"In 2017, I started at Rikolto as coordinator for the 'Yes Youth Can' project supported by Collibri Foundation", Jorge says. "With a training and exchange programme, we want to integrate 18- to 30-year-old young people from Nicaragua and Honduras with the values chain of sustainable cocoa production. We work together with a/o La Campesina, a small cocoa cooperative of 255 Nicaraguan cocoa farmers.”
Already 73 youngsters trained "In the past 3 years, 44 young people from Nicaragua and 29 from Honduras joined the project. For a month, they received intensive training in sustainable production techniques at the renowned CURLA university at La Ceiba, Honduras. Afterwards, they worked for at least 120 hours with local cocoa producers to share their knowledge and they gave a brief training in their community", Jorge says. "In this way, the project reached more than 200 cocoa producers, young as well as older ones. 12 young people, who participated in the project, are now working at Nicaraguan cooperatives. As technical coworkers or to share information and knowledge. Others apply the skills they learned at their parents' farm or their own."
Youngsters beaming with self-confidence
"What I like most about my job?" Jorge does not need to give it much thought. "It is a privilege to see for myself how some young people have changed. We often think that projects like this are about money, but that is not the top priority. I remember other things: a young person, who - after the project - addresses an audience self-consciously and with confidence. Or the modest, shy young man, who has established a successful business in his own community and buys cocoa from other young people. Experiencing such special changes is the reason why I love my job."
Watch how cocoa farmers in Nicaragua and Honduras choose to produce organic cocoa with the support of Rikolto and Collibri Foundation.
Joining forces for a sustainable future
"Last year, I participated in the training programme for 2 weeks, together with the class of 2019. It was incredible to see how even experienced technicians embraced the new production techniques. They were truly surprised by what they learned, but very happy to learn. It is nice to see how we can offer young and older people a sustainable future perspective with such projects.”
"When you see how a modest young man becomes confident and establishes a successful business ... That’s why I love my job!"