Nestlé has on April 21, 2020. joined the Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) coalition to boost quality education in rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire. The CLEF coalition is a pooled financing facility, and the first public-private partnership focused on scaling investments for quality education in Côte d’Ivoire. Members to date include the Ivorian government, UBS Optimus Foundation, ten other cocoa and chocolate companies and the Jacobs Foundation, who has been promoting the initiative.
Access to quality education is an essential tool to promote children’s rights and fighting child labor. The Jacobs Foundation is, therefore, working with public and private organizations to develop a sustainable ecosystem that will ensure education for all children. Over the past years, Nestlé has worked with the Jacobs Foundation to set up bridging classes and vocational training for young people through the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program. This partnership with the Nestlé Cocoa Plan helps children to (re-)integrate into the public-school system and support them to keep up with their peers.
Alexander von Maillot, Global Head confectionery and ice cream Strategic Business Unit at Nestlé, said: “We are pleased to contribute to the CLEF initiative to improve quality of education in Côte d’Ivoire. It builds on the work we have been doing with Jacobs Foundation under their TRECC program. Since 2012, Nestlé has contributed to improving access to education in the rural areas in Côte d’Ivoire. As part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, we have built or refurbished 49 schools in the cocoa growing communities. CLEF complements our wider actions to tackle child labor through the roll-out of the ‘Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System’. It helps address some of the root causes of child labor.”
A strong coalition of philanthropic partners and companies of the cocoa and chocolate industry joins forces with the Ivorian government to support its strategic objectives to combat child labor and provide a good start in life and quality education for all children.
The Jacobs Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation as well as the Ivorian government and the cocoa and chocolate companies Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Chocolonely Foundation, ECOM, Ferrero, Hershey, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa and Touton intend to jointly provide the necessary seed funding to launch two pooled funding facilities with a target capitalization of 150 million Swiss Francs to promote effective learning and early childhood development at scale in Côte d’Ivoire. To reach the target capitalization for the two facilities, additional stakeholders are invited to join the coalition.
CLEF and ELAN
The first of the two funding initiatives, the Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF), aims to reach 5 million children and 10 million parents in cocoa growing areas and beyond, focusing on access to quality primary education.
The second initiative, the Early Learning and Nutrition Facility (ELAN), is designed to reach 1.3 million children below the age of 5 and their caregivers, providing quality services and training in early childhood development and nutrition.
The Ivorian government has developed a National Action Plan to Combat Child Labor, has launched a 10-year Education Sector Strategy and has introduced a Multisectoral Plan for Nutrition to develop its human capital and tackle the root causes of child labor. The CLEF and ELAN initiatives complement the government’s efforts.
Blueprints for public private partnerships
Côte d’Ivoire leads the world in the production and export of cocoa beans for the manufacture of chocolate. Yet, a 2015 survey found more than 1 million children were performing hazardous work in cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire. In rural Ivorian areas, nearly 30% of primary school-aged children are out of school, while the percentage rises to 50% for children of lower secondary school age (Côte d’Ivoire MICS 2016). Among those who are in school, the majority do not reach the minimum expected level in reading and math. This poor school performance is largely attributable to low quality education, but also to suboptimal development in the early years of children’s lives. With a national rate of 30% of stunting, which is especially dangerous for young children, Côte d’Ivoire is among the most vulnerable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Without better early childhood development and access to quality education, these children are at higher risk of child labor.
Around the world, more than 150 million children may be affected by child labor. The CLEF and ELAN initiatives represent a multi-stakeholder partnership that is seeking a sustainable solution to this situation in Côte d’Ivoire. These initiatives could serve as blueprints for effective public private partnerships to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.