- Over 160,000 people are to benefit from the World Cocoa Foundation Youth Education Programme in West Africa. The two year, $5.6 million public-private partnership will focus on youth and young adults in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.
The initial two-year programme began in October 2007; the $5.6 million cash and $2 million in-kind contributions will extend the programme for an additional two years through September 2011, the Cocoa Foundation said in a statement.
The Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions (ECHOES) Alliance in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana has already reached thousands of young people directly through vocational agricultural training and indirectly by training teachers in interactive teaching approaches. The programme aims to develop a replicable, scalable model for improving education in rural West Africa.
Dr Sarah Moten, coordinator of USAID's Africa Education Initiative, said: "We're very happy about what ECHOES has been able to accomplish in just two years and we look forward to even more dramatic success as we bring access to the world's sources of knowledge to young people in rural Africa. They are the next generation of leaders and the future of the continent. We need to give them every chance for success."
In its second phase, the programme will place more of an emphasis on directly reaching youth and young adults. Activities will focus on in-school education at the primary and secondary school levels; training for out-of-school youth; agriculture-related extracurricular activities; family support scholarships; and literacy training.
Additionally, the programme will also train teachers working in cocoa-growing communities. Overall, these activities will directly benefit over 20,000 young people and indirectly impact an additional 140,000 people across both countries, the Foundation said.
It also said the programme will build on the successes of the first two years while incorporating new elements such as using information technology to improve learning, encourage community education, and private education activities.
"Improving the quality and relevancy of education in cocoa-growing communities is essential to expanding opportunities for young people and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the cocoa sector. It is wonderful that USAID, the private sector and the governments of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana have been so supportive of our efforts to continue this important work," said WCF President Bill Guyton.
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