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hat if some of the world’s most important cocoa producing countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and Peru were able to share experiences on the cocoa value chain? This is what the Global Community of Knowledge and Practice for a Sustainable Cocoa promoted for the first time, under the leadership of the World Bank; Alisos, a Colombian organization with years of experience facilitating dialogue and capacity building activities such as the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative ; and Kinomé, a social enterprise founded in 2005 to improve the lives of human beings through trees and reverse the global trend of deforestation, were tasked with delivering on the technical aspects of the program.

The program organized a 10-month long training composed of three modules with monthly online sessions. The first module focused on building capacity for reaching powerful alliances and full value agreements within the stakeholders of the cocoa value chain. A second module showcased real-life successful projects and agroforestry models from each of the six countries. The third module, consisting of five webinars, opened the program to a wider audience of stakeholders from the global value chain.

Fifty participants, representing key players from the government, industry, national cocoa organizations, cooperatives, farmers’ associations, civil society, and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative secretariats, formed 6 core groups, one for each of the participating countries. From January to October 2021, through a series of training sessions, the core groups were able to share experiences and knowledge and have conversations on relevant issues for sustainable cocoa. In December 2021, to finalize the program, three onsite workshops took place in Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with the purpose of collecting data and inputs for an agroforestry guide.

Participants gave positive feedback on the program, highlighting an innovative approach and relevance of the topics. They were confident that the knowledge acquired can be used in their day-to-day personal or professional life. They also felt the program helped them understand the diversity of contexts for each country yet allowed them to find many similarities. They discovered they are all facing similar challenges but are at different stages for finding solutions. This means there is the potential of working together to have more impact and thereby take advantage of lessons learned and global capacities.

Divier Pérez, one of the participants from Core group Colombia, said: “The learning that the module leaves us with is to observe that no matter how much distance there is between the different cocoa-producing countries, farmers have the same limitations, difficulties and problems that we face in Latin America and Colombia.” Another participant, Vitor Stella, from Core group Brazil, explained: “For me the core group in Brazil was amazing because we really got together and thought together, started a movement, and had a conversation regarding two main topics at the time: technical assistance which is the main problem we have in Brazil but also financial issues.”

Another key discovery made by participants was the importance of having strong and fluid communication to be able to share knowledge and align in terms of needs and opportunities of the market and regulation. Many participants also raised the need to empower cocoa farmers to ensure sustainability and better living income. Farmers perceive that the existing policies are not sufficient to overcome today´s challenges in terms of sustainability and decent income.

One outcome from the knowledge exchange program is a website that includes the contents of the training sessions, videos on agroforestry from Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia and the Dominican Republic and the agroforestry guide developed. It will also be a space for members of the Global Community of Knowledge and Practice for a Sustainable Cocoa to share their projects and stay up to date on events shared by all members.

The six participating countries are committed to continue working towards strengthening this Global Community thanks to the support of the World Bank and other actors of the global cocoa value chain. We also invite all cocoa stakeholders interested in joining the community to contact us to keep working towards sustainable cocoa!.

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Alejandra Calderon
Social and environmental guarantor

Agroecologist engineer with more than 3 years of experience working with rural communities, identifying the needs and objectives of rural populations, promoting good agricultural practices to be closer to a human and environmental well-being.

alejandra.calderon@alisos.net

Ana Rueda
Alliance tracker

International relations, passionate and committed to building peace in Colombia and the world. Interested in projects and work that address the structural causes of war and promote lasting transitions towards peace and social justice. Experience in the multilateral, educational and social sectors.

ana.rueda@alisos.net

Alexander Velazquez
Opportunity builder

Biologist by profession with a Master's and doctorate in science and biology. Staunch lover of the Amazon and connoisseur of the environmental and social reality of my territory. My experience in the conservation and sustainable development of biodiversity and its ecosystem services has allowed me to generate alternatives for the promotion of scientific nature tourism. I am convinced that the social representations of the Colombian Amazon will allow us to create environmental awareness for the protection of forests. Teaching is a strength to train nature-loving professionals, which is why I have been integrating knowledge into biodiversity research for more than 20 years. I have focused on researching the impact of production systems on biodiversity. Cocoa fanatic and its implications for conservation.

alexander.velasquez@alisos.net

Ana García
Connected with nature

Biologist, MSc. in agroecology, with 10 years of experience. Consultant and researcher in agroecological systems and public policies, with an emphasis on agrobiodiversity and alternative markets. Throughout my career I have been a researcher for Agrosavia, a consultant for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FAO, and Non-Governmental Organizations. I believe that by changing some of our behaviours we will achieve a respectful relationship with nature.

ana.garcia@alisos.net

Camilo Chacón
Ecosystemic human

I seek to make development viable from an environmental perspective, enabling cultural creativity in accordance with social, environmental and economic offerings, creating the necessary conditions to perpetuate the living system by internalizing technology, knowledge of ecosystems and relations of production and transformation.

Community-focused. I contribute to the implementation of projects of the sustainable productive alternatives pillar, other projects related to political influence, and marketing and business development efforts for sustainable Amazonian cocoa.

camilo.chacon@alisos.net

Carlos Andrés Uribe
Business administrator – President of Ladrillera Santafé

Carlos Andrés is a business administrator from the University of Louisiana (United States). He began his professional career at Atlantica Ltda. where he became the general manager. In 1988 he joined Cementos Diamante S.A., his family’s company, where he became the Vice President of the holding. In 1996 the Cementos Diamante group was sold to CEMEX. Today he is the owner of Ladrillera Santafé S.A.

