Cordillera Chocolates launches ‘first of its kind’ female-led sustainability programme in Colombia

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Some of the women cocoa growers set to benefit from Cordillera's ATENEA programme. Pic: Cordillera Chocolates
Some of the women cocoa growers set to benefit from Cordillera's ATENEA programme. Pic: Cordillera Chocolates

Related tags Cordillera Chocolate Chocolate Cocoa Sustainability Colombia

Colombian B2B sustainable chocolate brand Cordillera Chocolates is launching a long-term strategy to develop the roles of female cocoa growers with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and leadership.

The company said ‘ATENEA, Women Who Transcend’ is aimed at an initial 115 women from various cocoa associations in the country and is the first of its kind in the country on this scale.

Launching on Wednesday, 7 June 2023, from 8:30 am local time with a live streaming event​ at Zungo Apartadó Park – Comfama, Colombia, the programme seeks to generate long-term transformation in women cocoa producers, enabling a more just, equitable, prosperous, and thriving value chain.

The objective is to strengthen the development of capacities in entrepreneurship, female empowerment, and financial education in the context of the lives of rural cocoa women, to impact the improvement of their quality of life and that of their families.

ATENEA consists of 3 training modules and has the support of two strategic allies: SENA (National Apprenticeship Service) and DID Development International Desjardins (DID), the Canadian Cooperative Financing Group.

Cordillera said the ATENEA programme will last one year, and its three modules consist of:

Module 1: Entrepreneurship in the processing of chocolate products

This module was conceived by the SENA Emprende Rural Program, which has been carrying out training and accompaniment actions for entrepreneurship and rural employability. This course aims to strengthen competencies, knowledge, and skills in entrepreneurs, for the development of businesses derived from cocoa products.

Module 2: Financial Education for Rural Women

This module was born as a determined and articulated commitment between Development International Desjardins (DID) and Cordillera Chocolates, with the purpose of providing business support to rural women in the country so that they identify opportunities to improve their finances and environment.

Module 3: Female Empowerment

Rural women play a decisive role in agricultural and rural development, but often face challenges and barriers such as access to education, a decent income, to opportunities for their personal, family, and professional development. This module emerges as a strategy to promote the reduction of gender inequality that is accentuated in some rural areas.

Alejandra Sarasty, Chief Global B2B Officer, said: “Developing skills for women in the Colombian cocoa sector, means more than teaching them about entrepreneurship or leadership. It also means, impacting a family, a broader community where they interact and ultimately, the cocoa sector and the progress of our country. ATENEA reflects Cordillera´s commitment to a thriving sustainable cocoa ecosystem and it honours our purpose to enable sustainable pathways for growth and prosperity​.”

As part of the Nutresa Group's Chocolate Business (CNCh) Cordillera Chocolates are signatories of the Cacao Forests Initiative, a global initiative targeting the protection and restoration of forests in the cocoa industry, incorporating sustainable intensification and diversification of cultivation through community participation, particularly in areas that have been affected by conflict.

To date, the company has carried out 127 public-private partnerships that promote the competitiveness of the cocoa sector in Colombia, benefiting 22,933 cocoa families with 38,362 hectares of cocoa in 22 departments of the country. In 2022 it propagated and delivered 4.4 million units of cocoa plant material, destined for new plantings, renovation and rehabilitation of cocoa farms.

The live event will be attended by local and national dignitaries, representatives from local cocoa communities, international embassies, and local and international media.

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