Green & Blacks (those people who make yummy chocolate) with the assistance of Raleigh International (who lead expeditions all over the world) chose 10 competition winners from the UK and US out of hundreds of applications, to take to the Dominican Republic on an expedition.
The 10 winners went through two stages of application and interview followed by a one-day training workshop to prepare them for an experience of a lifetime!
This is Green & Blacks first ever Community Development Programme expedition and has been set up to provide cocoa farmers with sustainble livelihoods. For two weeks the team from the UK and US will be digging. A lot. We will be helping to provide a gravity-fed water system that will provide running water to three rural villages.
A gravity-fed water system uses gravity to take water from a natural source at a geographically higher location to villages. There is a basic filtration to improve water quality and then flows through pipes to taps. Flowing water is better quality than stagnant wells, thus providing a safe and reliable source of water.
We fly into the capital, Santo Domingo where we will have a further training day and then we will travel to La Laguna, which I believe is to the North of the country There we will be staying with local families for the duration of our work.
I leave on Saturday 26th March and will be back in Blighty by Monday 11th April.
As a brand, Green & Blacks values Fairtrade and Organic principles. Therefore it was a natural progression to give back to the communities of cocoa farmers who provide the high quality cocoa for their products. They consider themselves as the pioneers of ethical trading.
The aim is to empower cocoa farmers and provide sustainable livelihoods and communities with impactful agricultural and social programmes. Furthermore, they aim to improve facilities to create stronger communities.
Water is such a basic need that it was obvious that providing this system was the first step in the Community Development Programme.
Green & Blacks has a pot of money that can be used for Community Development programmes such as this. And giving money to the communities is not necessarily what they need. They need bodies on the ground, doing the work and sharing their expertise.
Only 3 more sleeps to go!
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