Felipe Sánchez
Artist – General Manager CargoMaster

Felipe is an artist, working in commerce and international logistics. He is the CEO of Cargomaster S.A., a company with offices in Medellin, Quito, Miami, Buenos Aires and Lima.

Hernán Ávila
Resource conservation

I am the business administrator of Alisos. For the past eight years I have provided the administrative and financial oversight that often goes unnoticed, but is the lifeblood of any successful operation. I hold myself to the criteria of overt transparency in financial affairs coupled with deep caring for people and nature.

hernan.avila@alisos.net

Jennifer Sepúlveda
Dream manager

Agroforestry Engineer with 15 years of experience working with rural communities in the department of Guaviare, contributing in improving rural production and an inclusive, resilient and sustainable environment.

jennifer.sepulveda@alisos.net

Joaquin Salgado
Sustainability Curator

Lawyer with training in Geography, Permaculture, Green Growth and Leadership. With more than 8 years at the service of rural development in Colombia, I believe in the need to improve and evolve the relationship between nature and society. I am convinced that the best vehicle to achieve this is through the participatory construction of public policies that recognize the particular and differential characteristics of space and who inhabits it. From my experience as a promoter and manager of sustainable production processes and projects, circular economy mechanisms, and in the protection and conservation of the environment, I seek sustainability by seeking good living.

joaquin.salgado@alisos.net

Luis Felipe Andrade
Architect – General Manager Human Strategy

Felipe is an architect from Universidad Piloto de Colombia and has studies in business administration, human resources and philosophy from Michigan State and Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He is the founder and General Manager of Estrategia Humana.

Margareth Floréz
Architect – Director of RedAmerica  

Margareth is an architect and urban planner from the Federal University of Brazil and Master’s Degree and Specialist in Planning and Development from the University of the Andes – CIDER in Colombia. She is currently the Executive Director of RedAmérica. She coordinated and participated in various publications on social development issues and on several boards of directors of civil institutions and networks at the national and international level.

Maria Andrea Solano
Good News Designer

Social communicator and journalist, passionate about environment and sustainability with experience in print media and communication offices. Specialist in Strategic Communication from the Sergio Arboleda University, with a Master's degree in Public Relations Management and Communication Offices from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

maria.solano@alisos.net

María Emma Gaitán
Supporting hands

Business administrator by profession and conviction, specialized in finance. Due to my work experience in the field of NGOs and the private sector, my role at Alisos is to provide support in administrative matters and strengthen organizational processes from a perspective of good planning and management practices, for the procedural and documentary optimization of our projects. Always willing to learn from the team and promote corporate synergy and synchrony that facilitates the traceability of administrative activities.

maria.gaitan@alisos.net

Paula Ponce de León
Inclusion Facilitator

As a lawyer with experience in the public sector, I support the positioning of the ecosystem care agenda in a way that promotes well-being for populations and recognizes the work and contributions of women. I firmly believe that it is through this impact on public policies that we will achieve the durability and greater scope of the sustainable alliances promoted by Alisos.

paula.poncedeleon@alisos.net

Rafael Rivas
Economist – Founding partner Ágora

Current President of Alisos. Rafael has a B.A. in Economics from Williams College (United States) and has studied in this area at Queen Mary College (London) and the Free University of Brussels (Belgium). He is also a PhD candidate in Political Economy and Government at Harvard University (United States). He is a founding partner of Ágora Corporate Consultants Ltda. and Economía Consultores.

Rafael Santos
Journalist – Former rector of Universidad Central

Rafael is a journalist. He studied at the universities of Kansas and Stanford (United States). His first works were in The Miami Herald (United States) and then he moved to EL TIEMPO where he has had a long career including co-director of the newspaper. Today he is the rector of the Central University.

Sally Villegas
Defender of noble causes

Indigenous lawyer with experience in public-private relations. Convinced that every small act adds to the construction of a sustainable future.

sally.villegas@alisos.net

Sandra Acevedo
Productive and committed

Public Administrator with 18 years of experience in customer service and three years in the Comprehensive Territorial Academic Strengthening Program PIFAT ESAP, in public management activities in the PDET municipalities of the department of Putumayo on public finance issues.

sandra.acevedo@alisos.net

Sandra Castillo
Opportunitie’s seeker

Business administrator, specialist in Borders and International Relations, with 15 years of experience, contributing to a territories from the proposals of an inclusive, organized development that promotes Peace. From my experience in economic public policy, calling for actions that are consistent with territory, and committed to achieve a stable and lasting peace.

sandra.castillo@alisos.net

Sofía González
Message’s sculptor

I am passionate about communication management in sustainability, innovation and social responsibility projects, understanding these initiatives as agents of significant change for the development of a better society.

sofia.gonzalez@alisos.net

Tómas Vásquez
Environment Reader

I graduated from Literature and ever since i’ve been a reader and a listener to others. I believe in word’s capacity to build and transform realities at a social, territorial and cultural level. Language and communication’s possibilities will help us built more attentive and thoughtful societies.

tomas.vasquez@alisos.net

Yolanda Mendoza
Apprentice mountaineer

Agricultural engineer specialized in project management. Thanks to my professional and work life experience in the Amazon region, I have a special interest in environmental sustainability issues. I promote collaborative actions that promote a balance between productive development and environmental conservation through the implementation of agroecological systems that ensure livelihoods for our present and future generations.

yolanda.mendoza@alisos.net

Wendy Arenas
Alchemist of possibilities

Anthropologist and political scientist with 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and social scientist, working on the challenge of inequality, climate change and sustainable practices. She was an advisor to the High Counseling for the Post-Conflict, Director of Avina and Director of CSR of the Editorial House El Tiempo.

wendy.arenas@alisos.net