Progress toward the establishment of a cocoa study center is as follows:
1. In terms of content, we are currently exploring a relationship with an NGO that provides university students with the opportunity of volunteering in Third World countries and receiving academic credit. We will be holding talks after the Christmas break concerning the possibility of students living in 5 villages in Ghana (the five villages that I visit every year--see www.projecthopeandfairness.org and www.africatrips1347.blogspot.com) for one week, then traveling to Ekona, Cameroon, where we would spend a week at the cocoa study center (buildings already exist) where we would learn to make chocolate and work with farmers on marketing it.
2. In terms of financing, we received a $10,000 donation to build a rice hulling and chocolate making operation in Depa, Cote d'Ivoire. This will serve five villages and will liberate women from having to pound rice every day, which takes at least an hour of their time. Next summer, I will carry a chocolate machine plus molds and conduct my first operation in Cote d'Ivoire. We have raised other, lesser sums, which will help pay the total $15,000 cost.
3. I am now making chocolate from three different nibs and selling it (www.mama-ganache.com). By Dec. 15, I will be selling 7 different flavors of bars, all of which contribute 50 cents each toward the cocoa study center.
4. I am selling gift cards ($10 each) to fund three projects--the cocoa study center, the rice/chocolate operation in Depa, and a bridge in Cameroon. Each card contains two pieces of chocolate that I manufactured from the bean. Please see attached file.
Next quarter, I hope to have firmed up our relationship with the NGO and report back to you that we have added our organization as one of the internships available to university students from all over the world.
Tom Neuhaus (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From July 22 through July 31, Dr. Tom Neuhaus, President of Project Hope and Fairness and Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli, Assistant Professor at Ball State University, visited potential sites for a cocoa study center, villages that would be impacted, government officials, and university faculty and administration.
We gave an all-day seminar about the cocoa study center at the University of Buea in Buea, Cameroon. The Dean of Agriculture gave introductory remarks. The following day, we visited the Ekona Research Center, located half an hour from the university. The director of the research center offered us three buildings that had been abandoned by the USAID in the early 90s. We determined that the three buildings, which are in excellent shape and would require maybe $10,000 of cleaning, painting and perhaps plumbing, would serve to house students, for administrative offices, and for housing the bean-to-bar chocolate machinery.
We also visited two villages that will be working with us: Munyenge (near Muyuka) and Monatele (near Yaounde.) Our plan is to encourage bean-to-bar small-scale production in order to encourage small business on both sides of the Atlantic. By teaching villages how to make chocolate and hot cocoa at our center, more of the value chain stays in the country of origin. By teaching Americans/Europeans/Asians at our center how to make chocolate in small batches, we take chocolate into the realm of small scale production--which has already happened with coffee and wine.
Our next step is to raise $65,000 in order to purchase the equipment necessary to start teaching bean-to-bar technology. This equipment will be housed temporarily in the Department of Food Science & Nutrition at California State Polytechnic University, and then shipped to the new center at Ekona.
The developmental steps for the Ebolowa Cocoa Study Center are as follows:
1. July, 2011. Dr. Neuhaus visits locations and officials to discuss plans for building a cocoa study center in Ebolowa.
2. December 31, 2011. Dr. Neuhaus raises $5500 for the cocoa study center on globalgiving.com.
3. Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli receives notice of financial support from administration at Ball State to fund airline tickets to Cameroon.
4. March, 2012. Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli raises $5,000 for the cocoa study center.
5. July, 2012. Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli (Ball State University) accompanies Dr. Tom Neuhaus to different sites in Cameroon. See attached itinerary. Communication with academics at University of Buea and University of Dschang, Cameroon. Cameroon trip (Neuhaus's flight and employment of assistant, Mr. Kila Balon) paid for by funds raised during November/December Global Giving campaign.
6. September, 2012-June 2013. More fund-raising. Solicitation of students to accompany Pucciarelli and Neuhaus on first meeting of the cocoa study center. Initial classes will take place at the University of Buea in Buea, Cameroon.
7. July 2013. First meeting of students and cocoa farmers at the University of Buea.
The monies raised on this site last December will make it possible to carry out Step #5 in the above development cycle. It is estimated that this project will eventually require a total of $500,000. Most of this money will be solicited from various governments. In the meantime, various fundraisers will help us reach the "critical mass" required to develop credibility.
Our next report will be written in early September, 2012, after Dr. Neuhaus and Dr. Pucciarelli have returned.
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