HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has partnered with Côte d’Ivoire government agencies and non-governmental organizations, such as the National Oversight Committee of Actions against child trafficking, exploitation and child labor (CNS) and the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR), to invest in the construction of 10 primary schools in cocoa-growing communities and preserve the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve (RNMY), the latter of which is located in the country’s southeastern cocoa producing area.

Hershey’s primary school construction plan is part of its commitment to “to improve children's well-being and prevent and eliminate child labor” in collaboration with the CNS and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). The company also will work with the OIPR to conduct a biodiversity census and replant almost 1,000 hectares of degraded land within the RNMY as part of its commitment to “restore RNMY’s natural integrity further Hershey’s broader commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change and deliver on its Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) action plans.”

“Access to education for children and environmental conservation are critical components of our broader Cocoa for Good strategy and vital to building healthy communities where cocoa farmers and their families live,” said Chuck Raup, president of the US division at The Hershey Co. “We are proud to take an active role in creating greater access to primary schooling and building the critical conservation programming needed to support healthy cocoa ecosystems and farmer income resilience.”

Hershey’s investments in education and conservation in the Ivory Coast are part of the company’s recently launched Income Accelerator program and the government’s National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa.