A Divine Fortnight finale in London

9 March 2010

Emil Sands receiving his award from Comfort and Kojo

A very early start on Friday – heading up to Hampstead to visit University College School – for a special reason.  We were there to hand over the prize for the winning poem in this year’s Divine Poetry Competition.  The winner Emil Sands (age 11) had a vague notion something might happen but his classmates were blissfully ignorant – and amazed to find two cocoa farmers and a load of chocolate in their form room as they arrived!  Emil read his poem aloud – the farmers thought it was amazing – and we answered lots of questions about how cocoa grows and all the reasons to choose Divine and Dubble.  We also handed over some Dubble Gold Sport Relief chocolate medals – as they had lots of Sport Relief events planned.  A great start to the day.

It got better – we popped into Body Shop Hampstead – and I introduced the farmers (Kuapa Kokoo supplies all the cocoa butter that goes into Body Shop products). The girls there knew all about Kuapa and were absolutely thrilled, and showered the farmers with gifts to take home to their families.

Then on to Premier Christian Radio for an interview with Bridgitte Tetteh.  That was great fun – lots of laughing – and Kojo and Comfort broke into song. They included an item on their regular news bulletin about the farmers all day and still to broadcast the full interview – will add a link when they do.

Comfort and Kojo 'fly' on the Eye

On Saturday morning – a trip on the London Eye which was a really big hit!! (Note to self – must go up on it myself sometime!!). Then on to Chiswick (my home town) and sampling all afternoon at As Nature Intended and Eco-Age. Supper at Nando’s (Peri peri chicken wings) and on to St Michael’s and All Angels where Chiswick Churches for Justice and Peace had organised a Ghanaian spectacular – to celebrate both Fairtrade Fortnight and Ghana Independence Day.  There was an exhibition of Ghanaian artifacts and history + work by Ghanaian artists.  A full house, Ghanaian music, a great presentation by Kojo and Comfort – and a real revelation moment when the audience realised that Divine is not only Fairtrade – but also 45% owned by Kuapa Kokoo. A real reason to choose Divine – and to keep campaigning for a fairer deal for farmers.

Introducing the Fairtrade concert at the Barbican

On Sunday it was a concert at the Barbican – as part of the Do Something Different weekend. The whole place was heaving with children doing artwork and taking part in all sorts of projects.  Young people from City youth groups had worked really hard on their own compositions inspired by Fairtrade and they performed them beautifully. I was really moved and so were Comfort and Kojo – who said how pleased it made them to see young people caring about Fairtrade.  All their families came along and they were so proud.  A fantastic collaboration by Corporation of London, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Barbican. Thank you to everyone who came along. It was really special.

The team behind the Barbican Fairtrade concert

Reverend George Bush from the City of London Fairtrade steering group


Anthony Horowitz on: The Divine Poetry Competition

28 October 2009
Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz

Top children’s author Anthony Horowitz talks about being a judge in this year’s Divine Poetry Competition on his blog yesterday.  He says, “It was my friend, Anne Fine, who introduced me to the competition and I have to say I do absolutely love the chocolate” – glad you like it Anthony!  (Divine followers will know that Anne Fine was the judge last year).  He also says, “You have to write a poem (which can be rude, funny, sad, serious, whatever) called “If I owned a chocolate company” and the winners will receive large quantities of chocolate, book tokens and a recording of the poem by me. Since I have a stammer and a lisp, this may not be the best part of it, but I’d say otherwise it’s definitely worth a go”.  Read the full post here.

Anthony Horowitz is famous for his cult children’s series Alex Rider which has sold millions of copies worldwide.  His latest book, Crocodile Tears, is due out next month.  Perhaps less well known, Anthony is also responsible for creating television smashit series including Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War.

Divine runs the Poetry Competition in partnership with Christian Aid.  You can download a poster and a leaflet here which gives all the info you’ll need about the theme this year and instructions on how to enter.  It’s open to all ages and there are some great chocolate prizes up for grabs (as well as book tokens) so get those poetic juices flowing – closing date 21st December.   Good luck!

Divine Chocolate in Eden

29 February 2008
Caitlin Guest, winner of the Divine Chocolate Poetry Competition read her poem at Eden

Paul and Kojo in the biomes at the Eden Project
Photos accredited to the Eden Project

Another early start, another hearty fry-up (with extra mushrooms and bacon) and we were back on the train, headed to St Austell in Cornwall. We were greeted at the station by the multi-coloured Monroe Shephard from the Eden Project. He took us to meet the St Austell Fairtrade steering committee and local council members before leading us around a number of shops taking part in St Austell’s ‘Fairtrade trail’. Kojo and Paul were delighted to see shops stocking the Divine Easter Eggs and one bookseller kindly gave Paul a bible.

After lunch we were taken to the steamy wonderland of Eden Project’s tropical Biome. Kojo and Paul were astonished to be introduced to Hetty – Eden’s very own cocoa farmer! – before being introduced to Eden’s very own cocoa trees! The winner of the Divine Poetry competition (12-16years age group), Caitlin Guest, had made a special trip to Eden to meet the farmers. We were privileged enough to hear a live reading of her winning poem ‘Not Just Cocoa’.

School groups were treated to first hand stories of cocoa farming in Ghana and Paul gave a live demonstration of splitting open a cocoa pod with a machete! Visitors were given the rare opportunity to sample the fruity pulp of the cocoa seed in the Biome and the chance to sample delicious Divine Chocolate up in Eden’s shop. Having seen the biome Kojo said “I can’t believe that all the plants we were telling you about are here. We’ll have to watch out … soon Eden will be growing cocoa for the UK’s chocolate!”.