The Jacobs Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, in partnership with the UBS Optimus Foundation and others, has announced a pledge of 30 million Swiss francs ($30.6 million) to fight child labor in Côte d'Ivoire and provide children in that country with access to a quality education.
To that end, the partners will mobilize investments totaling 150 million Swiss francs ($153.2 million) from various stakeholders, including the cocoa and chocolate industry, the Ivorian government, and international donors, to provide quality education to Ivorian children. According to the foundation, farmers in Côte d'Ivoire account for almost 40 percent of the world's cocoa production, but in rural areas of the country nearly 30 percent of primary school-age children and 50 percent of lower secondary school-age children are out of school, with only half of Ivorian children who finish primary school proficient in literacy skills and a quarter proficient in numeracy skills.
Children who lack access to a quality education, the foundation noted in a statement, are at higher risk of becoming child laborers. "A comprehensive systemic approach is required to address this situation sustainably. We believe that quality education is part of the solution."