The Jacobs Foundation's "Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities" (TRECC) has officially launched in Côte d'Ivoire.

Since its initial presentation at the Clinton Global Initiative in May 2015, the initiative has been working to fulfill its goal to provide cocoa-growing communities with access to education. 

TRECC is a seven-year program designed to promote education, strengthen women, and protect children in cocoa-growing communities. It was launched in cooperation with the industry-wide sustainability program CocoaAction, promoting private-public partnerships with 11 of the world's leading companies in the confectionery industry.

The program seeks to produce comprehensive, systemic change in the region through research, supporting local organizations working on education and women's empowerment, matching grants, impact finance, community engagement, and strengthening national child and youth policies.

Since May 2015, TRECC has gained momentum by forging partnerships with governments, industry and other international education funders. Among its first-year milestones are:

●     The forthcoming implementation of joint education projects co-financed with the cocoa industry
●     The engagement of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, which has committed additional capital for an early childhood development component of the program
●     A partnership with Côte d'Ivoire's Ministry of Education to design pilot projects involving educational technologies

As TRECC continues to facilitate engagement from stakeholders and funders, it expects an additional $50 million to be mobilized over the next five years.

Its efforts to make a change directly affect the eight million Ivoirians who depend on cocoa farming for a living. In Côte d'Ivoire, there are 800,000 smallholder farmers who live substantially below the poverty line and have limited access to education.

In rural areas, 45 percent of 6-12-year-olds are not enrolled in school. Almost two-thirds of 15-24-year-olds have not completed primary school, while about one-third of youths have never attended school at all.

To help combat this, the Jacobs Foundation entered into a strategic partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation to align the efforts of CocoaAction and TRECC.

"The World Cocoa Foundation is delighted to collaborate with the Jacobs Foundation through CocoaAction to directly benefit the education of 200,000 children in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d'Ivoire," says Tim McCoy, acting president, World Cocoa Foundation.

"Through our ongoing engagement in the region we have learned that education for a country's poorest can only be successful if the necessary conditions are in place within the family, at work and in society. At the same time it is important to highlight that sustainable development cannot be achieved without quality education. We have therefore decided to take our activities in Africa to the next level with the TRECC program, with the goal of promoting sustainable social and economic change in the region," says Lavinia Jacobs, chair of the Jacobs Foundation.