Monday, July 2 | Submitted by Bethany Parry
July 2, 2012, Shawn Askinosie, founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate, and thirteen high school students arrived in the village of Tenende, Tanzania, where Askinosie Chocolate sources some of its cocoa beans, to profit share with farmers and implement two community development projects at a local school.
Through its Chocolate University program, Askinosie Chocolate has developed a relationship with the Mwaya Secondary School in the village of Tenende over the past two years. During this trip, the team and Mwaya PTA will be implementing a self-sustainable school lunch program and video-learning curriculum.
Similar to their program in the Philippines, Askinosie is working with the PTA to develop a product that Askinosie Chocolate will import and sell and one hundred percent of the proceeds will be used to provide those students with an additional meal. Also, with the help of Mwaya’s Headmaster, the group will install a Khan Academy video-learning program on donated laptops and projectors throughout the school, which has no electricity. Through a generous donation from the Brewer Science Center, Chocolate University has also funded the school’s first and only computer teacher to manage the new video-learning curriculum.
Before the 10-day trip, the students stayed at Drury University to take part in a weeklong immersion with classes about the chocolate industry, social entrepreneurship, leadership,
Tanzanian culture and Swahili. While in Tenende, the students will experience the cocoa business firsthand by meeting with the farmers and aiding with the projects at Mwaya.
This is the second Tanzanian Chocolate University trip, as Askinosie also took thirteen high school students to Tenende in the summer of 2010. That year, the Chocolate University students researched and helped select a woman led cocoa farmer group from whom Askinosie Chocolate could source cocoa beans, and Mama Kyeja and her farmer group, UWATE, left an incredible impression on them. This marked the first time that a chocolate maker has traded directly with a Tanzanian cocoa farmer group and the relationship continues.
About Chocolate University:
Chocolate University is a neighborhood and global outreach initiative of Askinosie Chocolate. It was formed with a vision to provide a learning experience to Boyd Elementary, Pipkin Middle School and local high school students through the lens of artisan chocolate making and social business. The goals of the project are to inspire the children about social entrepreneurship and a world beyond their own. Askinosie Chocolate funds Chocolate University through 100% of their tour proceeds and generous contributions.
About Askinosie Chocolate:
Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch chocolate manufacturer located in Springfield, Mo., sourcing 100% of their beans directly from the farmers. Shawn Askinosie, founder and chocolate maker, travels to regions of Ecuador, Honduras, the Philippines and Tanzania to work directly with the farmers and source cocoa beans for his chocolate. This allows the chocolate to be traced to the source and labeled Authentic Single Origin Chocolate. It also enables Askinosie Chocolate to profit share with the farmers, giving them a Stake In the Outcome™. The Askinosie Chocolate mission is to serve their farmers, their neighborhood, their customers and each other; sharing the Askinosie Chocolate Experience by leaving the world a better place than they found it.