring story in a keynote speech during the WINCC event 

The objective of WINCC is to connect, engage and mutually inspire women involved throughout the cocoa and chocolate value chain, empowering them to fulfil their potential in a sector where gender inequality is still a persistent and ubiquitous problem. Moreover, their contribution and resilience are instrumental to driving change and creating impact towards a more sustainable cocoa sector.

Showcasing women’s potential and impact

The WINCC event took place in Berlin on 22 October, with the aim to showcase successful examples of women empowerment in the cocoa sector. Ghanaian farmer and entrepreneur Mawuse Hotor shared her inspiring story in a keynote speech, in which she spoke of the challenges she has faced as a young female farmer. 

Mawuse has graduated from Solidaridad’s MASO Cocoa Academy and despite various difficulties that female farmers face such as obtaining land, she is now the proud owner of her own cocoa farm in Ghana and expects her first harvest later this year. A few months ago, Mawuse also shared her story in a keynote speech at Solidaridad’s 50th anniversary conference

Estelle Thinan from Solidaridad West Africa has also talked about the latest plans and developments in the Ghanaian WINCC Chapter, which was launched in 2018. Among others, there are plans to start training sessions for women to enable them to begin their own business in Ghana.

The participants of WINCC in Berlin engage in the Power Walk to experience how gender and other social markers – such as class, age and ethnicity – influence chances and opportunities in life

Cocoa industry in discussion on drivers of change

The WINCC event was held on the eve of the World Cocoa Foundation partnership meeting in Berlin on 23-24 October. The WCF partnership meeting is an annual event which draws a large gathering of various representatives from the international cocoa industry, with the aim of discussing the developments and improvements needed to make the cocoa value chain more inclusive and sustainable. The theme of this year’s meeting was drivers of change, namely:

  • Effective Stakeholder Collaboration & Partnerships
  • Strong Business & Policy Environment
  • Public Private Investment In Science, Innovation, and Learning

Boukje Theeuwes (left) and Mawuse Hotor (third from the left) at the closing session of the WCF partnership meeting

Mawuse Hotor and Boukje Theeuwes, senior policy advisor and cocoa expert at Solidaridad, joined the closing panel discussion on Rising Voices on the Partnership Meeting and the Way Forward on Thursday, and had the chance to reflect on the WINCC meeting of two days earlier. Mawuse used the opportunity to stress the importance of engaging young women and men who are often not interested anymore in following the footsteps of their parents and becoming a farmer. It is through the potential and entrepreneurship of the next generation of cocoa farmers that we can achieve a sustainable cocoa sector. 

Boukje commented that the need for achieving a living income for cocoa farmers had become front and centre throughout the various sessions of the meeting. She also amplified the voice of one of the farmers who spoke earlier, saying:

“You have heard our voices, you know that poverty is the problem, now it is time for action”.

Caroline Lubbers (centre), WINCC Programme Manager, next to the WINCC stand at the World Cocoa Foundation Innovation Marketplace 

WINCC at the Innovation Marketplace

World Cocoa Foundation also invited WINCC to join their Innovation Marketplace along with the other market exhibitors, in the context of driver 1: Effective stakeholder collaboration and partnerships. 

The special WINCC Oscar nominations in full progress – the nominations bowl had filled up fast!

At the WINCC stand, Boukje Theeuwes and Caroline Lubbers, WINCC Programme Manager, spoke to the marketplace visitors and invited them to bring out their nominations in the special WINCC Oscars in two categories: Best Young Female Talent and Best Gender Ambassador. 

The visitors of the marketplace were enthusiastic to participate, and Boukje and Caroline received more than 150 nominations for the WINCC Oscars. Stay tuned to find out who will be the lucky winners!

Read more about Solidaridad’s work in cocoa.