COVID-19: How we are protecting those at the heart of our program

Progress Blog
COVID-19: How we are protecting those at the heart of our program

The COVID-19 pandemic is an incredibly serious health challenge that puts some of the world’s most vulnerable people at risk – a group that includes the cocoa farmers registered in our Cocoa Life program and their communities. The health and wellbeing of these communities, our employees, and our partners is our utmost priority at Mondelēz International and Cocoa Life, as we seek to provide an uninterrupted supply of sustainably sourced cocoa for our brands.

As the world joins together to tackle this crisis, we want to ensure we are contributing to solutions in ways that truly respond to the needs of the people at the heart of our program. Across all of our origins, we are continuing to follow the advice of local government and health authorities. We’re supporting government-led activities wherever possible, while also contributing to relief and response projects of our partners on the ground, with a focus on health and safety, income continuity and child protection.

While we continue to monitor the situation daily, and update our measures based on this monitoring, we felt it important to openly set out the three-tiered approach we are taking to tackle this crisis in our cocoa growing countries:

  1. Industry level
  2. Corporate level
  3. Country level

From an industry perspective, we are investing in the collective response efforts convened by the World Cocoa Foundation, funding immediate COVID-19 education and protection activities in cocoa-growing communities. The WCF is working closely with governments to ensure these interventions align with national emergency plans. You can read more about industry’s efforts here.

At a corporate level, Mondelēz International has made a $15 million global commitment to support relief efforts around the world in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Through this, funds will be distributed to trusted Cocoa Life partner, Save the Children. You can read more here.

But most crucially for us, we are working in our Cocoa Life countries to provide localized response efforts, in line with the need on the ground. Cocoa Life works hand-in-hand with the men and women who make their living from cocoa. That means we already have strong support networks in cocoa communities. We’re able to see, first-hand, the reality of the situation in our six cocoa origin countries: Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil. We understand that the current landscape in each of these countries is distinct in its own way, meaning that tailoring our interventions is more important now than ever before.

Building resilience through education in Ghana

Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Head of Cocoa Life Ghana, Mondelēz International

“In Ghana, this means working with Child Rights International to build resilience and capacity to manage the virus within our communities. Doing so involves educating community members on protecting themselves and their communities from the virus, providing books for children to keep minds active, and distributing Veronica buckets – an innovative sanitation product that originated in Ghana – to public areas. Soaps made by women’s groups that are part of our Cocoa Life program are providing vital sanitation across districts, while also creating an additional source of income for cocoa farming households.“

Covid 19 Prevention

“Women’s groups in a number of Cocoa Life districts are also stitching together face masks, which have been made to meet health standards, using Cocoa Life cloth. This is a great example of how skills that were developed as part of women’s empowerment efforts through our program prior to COVID-19 are able to make a difference.”

Covid 19 face masks in Ghana


Mbalo Ndiaye, Head of Cocoa Life Côte d'Ivoire, Mondelēz International

“In Côte d'Ivoire, we are moving quickly with short-term responses, while also planning for potential longer-term impact. In the immediate, we are working alongside NGO partners, CARE and Solidaridad, to provide communities with hygiene and protection kits, that align with recommendations from the Ministry of Health. We are also working to implement awareness campaigns using posters and local radio spots.” (April 2020)

Copaths-14 Buckets

“We are continuing our work to protect those within our cocoa growing communities, whilst also keeping them up to date with the latest health advice through community radios, visual posters, and interactive voice messages to community members’ cellphones. We have also been working alongside our NGO partners to distribute protection kits to primary schools, health clinics and cooperative headquarters.” (October 2020)


Andi Sitti Asmayanti, Head of Cocoa Life Indonesia, Mondelēz International

“In Indonesia, we are working with Wahana Visi Indonesia and Save the Children to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Cocoa Life communities. Through both partners, we are distributing hygiene kits, hand washing stations, facemasks, food and other essential products. We know that knowledge is one of the best prevention methods, so we are supporting the dissemination and use of child-friendly and farmer-friendly virus-related training materials as well as improving local government capacity through online “training of trainers”, to raise awareness in local communities.” (April 2020)

Hand washing facilities

Hand washing facilities are located in key village hubs to ensure easy access for community members

“We have been working hard to provide our communities with resources – like face masks, portable hand washing stations, hand soap and sanitizer – and educational materials on the importance of hand washing. We are continuing to prioritize the distribution of face masks as well as banners and posters to equip communities with the knowledge they need to stay safe. In addition to this, we are providing offline and online training sessions for community leaders. In the hardest hit areas, we have been supporting Cocoa Life farmers by supplying them with essential ingredients such as rice, sugar and vegetable oil. Now more than ever we work to support the Cocoa Life registered farmers, their families and communities.” (October 2020)


Roopak Bhat, Head of Cocoa Life India, Mondelēz International

“As we know from the work in all of our Cocoa Life countries, spreading awareness of hygiene and preventative measures is crucial, and in Cocoa Life communities in India, this is no different. Our local teams have hosted demonstrations on hand washing and other crucial hygiene practices, and we worked with local youth clubs to amplify this awareness. We have been using virtual platforms to work with the hardest-to-reach families within our communities and organize the distribution of essential food items to them, whilst also conducting in-person sessions with small groups of farmers depending on access and permission.

For many years, we have partnered with NGO Magic-Bus. As community spirit is even more important now than ever, the team has redesigned existing activities to meet government regulations and our company’s COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure they can continue.”

Cathy Pieters, Global Director Cocoa Life, summarized the approach:

“At Cocoa Life, we have a responsibility to the farmers and communities in our program. Our commitment to supporting these communities through this time stands strong, and being guided by local needs helps us to address the root causes of the challenges within each origin country. But, first and foremost, our priority is our people: their health, their livelihoods and their human rights.”

Learn more about Mondelez International’s local initiatives and local recipients of financial and in-kind support around the world here.

Note: This is a live statement that will be continually updated to reflect our latest progress and information. It was last updated on 26th October 2020.