Comfort Kumeah, the national secretary of Kuapa Kokoo recently completed a 10-day US visit to invite more Americans to become everyday advocates for Divine. Comfort stopped in three major cities, Washington DC, Austin, TX and Chicago where she shared her experience with community groups, schools and businesses alike.
In Washington DC Comfort and the Mr Buah, the president of Kuapa Kokoo and Mr Aduse-Poku met with the president of Lutheran World Relief, an investor in Divine in the USA. She met with students at the Silver Spring International Middle School where students have been conducting research projects about Kuapa Kokoo this school year as part of their work with Ms Brenda Randolph in the Media Center.
We then we on to Austin, TX to visit St. Austin’s Parish. Elizabeth Cole and the women of St. Austin’s organized a post-service presentation where Comfort explained how Kuapa Kokoo operates and the impact Kuapa has been able to have in communities through the investment of their Fair Trade premiums.
In partnership with Catholic Relief Services Elizabeth traveled to Ghana in 2007 where she met Comfort in her village. Comfort arrange for students in the parish school in TX to exchange letters with school children at the school in Mim. So the following day,
Comfort paid a visit to more than 150 students at St. Austin’s and St. Teresa’s middle schools. She explained to them the hard work required to grow quality cocoa and reminded students that it is up to them to ask for Fair Trade products in the community as a way to ensure farmers get a fair deal.
Comfort concluded the Austin visit at the world headquarters of Whole Foods Market where she addressed 50 members of the Whole Foods corporate team. She explained that through Kuapa Kokoo’s commitment to democracy and fairness, women cocoa farmers have been afforded the same opportunities as men and because Kuapa Kokoo owns Divine, Comfort has been able to travel to the USA and to the UK to encourage people to support Kuapa Kokoo’s efforts to empower cocoa farmers in Ghana. Comfort made sure the Whole Food’s team understood and could pronounce Kuapa Kokoo’s slogan “Pa pa paa.” – the “best of the best!”
Then on to Chicago where Comfort met with John Henry Assabill, president of the Ghana National Council, the coalition of eleven Ghanaian associations in the Chicago area. They sponsor GhanaFest, which last year brought over 20,000 people to Washington Park to celebrate Ghana with traditional dance, food and music. Divine Chocolate will be present again at Ghana Fest this year and hope even more people will attend.
Before heading back to the airport Comfort visited the Little Black Pearl on the south side of Chicago, a nonprofit community arts center providing opportunities in the arts and business to community youth. Divine Chocolate is sold in their youth-run café.
We did squeeze in a trip to Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile and we drove over to see the Obama’s house (Comfort wanted to take a look!)
Erin Gorman, CEO, Divine Chocolate Inc