Stopping deforestation & community exploitation in Sierra Leone through the power of cocoa.
Members of the Gola Cocoa Team, who empower farmers to grow sustainably © R Anstead / Twin
Gbessay Sannoh and Bockerie Sama are standing in a shady rainforest amongst the whooping sounds of hornbills and leafy cocoa trees. They’re at the edge of the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone, where for generations thousands of cocoa trees have been grown by their people – the Goleagorbu, small-scale farmers. While chatting and joking they break open the large, golden-yellow cocoa pods with smooth-handled wooden clubs.
Inside the pod, what looks like rows of white teeth are revealed. This is cocoa’s sweet mucilage, which is then removed by sticky hands to expose the prize beneath: the beans. These then go into large woven baskets or wooden boxes and are covered with banana leaves, where they are left to ferment, releasing the sugars which will make the eventual chocolate so tasty.
Read about this uplifting project here.