Learning Societies

Côte d’Ivoire: Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF)

CLEF is a coalition dedicated to enhancing access to and the quality of education in cocoa-growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire by constructing school infrastructure, training teachers in effective pedagogical practices, and engaging parents in their children’s learning. The coalition is led by the Ivorian Government in collaboration with the cocoa and chocolate industry and philanthropic foundations. Together, we aim to impact the lives of over 4 million children.

Child labor is a blight on the global cocoa bean industry. It is also widespread in Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producer, where more than one million children are involved in their family’s cocoa production. Education can offer children a way out of labor and exploitation, but in rural areas of Côte d’Ivoire, nearly 30% of primary school-aged children and 50% of lower secondary school-aged children are out of school, while the majority of those who are in school do not reach the minimum expected levels in reading and math. The considerable challenges CLEF is tackling are among the highest priorities of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire.  The program is a response to two national strategies of the Government: the 10-year Education Sector Plan and the National Plan to Combat Child Trafficking, Exploitation and Labor.

CLEF functions as a pooled funding facility created by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, with its philanthropic partners – the Jacobs Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation – and major cocoa and chocolate companies. Those companies include Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Tony’s Chocolonely, Ferrero, Guittard, Hershey Company, Lindt & Sprüngli, Mars Wrigley, and Mondelēz International.

Established in November 2021, CLEF will use research and evidence of what works best for children to enhance teaching practice and improve children’s learning outcomes, primarily in cocoa-growing regions. It will also build new school infrastructure with the goal of reaching over four-five million children and 10 million parents in cocoa-growing areas and beyond, focusing on access to quality primary education.

As of May 2023, CLEF partners had committed CHF 77.2 million. The Global Partnership for Education’s Multiplier Fund provided co-financing of USD 13 million, and we are now inviting additional stakeholders to join the coalition and help us reach our target capitalization of CHF 110 million.

Around the world, more than 150 million children may be affected by child labor. Our belief is that CLEF can serve as a blueprint for effective public-private partnerships that help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality education for all – and all the other Goals.