Adwuma Pa

Empowering Women and Girls in Supply Chains
Project Duration
November 2018
November 2023
Funding and Year

The Adwuma Pa project worked to reduce the risk of child, forced, and exploitive labor practices of vulnerable women aged 18+ and adolescent girls aged 15–17 within 80 cocoa-producing communities across four districts in Ghana.

The Problem

Child labor, forced labor, and other labor violations within the cocoa supply chain in Ghana are a persistent problem. Business practices along many points of the cocoa supply chain exploit vulnerable girls aged 15–17 and women aged 18+. Girls make up over half of the child laborers in the cocoa supply chain. Burdened with additional housework chores, unlike their male counterparts, and a lack of access to education places girls at an even more significant disadvantage. Both Ghanaian women and girls of legal working age who participate in cocoa production often lack access to land, resources, information, and training that could increase their productivity, profitability, and financial independence. Further, women are primarily involved in harvest and post-harvest activities but lack access to and a role in working with local markets. Men typically take the final product to market, negotiate prices, and ultimately control the profit from the sale of the product.

Our Strategy

The Adwuma Pa project worked in cocoa-producing communities in Ghana toward the following outcomes:

  1. Increased women and girls' economic participation and growth within the cocoa sector; and
  2. Improved business practices by private sector actors to protect against child labor, forced labor, and violations of labor rights within Ghana's cocoa supply chain.

To achieve these goals, CARE built upon a decade of private sector partnership experience (Cargill, General Mills, Mondelēz) within the Ghanaian cocoa supply chain. The project worked to improve the economic participation and empowerment of women and girls within the cocoa supply chain of OFI/OLAM Ghana, the fifth largest company in Ghana, using a gender equality and women's voice framework.

In addition, the Adwuma Pa project worked to improve business practices and gender sensitivity of OFI/OLAM Ghana’s executive management, including local staff and senior procurement specialists, to protect against child, forced, and exploitative labor practices.


  1. The project created a common electronic platform to improve coordination and collaboration between the District Gender and Child Protection Committees in several districts in Ghana. This increased the number of committees' ability to detect and prevent labor violations and better address the needs of child labor and forced labor survivors. In addition, gender-related abuses were reduced, and access to social protection services increased.
  2. The project provided over 2,000 women in cocoa-growing communities with micro-enterprise training and access to business financial services, including starting or joining a Village Savings and Loan (VSLA). These women can now generate and diversify their income, raising their family's living standard, often out of extreme poverty, and reducing their dependency on subsistence farming. This lessens their reliance on child labor for needed income and allows children to return to school.
  3. To ensure greater economic success, many of the women who received micro-enterprise training through the project started micro-enterprise businesses as a group venture. This approach allows women to pool resources, streamline efforts, and reduce economic risk. In some cases, women obtained community support for tool storage, content or product creation, or to establish a place to conduct business operations.
  4. The project helped form 12 women-led cocoa cooperatives to improve the economic participation of women and girls vulnerable to child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights violations in Ghana's cocoa supply chain. As women take on leadership roles in these cooperatives, they build their agency, increase their bargaining power, bolster their ability to advocate for issues affecting women in the group, and inspire women in their communities. These cooperatives also improve members' access to the social capital they need to sustain cocoa farms. 
  5. The project helped establish partnerships between women-led cocoa cooperatives and the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Department of Cooperatives, and the sustainability unit of the OFI/OLAM Ghana Agri-company. Through these connections, cooperative members now have access to services and business support to help get their beans (and other commodities) ready for market. The project also linked eight cooperatives with rural banks to increase members' access to credit, which in turn helps them sustain and grow their businesses and reduce risk during volatile seasons and markets.
  6. The project provided life skills training to more than 1,240 girls and placed 382 girls with master-craft persons  to learn new trades to equip them with critical skills to reduce their susceptibility to labor exploitation. Many of these girls will start their own businesses and become leaders in their communities. Some will even return to formal schooling.
  7. As a result of project engagement with the Associations of Master-Crafts Persons and community development committees, Adwuma Pa reduced tuition costs for adolescent girls seeking vocational training. The project also worked with community development committees to negotiate with the Association of Master Crafts Persons to enroll other vulnerable girls at reduced fees. This partnership demonstrated how stakeholders were willing to support project goals to improve economic outcomes for adolescent girls living in cocoa-growing communities.
  8. The Adwuma Pa project assisted OFI/OLAM Ghana in reviewing key policy documents to identify gaps to address and promote good labor practices in its cocoa supply chain. As a result, OFI/OLAM Ghana developed a gender policy that better protects female employees and women-led cocoa cooperatives. The company also implemented a paternity leave system and increased the number of months for maternity leave from three to four months for direct company employees. Providing these protections for women will result in thousands of families reducing economic risk during volatile times.
  9. The project trained over 140 OFI/OLAM Ghana staff and contractors on ways to identify, track, assess, and protect against child labor and labor rights violations. This resulted in OFI/OLAM Ghana reconstituting child protection committees within farmer communities to include grievance and gender focal persons to receive and report on rights violations at the community level.
  10. The project placed over 1,200 adolescent girls in vocational training to allow them to start their own businesses using the skills acquired. Training also included education on labor rights and occupational safety and health to ensure safe working conditions. Targeting adolescent girls reduces cycles of poverty in communities where child labor is most rampant and increases safe employment opportunities.
  11. The project established a community library Book Box system in all 80 project communities to boost the literacy skills of women and girls and encourage continued learning. Participants accessed books with guidance from a trained community facilitator after completing literacy training. The project provided over 5,500 women and girls with functional literacy and numeracy skills training. Some women learned to read and write for the first time. These skills not only improve confidence but also ensure women and adolescent girls can operate all aspects of a business and participate more fully in the community.
  12. Adwuma Pa facilitated community gender dialogues for over 9,000 participants in 3 municipalities. Participants reported that entire households benefit when there is greater equality and collaboration between husbands and wives, including in decision-making and management of household income. As a result of the dialogue sessions, many men are now performing various supporting household chores. Men proudly shared they currently support cooking and childcare and have noted that this reduces the burden on their wives, freeing up time to participate in other income-generating activities.
  13. The project created a Gender, Equity, and Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategy for OFI/OLAM Ghana to ensure their internal operations and work with cocoa farmers and communities are gender-responsive and socially inclusive. The 5-year plan (2024 -2028) commits OFI/OLAM Ghana to achieve its business and sustainability goals. Further, the strategy aims to ensure that OFI/OLAM Ghana's work makes an effective contribution to diversity and inclusion and sets clear commitments to achieving women's economics. The OFI/OLAM Ghana GESI strategy serves as an industry benchmark with the integration of gender equality and social inclusion as a business enabler. 
  14. 126 women were registered as OFI/OLAM Ghana farmers, from whom cocoa beans are procured. This positive shift was based on the need for OFI/OLAM Ghana to gain a broader supply base and to involve and recognize women farmers, considering the critical contributions women make in the cocoa supply chain. 
Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)
Implementing Partners:
Child Rights International, Youth Opportunity for Transformation in Africa (YOTA) (formerly YES Ghana)
Contact Information: / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Forced Labor
FY18 Projects
Livelihood Services
Supply Chains
Women’s Empowerment