Empowering Women Through Chocolate
Armed conflict and brutal wars have plunged the DR of Congo into an economic crisis. Its natural resources are trapped in a cycle of violence. And the Eastern Congo, known as ‘the rape capital of the world’, is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a woman.
Women are perceived as inferior, excluded from economic activity and forced to rely upon men for their livelihoods – perpetuating this cycle of brutality. We want to break this cycle.
R Chocolate London are proud to be working in partnership with Original Beans to help replenish the bio diverse forests in the origins of cocoa production and empower women in Eastern Congo by helping to build the world’s first women-run cacao co-op.
Original Beans was founded on a passion for making the finest chocolate and for replenishing what we consume. Over the last eight years, they have led the effort to develop a sustainable cacao sector in the Virunga region of the DR Congo. As a result, 15 000 farmers now produce organic certified cacao across the region, incomes have tripled and on-farm deforestation rates have decreased by up to 50%. Establishing a cacao industry in Virunga was the first step to changing the situation of women in and through cacao farming.
Original Beans Femmes de Virunga programme is a three-pronged initiative to improve and strengthen the social and economic position of women in Northern Kivu. The program sits atop three pillars: establish a culturally supported economic position for women within the cacao sector; improve the overall social and economic situation of women (literacy and enterprise courses); develop and market a dedicated ‘women to women’ Original Beans chocolate bar to raise additional resources and engage women on both ends of the supply chain.
R Chocolate London favour to use the Femmes de Virunga (55%), a Strong Dark Milk Chocolate sourced from the Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. With the essence of roasted nuts and cappuccino, this unique flavour inspire and empower as the rare and original Femmes de Virunga takes hold of you. The strong taste honours the strong women farmers lifting up lives in Virunga.
Working closely with our Chocolatiers in the UK, we have developed a bespoke selection of recipes to incorporate this special couverture to not only bring the finest taste combinations to the market but also with the knowledge that the profits from the cocoa go towards giving the women and ultimately the children of the region a better education and livelihood. The Femmes de Virunga is used in the majority of our chocolates – Strawberry and Basil, Gin and Juniper, Mint, Beurre de Sel and Banana and Rum to name a few.
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