Thirteen high school students were selected as the Chocolate University Class of 2014 and began preparations for their travel to Tanzania. The class studied the new origin location established by Askinosie Chocolate – Mababu, Tanzania – and began learning all about the unique business practices that lead the chocolate factory to direct trade and share profits with our cocoa farming partners.
While on the 10 day journey through tropical Tanzania, the class inspected the Premium Kyela Rice purchased and imported by Askinosie Chocolate from the Mwaya Secondary School PTA. The students met with the PTA to work on the business plan for the Sustainable Lunch Program. While in Mwaya, the group also met with the Empowered Girls club at Mwaya and shared lessons aimed to improve female student retention and graduation rates.
Moving to the nearby village of Mababu, the CU students were immersed in the culture and community of Mababu. Visiting with Askinosie enables the students to very quickly establish friendly rapport with the gracious farmer hosts and helps create a deeper learning experience. They rode bikes to a tour of the local hospital, hiked the waterfalls of Tukuyu, attended a local village church service and hosted a celebratory beach party for all of the farmers of Mababu.
While in the village, the CU students gave the Mababu Elementary School their first textbooks (purchased in Tanzania) and broke ground on the construction of two classrooms at the school. At the time, overcrowding was significant with 1,400 children in just 8 classrooms. Lastly, the class worked with Shawn and the farmers to establish a 10 point vision for their group. This important business planning document will guide the decisions of the farming co-op and better enable the farmers to communicate and achieve their goals.