We are two engineering students, Jonathan & Sylvain, from the engineering school Centrale of Marseille (France). We are also friends in the daily life. We have a great chance to study in France and so receive a high quality education. That is why, we would like to share this chance and our related knowledge.
The Chocolate Adventure is a humanitarian project which will lengthen 6 months from February 2016 to July 2016. We will go to Vanuatu, pacific islands, to help developing the local cocoa production.
This project is born from our membership to Acci'On. Setting intercultural projects with countries in marge of the global development is one of the main goals of this association. Acci'On is presently settled in Vanuatu and made us meet ACTIV.
ACTIV is an association from Vanuatu very close to its inhabitants. It promotes local arts and agriculture. Farmers are always part of the various projects. So locals are asking for help, play the main role in all the projects and are finally the first to get profits!
Vanuatu products about 1,500 tons of cocoa each year. This production is pretty small and unfortunately with a bad quality. A reason to that quality can be found in the way of drying cocoa beans. The current method uses old dryer letting fumes contaminate the beans while drying.
In partnership with ACTIV our mission will be to install new hybrid dryer working with steam and solar energy! Many benefits will be brought by this new technology giving direct profits to farmers and their family. Our project take into account different topics:
- economy and social matters : with better cocoa quality, farmers will be able to sell their products at a better price and then access better living conditions. For example, children could more easily attend a school which is charged in Vanuatu;
- fair trade : farmers are asking for the project, main actors and first to get the profits;
- environment : the work on the new hybrid dryer aims at a better energy management and reducing gas emissions. The new dryers would better the daily working conditions;
- gender matters : the culture in Vanuatu is still very patriarchal though women have a great to play to manage the income of the family. They are usually the one who get the income from selling products on markets for example. We will keep in mind those matters while training sessions we will take part in.
Practically, our daily activities will be:
- welcome farmers at the ACTIV center and listen to their experience with cocoa beans production;
- go to farm fields in different islands to understand the current way of growing cocoa;
- often discuss with all partners of the project;
- help to install a research center at ACTIV in order to enhance farming methods;
- analyse the experience gotten from farmers.
Benefits for the local population
Hybrid dryers are going to improve working conditions of the farmers : less exhaust fumes, and then less risks for health. Training provided to farmers will bring them more autonomy in the use of this new technology. Expected results are encouraging : higher incomes thanks to a better cocoa quality helping for example children to go to school, which is chargeable in Vanuatu. Moreover, the new dryers would be used for other products and meet food security.
Vanuatu is independent for 35 years only and is looking for more development. Taking part in the development of the local economy is an action for the future which will exist over our time there.
To measure our own impact through our two main partners (in french) :
As engineering students we will be able to share our competencies for the profit of local cocoa farmers. In return we will live a highly emotional experience, off the beaten track that we will remember our all life!
The global project managed by ACTIV, and which we take part in, receives funds from the Australian government through the program PARDI. Some papers in english are readable in our detailed folder that you can download on our website here, on the page "Aidez-nous" !
More contextual information
You have understood that Vanuatu is a very small country with less than 300 000 inhabitants on more than 80 islands ! Lots of villages are still living on their own without electricity neither running water. Moreover Vanuatu settles in a very risky area in terms of cyclones and earthquakes. During the night between the 13th march and 14th march, an extremely violent cyclone totally blew the islands :
This disaster strengthened the need for international aids !
For further information, visit our website (in french) : www.vanuatudurable.org !