We’d like to say a big hello to the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) who have joined our global members’ network.
ICI is a Swiss-based, non-profit foundation that works to ensure a better future for children in cocoa-growing communities. It is a multi-stakeholder partnership advancing the elimination of child labour and forced labour, by uniting the forces of the cocoa and chocolate industry, civil society, farming communities, governments, international organizations and donors.
They have been working in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana for many years and helped advance quantified progress in the fight against child labour in cocoa. Through their Community Development Programme and Child Labour monitoring system (CLMRS), they reached 422,610 children between 2015 and 2020, and its approaches have led to a 20% reduction in child labour in ICI-assisted communities, as well as a 50% reduction in hazardous child labour amongst at-risk children identified by ICI’s monitoring systems.
ICI’s vision is of thriving cocoa-growing communities within a dignified, sustainable and responsibly managed cocoa supply chain, where child rights and human rights are protected and respected, and where child labour and forced labour have been eliminated.
Quick data: ICI has 148 staff working in three countries: In their Headquarter, Switzerland. And two country offices in Côte d’Ivoire (Abidjan) and in Ghana (Accra). In Côte d’Ivoire, they have 5 field offices.
As always, we like to post a news story about new members, in their own words, and promote the organisation amongst the KCS network and online following.
From Katie Bird, Communications Director:
What made you decide to join the KCS as a member?
At the International Cocoa Initiative, our goal is to improve the lives of children and farming families in cocoa-growing communities. Ensuring we do the utmost not to harm children or put them at risk in any of our activities is key to our work. Joining the KCS network will support our work to strengthen our child safeguarding efforts within our own team, and with our members and other partners. Working with, and learning from, KCS and its other members will help us ensure that our policies are up to the highest possible standards. We also want to share our own knowledge and experience with others.
What is your key driver in your ambition to implement child safeguarding?
Our organisation strives to ensure a better future for children in cocoa communities by putting their interests first. To achieve this, we need to aim for the highest standard possible for ourselves. We work with vulnerable children to improve their situation and offer them a better life free from child labour. This starts by doing everything possible to protect them from the risk of additional harm. We would like to strengthen and build upon the work we have done so far on child safeguarding with our teams and share this concept with our partners.
Where do you think your organisation will be regarding child safeguarding in a year?
We will have assessed, reviewed and strengthened our existing safeguarding policies and practices and governance processes with the support and guidance of KCS. We aim to have the highest possible standards in place and put them into practice in all of our work. From there we would like to share what we have learned with our members and partners and to train them on related topics.
What message do you want to tell your staff, donors and the wider world?
One of ICI’s core values is Humanity. For us, this means it is ICI’s responsibility to help, protect and serve those who are in need, particularly by putting the best interests of vulnerable children and their families at the heart of our interventions, as well as by promoting and upholding fairness, justice and dignity, both inside and outside of ICI. Child safeguarding, and ensuring we are not placing children at any additional risk during any of our activities, is a key part of this. By working with KCS and its wider network, we will not only be able to learn, adapt, and strengthen our existing safeguarding policies and practices, but share this knowledge with others. This collaboration will support us in achieving our goal of improving the lives of children in cocoa-growing communities.