I am Cecilia Appianim. I joined Kuapa Kokoo back in 1998 – the year that Divine was born. I am a cocoa farmer from Agona Swedru, in the Central Region of Ghana.
Coming from a community where women are not given the opportunity to partake in active decision making processes, being a member of Kuapa Kokoo has been an eye opener. I was attracted to Kuapa when I realised I could gain more in terms of bonuses paid for selling my cocoa, as well as sharing in development projects undertaken for my community. The income generating activities specially designed for women in my Kuapa society have also gone a long way to empower me financially.
I was elected National Financial Secretary of Kuapa Kokoo Union about three years ago. I work closely with the Treasurer to ensure that the finances of the union are in order. I contested with a man and had a land slide victory. I guess it is because everyone knows women can be better trusted with money than men! My job is very challenging but with the training I have received form Kuapa Kokoo, i have been able to handle it.
I have had the opportunity to travel to the United States of America on two occasions. On both occasions I had the chance to tell people about what fairtrade and the ownership of Divine Chocolate means to members of Kuapa Kokoo.My trip to US was an eye opener! I was able to see big supermarket chains that stock our Divine Chocolate! It was amazing and I felt really proud that my cocoa had been turned into something so sweet! Things were very different from what happens over here in Ghana. I met a lot of people who support fairtrade and Divine and I entreated then to buy more fairtrade so that villages like Asentem could enjoy good drinking, mobile clinics etc.
Ownership of Divine chocolate has enabled me to meet highly placed people I never imagined I will meet. Divine has indeed given us recognition in the chocolate world. This is evidenced in the way people trooped to the various centres to listen to me.