We’re committed to supporting not just the cocoa farmers we work with, but their families too. This World Day Against Child Labour, meet Augustin, our community development lead helping to roll out child labour monitoring and remediation across our cocoa supply chain, providing a vital step towards eliminating child labour and making sure all children in cocoa-growing communities have access to education.
Augustin Lignon, 39, has been working as our community development lead in Côte d’Ivoire for over five years. His job is to help farming communities through community engagement and social inclusion projects, from building new schools and hospitals to helping local women to start their own businesses. Importantly, it is also his job to take action to prevent child labour.
“Sometimes families don’t have enough money to send their children to school, so they are obliged to bring them to help on the farm,” he explains, which is why Olam Cocoa is helping women to save, borrow and earn extra money to support their children. “We set up Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) so women can get a loan to send their children to school. We started with a small number of groups, but thanks to their success we have now expanded to 168 VSLAs in our cocoa communities.”
Now, Augustin is visiting Olam Cocoa’s supplier cooperatives, to make sure effective child labour monitoring and remediation systems are in place, and to roll out a new smartphone app that will help cooperatives to identify children at risk and report cases that need remediation much faster. Olam Cocoa is in the process of rolling this out across 100% of its direct cocoa supply chain by the end of the year. Augustin has already helped to train more than 1,266 community agents.
“I train people at a community level working with the cooperatives. I show them how they can use the app to register the farmers, undertake household surveys, and log child labour sensitisation training undertaken by each family. One CLMRS agent has roughly 100 farmers to survey and they used to have to do it all on paper. The app makes that much smoother and makes it easier for them to come to us and propose remediation. We are changing behaviour. It is not always easy, but we are helping to improve children’s lives.”
For further information on the work Olam Cocoa is doing to combat child labour, click here.