July 20, 2011, Washington, DC and Accra, Ghana – The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) announced today that Leland International Hunger Fellow Laura Ostenso will join its ECHOES Alliance team based in Accra, Ghana beginning this month. Ms. Ostenso will work with the ECHOES Alliance team in support of the program’s education and training in Ghanaian cocoa growing communities.

The Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellowship is a leadership development opportunity for experienced individuals seeking to make a difference in the struggle to eliminate hunger and poverty worldwide. The two-year program begins with a one-year field placement in which Fellows are assigned to non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, and bi-lateral and multi-lateral organizations worldwide. Fellows spend their second year in a policy environment, usually at the headquarters of the organizations where they served during their field placements.

The Congressional Hunger Center manages the fellowships, matching fellows with host organizations that have proven management systems and a history of collaborating with other groups – indigenous and otherwise – in their efforts to eliminate hunger. All field organizations address root causes of poverty and hunger and empower communities through, for example, increased access to land, health care, or education.

“WCF is honored to be partnering with the Congressional Hunger Center in this way,” said WCF President Bill Guyton. “The Leland Fellowship Program provides important leadership opportunities for participants to make lasting contributions to fighting hunger and poverty worldwide. In that regard, we look forward to the substantive contributions that Laura will make to our cocoa sustainability efforts through the ECHOES Alliance’s work in Ghana.”

Over the next year, Ms. Ostenso will engage in developing and implementing community assessments in ECHOES Ghana program sites and on WCF teaching training in relation to Ghana Education Service standards.  She will also carry out additional research on the links between capacity building, monitoring/assessment, and program implementation for ongoing program improvement in supporting the scalability of effective education programming in rural communities.

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. These efforts help increase the supply of cocoa and help guarantee chocolate lovers access to their favorite products. WCF’s membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.

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