Emilie’s first Divine report from Assin Akonfudi, Ghana

15 November 2010

First post from Swedish graduate Emilie Persson:

Welcome to my posts from Assin Akonfudi!

welcome to Assin Akonfudi

Children by one of the many churches

I will try to capture some of the everyday activities from one of the many villages where the Kuapa Kokoo farmers live and where farmer grow the cocoa for the company they co-own – Divine. As a masters-graduate in global studies, from the University of Gothenburg in western Sweden, I’ve been given an exciting opportunity to spend two months in the Ghanaian countryside, more exactly Assin Akonfudi in the central region. Having a passionate interest for development and agriculture and with several years of experience advocating Fairtrade in Sweden, it’s great to be able to get a more in-depth insight into the lives of the farmers behind Divine.  I hope it will be as interesting for you too!

Assin Akonfudi is situated in the north of the central region, close to the district capital Assin Bereku, on the main road from Cape Coast to Kumasi. The village is a mixed community with people of the ewe, fanti and ga tribes as well as others from the northern part of the country. According to the last census Akonfudi has around 2600 residents, some being very spiritual and enjoying spending their time in any of the twenty-three (!) churches or two mosques that the village holds, and traditional beliefs are also common. Surrounding Akonfudi are farmlands and it’s very common to grow cocoa, but also oil palm, orange, coconuts, coffee and teak. It is also very popular to use part of the farmland for banana or vegetables like tomato, pepper and garden eggs. Grazing around freely are plenty of goats, sheep, chickens and dogs, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming and music can always be heard from every house.

The village pool tableThe Kuapa Kokoo society in Akonfudi has been in place since 2007 and it has at the moment 23 members, out of which eight are women. In some of the coming blog posts we will join Kuapa’s recorder in Akonfudi  – John Dornu. He himself is a cocoa farmer and has been democratically elected by Kuapa members. John is in charge of collecting and paying for the cocoa from the members. We will join him at his farm to learn more about the complicated process of producing cocoa and all the steps involved.

In the picture below, I’m visiting the village Worakese Adabo, where Frank Arthur is the Kuapa Kokoo recorder.

Emilie and Kuapa Recorder Frank Arthur at Worakese Adabo village

Sophi inspires students at Sussex University

18 May 2010

Posted by Sally Wright, Project Manager in Enterprise, Sussex University

Sophi Tranchell with the Enterprise team at Sussex University

On Thursday 13th May 2010 Sophi Tranchell was the keynote speaker at the University of Sussex’s “Enterprise Thursday Grand Celebration” event. The evening was a celebration of the entrepreneurial endeavours of Sussex students throughout the last academic year. Sophi’s talk focused on the story of Divine, and gave the audience of students, staff and business people a real insight into the heart of Divine: it was amazing to learn how such a successful social enterprise can be run on such a large scale. Sophi’s drive and passion for social enterprise was abundantly clear, and her talk seemed to ignite a similar passion in the audience too. It was fantastic to have Sophi come to speak, especially as the values of Divine really seem to fit with the ethos of Sussex University as a Fairtrade campus with Divine chocolate sold in our campus shops and cafes.

We had lots of positive feedback from our audience including;

“Very to the point about her goals – yet devoted to her cause. The 3 p’s ‘partnership , passion and persistence really stuck out in my mind.” Chariton Papakonstantinou 1St year Engineering student Sussex University

“Fantastic, inspirational and in depth explanation of fair trade and the Divine Chocolate company” Jonathan Gaiger 2nd Year Business and Management Student Sussex University

Sophi Tranchell speaking at Sussex University

“Insightful, with an incredible focus on CSR. She’s developing a brand that people can or want to relate to. Truly inspirational.” Colin Harrison Breathe Brighton

“It’s interesting how competitive and focussed a social enterprise can be” Tom Saunders SIFE Southampton

“What a fantastic, powerful person! Her speech was incredible, and so fluent.” Kim Macdonald Short Sweet Lets

Sam Stern’s Chocolate Orange Recipe

19 October 2009

posted by Sam Stern

Sam Stern, the Teenage ChefMy self-catering flat at Uni is pretty small and basic. But every Tuesday, 12 or so mates come round for a slap-up dinner. Everyone chips in a couple of quid and we cook together. So far, we’ve had a couple of big roasts with all the trimmings, chicken curry, homemade burgers.  We’re usually eating late so pudding’s not the priority but there’s always chocolate.  To celebrate Chocolate Week, we’ll be making Chocolate Satsumas this week. They’re easy to shop for – take your choice of Divine 70% dark or milk chocolate bars and get hold of some lovely sharp tasting new season satsumas.

Here’s what to do.

Sam Sterns Chocolate Orange

  1. Buy one good Satsuma (or seedless Clementine) for each person expected.
  2. Peel.  Try to get as much of the bitter white pith off as you can but don’t go mad.
  3. Put a saucepan of water on to boil then reduce to a very gentle simmer ie the water is just about moving.
  4. Sit a bowl into the top of the pan. Don’t let it touch the water.
  5. Break up a load of Divine 70% Dark Chocolate and drop it into the bowl.  Judge how much you’ll need by making one for yourself ahead of the event.
  6. Let it melt very slowly without stirring.  Once it looks soft and malleable, take it off the bowl. Stir till creamy.
  7. Dunk one fruit at a time into the melted chocolate and turn to it’s coated. Maybe use a couple of large spoons.
  8. Sit the fruit on greaseproof paper/non-stick baking tray/foil, to set in a cool place.  Special occasion? Melt a bit of white chocolate as above to decorate/write messages.


Divine Chocolate sampling in Sunderland

27 February 2008

Sunderland University celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight with hot chocolate, a chocolate fountain with Fairtrade bananas and Divine Chocolate samples. Divine Chocolate’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Alistair Menzies, gave a talk to the business school students showing how Fairtrade businesses can benefit everyone including the producers throughout the supply chain. Sunderland University have been great supporters of Fairtrade for many years and have Fairtrade University status.