Springfield, Missouri area high school students were selected to travel with the Chocolate University Class of 2012 and Shawn Askinosie to visit the remote village of Tenende, Tanzania. Students met with cocoa farmers and saw first-hand the Askinosie Chocolate’s business practices in action during important business planning and profit sharing meetings.
The CU 2012 students implemented a Sustainable Lunch Program for students at the Mwaya Secondary school. The Mwaya PTA produced a product (rice is usually donated by many of the rice-farming parents and other community members). The Kyela region of Tanzania is known for its deliciously sweet, gourmet-quality rice. In fact, many CU students recall the amazing rice as a sweet memory of their travels. While a great product, Kyela-region rice has limited distribution outside of Tanzania. In 2012, the CU students and the Mwaya students worked side-by-side to package 1,000 bags of premium Kyela rice and in doing so kicked off the Sustainable Lunch Program for their school. Mwaya PTA ships the product to Askinosie on the container with cocoa bean shipment. Askinosie Chocolate sells the product for a premium in the US marketplace. Askinosie returns all the profit to the school to fund their sustainable, nutritious lunch program. Connecting Kyela rice to the US market not only affords Askinosie customers a unique product opportunity, but also enables them to “do good” with their purchase – each bag of rice sold provides about 200 nutritious lunch meals.
In addition, building on the work completed by the CU Class of 2010, the CU students assisted the Mwaya Headmaster to execute a Khan video learning lab accessing online resources via laptops and projectors throughout the school. Through a generous donation, Chocolate University funded the Mwaya school’s first and only computer teacher to manage the new video-learning program.
The CU students also facilitated discussions with Empowered Girls club members at Mwaya Secondary School, a program newly established at Mwaya and supported by CU under the direction of Convoy of Hope, that aims to increase female student retention and graduation rates.