Entry: Aisha Hassan, World Cocoa Foundation

In January 2007 the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), introduced new WCF member, Fazer, to the southeastern part of Côte d’Ivoire where education support and livelihood activities under the Child Labor Alternatives through Sustainable Systems in Education (CLASSE) project was underway.  In collaboration with local representatives from the Ivorian Ministry of Education and funding from Fazer, the CLASSE program selected the village of Biéby for it’s a high-density cocoa-growing zones that were prone to child labor and in need of intervention.  Fazer, impressed by the community supported activities which were improving livelihoods and education opportunities for children, youth and families in this cocoa growing area, wanted to continue to support this cocoa growing community in a more robust manner. From 2008 – 2011 under WCF Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions program (ECHOES) program, Fazer continued supporting education and livelihoods training in this community and became aware of a greater educational need for this community – there was no continuum of educational opportunities in the community after primary school.   

For many children in Bieby who complete primary school the prospects of attending further schooling is limited due to the distance and cost of attending secondary school.  During WCF ECHOES work in the community, community leaders expressed their desire to have a secondary school in Bieby to serve the educational needs of local children. With the commitment from Fazer, community leaders engaged in a series of meetings to plan for their future secondary school within the community.  Construction of Bieby’s secondary school began in August 2012 and now with the completion of school construction, the Bieby community’s vision for a secondary school in their community has become a reality.

Background:

Biéby is a cocoa-growing community nestled deep into the bush located within the sub-region of Yakassé Attobrou, approximately 39 km from Adzopé, the nearest paved road and department capital. Biéby comprises nearly half of the small Yakassé Attobrou region and is situated near 6 rivers.  Bieby has seen a boom in its population with a general census in 1998 counting 7,666 inhabitants in the village, but the population is now estimated to be about 22,000. The highly coveted forest in Bieby has greatly contributed to the massive immigration in recent years.  There is a great need for school construction in Bieby with sixty percent of women being of child-bearing age and forty percent of the village is below the age of thirty and the nearest secondary school being approximately 16 kilometers away.