The Women & Mothers of Kuapa Kokoo

Juliet Brago holding cocoa pods
Juliet Brago holding cocoa pods. Photo by Pete Pattison, for Divine Chocolate

by
Apr 30, 2013

The Bible is filled with stories of mothers who make an incredible difference in the lives of those around them. From Sarah to Mary, mothers and strong women followed God’s call, protected those entrusted to them and spoke with prophetic vision for their communities.

Kuapa Kokoo is a democratically operated, Fair Trade certified cooperative of cocoa farmers in Ghana, West Africa, where much of the world’s cocoa comes from. Kuapa Kokoo is part owner of Divine Chocolate, making it the first ever farmer-owned brand of chocolate. When you support the LWR Chocolate Project, you and your congregation are partnered with many strong women and mothers at Kuapa KoKoo. This series will introduce you to a few.

Juliet Brago

Juliet Brago (pictured above) is 45 years old and has been a cocoa farmer for 14 years.  She joined Kuapa KoKoo in 2002 and has a cocoa farm of 10 acres.  She is an executive member of her village society of Awaham in the Ashanti region of Ghana.  She is also the vice-chairwoman of her society’s women’s group which trains women for alternative income generation projects that provide families with money after the cocoa season ends.

Juliet’s vocation also includes being a mother. Her work with Kuapa has played an important role in that. Juliet says, “Kuapa has given me the opportunity to educate and train my [two] children well.”  Her son Prince is 25 years old and is a manufacturing apprentice.  Her daughter Nana Adjoa is 20 years old and is currently at university studying law but she received a scholarship from Kuapa KoKoo to support her elementary education.

Esther Mintah Ephraim

Esther is 28 and has been a member of Kuapa KoKoo for 8 years since she completed school. She farms her 38 acre farm with her family and delivers 40 -50 sacks (around 3 tons) of cocoa a year. She grew up cocoa farming and wants to become an intensive cocoa farmer. There are 115 farmers in her village society, about 50 are women.

Esther Mintah Ephraim

Esther Mintah Ephraim holds a bar of Divine Chocolate

Esther has 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  At the end of the season the family gets together, looks at what they have earned and their expenses and then they calculate what is left and they plan how to spend the money together including paying for her younger sisters’ education and then dividing the money between the rest of them.  Esther says that they work with Kuapa exclusively “because it is a good company, it is democratic, it is Fair Trade, it is fair and it doesn’t cheat.”

Esther and Kuapa are caring for children in other ways. Kuapa has clear policies about child labor. Recently Esther attended a workshop on child labor organized by the Ghanaian government as one of two delegates from her district.  She learned how to avoid child labor and its negative effects upon children.  They learned of the important role they play in assuring children go to school and the negative effects upon their development if working stops them from going to school. Esther left this workshop certified and ready to help Kuapa in caring for the next generation.

Buy Divine Chocolate

To order Divine Chocolate through the LWR Chocolate Project visit lwr.org/chocolate or call 888.294.9660. (Mention the code LWRCP when you order to ensure that your purchase supports LWR development projects.)

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is Lutheran World Relief's Congregational Resources Specialist, and an Associate in Ministry in the ELCA.

Categories: Africa, Agriculture, Ghana
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