In the summer of 2012, Chocolate University took thirteen more high school juniors to Tenende, Tanzania, where Askinosie Chocolate sources some of its cocoa beans, to profit share with farmers and implement two community projects.
Before the 10-day trip, the students stayed at Drury University to take part in a weeklong immersion with classes about social business, entrepreneurship, cacao agronomy, Tanzanian culture, Swahili and more. Through our Chocolate University program, Askinosie Chocolate has developed a relationship with the Mwaya Secondary School in the village of Tenende over the past two years. Similar to our program in the Philippines, the Mwaya PTA is producing a product (rice), and Askinosie Chocolate is going to sell the rice to its customers and give all the profit to fund a nutritional lunch program for these students in Tanzania. This region of Tanzania is known for its delicious sweet rice offering Askinosie customers a unique tasting opportunity.
While in Tanzania, the Chocolate University students and the Mwaya students worked on stamping and filling 1,000 bags of premium Kyela rice (1kg each) together. In the late fall, the rice will come ship with our container of cocoa beans from Tanzania so that no shipping costs will occur. Using this system, the program is fully sustainable, requiring no donations.
Another project the CU students worked on was assisting the Mwaya Headmaster in execution of a Khan video learning program on laptops and projectors throughout the school that has no electricity. Through a generous donation, Chocolate University has also funded the school’s first and only computer teacher to manage the new video-learning program. Also, our CU students facilitate discussions with the Empowered Girls club at the school, a program funded by CU that aims to increase the retention and graduation rate of female students.
Shawn Askinosie also took 13 high school students to Tenende, Tanzania in summer of 2010. Students specifically sought a woman led cocoa farmer group and Mama Kyeja – now pictured on the front of the chocolate bar package — left an indelible impression on them all. This marked the first time that a chocolate maker has traded directly with a Tanzanian cocoa farmer group. During that program, CU students and Askinosie Chocolate raised money for math, science and English textbooks for Mwaya and also funded a deep water well to provide clean water to the 2,000 villagers of Tenende, which is something the new crop of student travelers will get to see.
At Askinosie, we believe that exposing young people to the developing world on short-term trips has the potential to change the world. The success of the trip can best be summed up by a blog post written by a Chocolate University student, Jessieca Vorbeck, where she said, “The realization that I can make a difference and that I can change things even if it is for one person was incredible. Regardless of the difficulties, knowing that because of our journey two young girls felt appreciation and empowerment made all the difference in my life and has only inspired me to do more.”
For more information regarding the Tanzania trip, please email email@example.com or call 417-862-9900. You can download the press release for the trip here.