In July 2014, the FLA published Assessing Women’s Roles in Nestlé’s Ivory Coast Supply Chain. The report articulated 17 recommendations to Nestlé and the Ivorian government to raise the status of women in the Nestlé supply chain and to improve conditions for women in cocoa-producing areas of the Ivory Coast.
In response to one of the report’s recommendations, Nestlé committed to a pilot project designed to develop and promote two local women’s associations in its cocoa supply chain and give women a greater voice in local community affairs.
To achieve this objective, Nestlé and FLA began implementing a two-year “gender dialogue” project in two cocoa-growing communities supplying to Nestlé: Yaokouakoukro (Gagnoa) and Zaranou (Abengourou). The project commenced in November 2014 with the development of research questions, performance indicators, and a project road map. An introductory visit to the selected communities in March 2015 shared information about the project’s objectives; identified women who could act as liaisons on the project; and profiled the existing infrastructure, opportunities, and challenges for women.
In July 2015, project staff returned to the communities to conduct a baseline assessment of conditions for women in the two communities, against which later assessments will be compared.
The next stage of the project consisted of a training visit in August and September during which the selected communities participated in the Gender Action Learning for Sustainability (GALS) program, under the direction of FLA staff and GALS methodology expert Dr. Linda Mayoux. During the visit, project staff began addressing topics requiring further dialogue within the communities, including economic independence for women. Subsequent follow-up visits have been conducted to strengthen grievance mechanisms available to women in Nestlé’s supply chain.