Celebrating Divine Women for Fairtrade Fortnight

27 February 2011

This year we’re Celebrating Divine Women for Fairtrade Fortnight – the amazing women who have supported Divine (and those who just loving eating it!) here in the UK and Ireland, as well as the women of Kuapa Kokoo who’ve been empowered by their organisation and grasped new opportunities with both hands.

Tal at Divine HQ has done an incredible job of putting the Divine/Kuapa roadshow together –  this year we’ll be taking in Liverpool, Warrington, Bradford and then heading south to Oxford, Cardiff and London.  Not only that – but we’re combining both a celebration of Fairtrade and the centenary of International Women’s Day – hopefully throwing in some partying for Ghana Independence Day too. (Find out more about the tour here)

Everything kicked off early this morning with the arrival of Fatima Ali and Harriet Boatemaa at Heathrow – two young cocoa farmers on their first trip out of Ghana – and full of amazement and curiosity about everything they see.  First plane, first escalator, first brick houses, first very fat black cat..lots of firsts.

I thought this was an apt spot to take a picture of Fatima and Harriet

Tomorrow they’ll be coming in to meet everyone at Divine – and then off to their first Fairtrade Fortnight event in Greenwich.  I left them watching The Railway Children in their hotel – and excited about all the new experiences to come. 

Harriet and Fatima at Tower Bridge

We’ll be aiming to blog, tweet and post on Facebook as much as we can while we’re on our travels. Really hope you’ll all join in.

Sophi visits Kuapa villages in between Board meetings

9 February 2011
 Latest post from Sophi…

I’ve just been over to Ghana to attend the Divine UK and Divine USA board meetings at Kuapa Kokoo HQ in Kumasi.  I was travelling with other Board members, and our new Finance Director David Upton and new Chair Patrick Fleming, who were travelling to Ghana and being introduced to Kuapa Kokoo for the first time. 

The Kukurantumi Kuapa Kokoo women's group

On our way up to Kumasi from Accra, we visited Kukurantumi, a village near Suhum.  We were given a wonderful welcome from the Kuapa Kokoo society there – the womens’ groups sang songs about democracy and Kuapa, and showed us their soap-making project.  It was also a chance for David to see the cocoa fermentation process for the first time. Everyone gathered under the shade of the cocoa trees and we all introduced ourselves and had an interesting question and answer session where we all found out a lot about each other.

I asked how many members they had and the Secretary George Ofori said 200, who delivered 500 sacks of cocoa in 2009/10.  We met the society President MO Aboagye, and many others included AK Agyeman and Kwaku Ofori Ofosu-Apea.

Grace Osei, President of Kukurantumi Womens’ Society

I sat and talked to Grace Osei (65), president of the Women’s Society which has 32 members.  She has two cocoa farms 7 acres and 13 acres delivering 15 sacks of cocoa, and has nine children between 17 and 45 and nine grandchildren.  She has been a member of Kuapa for 13 years and attended the AGM in 2010 as a delegate.  She talked about how last year’s crop wasn’t as good as usual and she wants to make sure she gets one of the machetes that Kuapa is giving farmers.

Augustine Kusi, the Recorder at Ntinako, took us to his cocoa farm.  He told us about a hybrid that bears fruit quickly called “Akokora Bedi” which translates as “An old man will chop”.  Back at the Society office, the posters that Kuapa has produced as part of its Child Labour Awareness Programme were in full view pasted on the front of the society shed.

Augustine Kusi (Recorder), Yaw Sarfo (member), Francis Uaba (President) Ntinako society

David Upton was really pleased to have had the opportunity to go out to Ghana so soon after joining Divine.  “It was brilliant to be able to really connect myself with what this company is about and what we’re trying to achieve,” he says.

Divine’s new Chair Patrick Fleming discusses cocoa farming

David Upton discovers the joys of fresh cocoa beans