The Hershey Company is to enhance its CocoaLink mobile phone network that includes disease prevention, cell phones for women farmers and solar chargers for rural villages.
The new features include:
- A partnership with the nonprofit organisation Malaria No More, to leverage CocoaLink's connection to rural cocoa villages to help save lives. Malaria No More is part of a global effort that seeks to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.
- An internal smart phone recycling programme, collecting more than 500 smart phones no longer being used by Hershey's US employees. The phones will be redeployed to women across Ghanaian cocoa communities by the end of the year to bridge a gender gap in mobile handset ownership.
CocoaLink: Connecting Cocoa Communities' is a unique farmer outreach programme developed by Hershey, the World Cocoa Foundation and the Ghana Cocoa Board.
CocoaLink is a programme that uses mobile voice and SMS text messages delivered in local languages or English to connect cocoa farmers with important information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labour, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing, the company said.
Since its launch in July, CocoaLink community trainers have already enrolled more than 2,500 farmers, putting the program on track to directly reach more than 8,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers and community members by next year.
CocoaLink's early participants have expressed enthusiasm for the programme's potential to improve their livelihoods.
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