In our relationships with our origin communities, we believe we can do more beyond paying above-Fair-Trade-market prices for cocoa beans. Most of the communities surrounding the cocoa farms are brimming with potential, but there also is room for us to invest in their greatness. We translate financial statements and profit share with our farmer partners, all of which leads to empowerment and economic development.
We are engaged in the communities of each of our origins, but in Tanzania and the Philippines specifically, Askinosie Chocolate has created the means to further empower origin communities (who are struggling with malnourishment)—to feed their children. This program, which we call A Product of Change™, is a collaborative effort between Askinosie Chocolate, the administration and PTA of local schools, and you. Because when you purchase one of our Products of Change, you are providing a school lunch to hungry students in these communities and best of all, it’s a full circle of sustainable development.
Our Product of Change™ goods come from our cocoa bean origins in the Philippines and Tanzania. These products are created and/or harvested by the administration and PTA of the local schools. We ship the products from the origins, with our cocoa beans, sell them for the sole purpose of feeding hungry students from these communities, and return one hundred percent of the profits to the school administration and PTA to provide meals for each of the students. In other words, these programs operate completely donation free. A bag of rice or a block of cocoa might seem insignificant, but through these goods, children have access to reliable, healthy daily school lunch and, ultimately, a better education. The bonus is that they also get to see this business model of sustainability as a solution to social problems.
Premium Kyela Rice
AROMATIC, MEDIUM GRAIN, WHITE
On his first visit to Kyela, Shawn visited one of the local schools, Mwaya Secondary School. After meeting with the Headmaster and teachers, it was clear that hunger was their greatest challenge. The children and teens in the community don’t have access to consistent meals, which not only affects their well-being but also their ability to succeed in school. Most of the students were eating only one full meal a day. We wanted to find a way to combat this problem in a sustainable way, so we developed the Mwaya Secondary School Sustainable Lunch Program using one of Tanzania’s food staples: rice.
Kyela Rice, a delicious, sweet medium grain white rice, is harvested by the PTA of Mwaya Secondary School. During their trips to Tanzania, Chocolate University students help Mwaya teachers stamp and package the bags. Then we import the rice to the Askinosie Chocolate factory in the same containers as the cocoa beans from Tanzania, with no additional shipping costs.
We purchase the rice for $1.50. We then sell it online, in our storefront, and to select specialty food retailers for $16.50. We return one hundred percent of the profits to the PTA; the $15 profit is used to purchase local rice and beans to provide the lunches. Each bag of Rice that you purchase funds 210 meals, which ensures a meal every day for each Mwaya student for one school year. Through the sale of Premium Kyela Rice, 220,000 meals have been provided for about 1,000 students to date.
We track the success of the program by monitoring the students’ height, weight and arm circumference, as well as their school attendance and graduation rates. So far, we have seen significant improvements for Mwaya students both physically and academically—graduation rates have risen and attendance has increased.
Please note: We love working with our Kyela friends to package this product on location and ship it directly to our factory. However, please be advised that the bag might contain a few tiny rocks. We suggest rinsing before cooking.
Learn more about our community development projects in Tanzania here.
Tableya Cocoa Rounds
One of our favorite things to enjoy when we visit Davao, Philippines, is Tableya, a traditional Filipino hot chocolate. The locals make this concoction by mixing water (and sometimes milk), sugar and roasted cocoa beans milled into “tablets.” Although Tableya is a great way to fix a sweet tooth, it’s also much more than that: we sell this product to provide sustenance to students in Davao.
In 2011, Shawn was visiting Malagos Elementary School in Davao with a mission to learn what the community’s greatest needs were. The Malagos principal and teachers revealed that 15% of their students were on their malnourished watch list. Since hunger and success at school are directly related, Shawn and the Malagos PTA created the Malagos Elementary Sustainable Lunch Program, which ensures a school lunch every day, for every student.
We purchase the Tableya for $1, ship it directly to our factory on the same container as our cocoa beans, and sell it online, in our storefront, and to select specialty food retailers for $9. Then, just like in Tanzania, we return one hundred percent of the profits to the PTA; the $9 profit is used to source, purchase and prepare local food for its students. At Malagos, the PTA has even built a garden, which provides the students with fresh fruit and vegetables to incorporate into their meals.
As in Tanzania, we monitor each student’s height, weight and arm circumference, in addition to attendance and achievement test scores. Thanks to your Tableya purchases, we have helped provide 240,000 meals and students are thriving. Since the program’s inception, school attendance has increased, 90% of Malagos students have gained weight and achievement test scores are up 25%.
Learn more about our community development projects in Davao, Philippines here.
These programs are revolutionary because the leaders in these communities—the parents, teachers, and school administrators—are feeding their children. We are simply providing them access to market. And as we work with the communities, we are teaching them how to sell their goods themselves. Because in the true spirit of sustainability, our collective goal is that within the next few years, they will be doing it completely on their own.