Since 2005, Project Hope and Fairness has been visiting villages in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. We bring tools to villages that can leverage the economic power of cocoa farmers. The tools and villages are listed below.
Ghana: Ebekawopa, Jukwah, Adiyaw, Mmaniaye, Gyaware.
Côte d'Ivoire: Djahakro, Depa, Abekro, Broguhe, Batteguedea, Soualikaha, Dawayo-Chantier, Pezoan, and Zereguhe
Donation of boots to Gyaware, Ghana, 2007. Boots protect the feet and shins of farmers and their children. Walking out to the farm can expose people to stinging ants, snakes such as the Green Mamba, and sharp, flesh-piercing objects. Boots keep farmers from having to expend money on clinics and hospitals.
Dryness meter for Depa, Cote d'Ivoire, 2008.
One of the biggest problems West African farmers have is getting their beans to the buyer sufficiently dry that they haven't started to mold. How to measure dryness? The traditional way is by rolling the bean between thumb and index finger, listening to the crackling noise. The chief of Depa informed me that since they received the dryness meter, their reputation for quality has increased. Not only is their cocoa drier now, but people are taking more care in removing the sticks, stones, and dried placenta. The dryness meter (and the annual visits of PH&F) have given them the sort of hope that someone really cares. Hence, pride in quality of product has increased.
Flashlights for Abekro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2010. The vast majority of cocoa-farming villages lack electricity. When someone is sick or is otherwise disabled, getting up and going to the bathroom can be very difficult, especially when you can't see your way in the dark. Solar flashlights that don't require battery replacement are especially handy.
Machetes (cutlasses) for Ebekawopa, 2007. Westerners think about Sierra Leone, Liberia, and severed limbs and hands by the henchmen of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor when they see pictures of machetes. However, this is THE tool for the West African cocoa farmer. It's used for everything: preparing meals, weeding, digging, chopping down small trees, harvesting cocoa pods, and cutting open cocoa pods.
Plastic bags for Dawayo-Chantier, 2008. Strong, air and moisture impervious bags provide the sort of storage that inhibits molding and insect attack. The bags can be used for storing cocoa, dried corn, rice, and dried coconut.
New roof for school, Dawayo-Chantier, 2008. The village had built a very handsome school but had then run out of money. We visited it in 2007. One month after the trip was over, Stan Thompson died and we raised $4,000 in his name.
Scale for Pezoan, Côte d'Ivoire, 2010. The classic way to rip off a farmer is to claim false weight. If each village in Côte d'Ivoire, the country that produces 43% of the world's cocoa, were to own a scale, imagine the extra money that would flow into the countryside rather than into the city.
Solar Lights for Djahakro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2009. A $60 light with solar panel can illuminate the inside of a small single-room house with a 3-watt bulb. The light can be detached and used for walking around at night. It can also be used to charge cellphones.
Toilet for Pezoan, 2008. We have put in three toilets--in Depa, Pezoan, and Zereguhe. How sewage is handled is critical to the longterm health of villagers.
Well built in Broguhe, Côte d'Ivoire, 2009. It was dug by hand, down about 100 feet. Such wells are much cheaper than boreholes, which cost about 6 times as much. Human labor is much cheaper than fancy machinery. We have since dug a well in Djahakro.